Above: Mary Gosling with her new game Ark Buddies
It’s now 28 years since West Cork’s Gosling Games launched the phenomenon that is ‘Discover Ireland’. Since then the company has gone on to produce numerous board games, puzzles, cards and gifts for the home and tourism markets, all of which are in high demand. Just last January the British Museum, which welcomes over six million visitors per year, saw Gosling Games’ ‘Celtic Memory Game’ at the Dublin Showcase Exhibition and immediately ordered it for its museum shop.
Despite still enjoying high sales for ‘Discover Ireland’ and ‘Discover Europe’, Gosling Games never rests on its laurels and is launching a new game this month, ‘Ark Buddies’.
‘Ark Buddies’ is played by two to four players, from age three up. Based on the story of Noah and the Ark, it features 24 different animals that must be paired, two by two, into the 3D ark using memory skills. The winner is the player with the most pairs of animals at the end. As Mary Gosling herself says, “Children often beat parents in memory tasks so this really can be enjoyed by all the family.”
Mary and her husband Graham strive to produce products that are aesthetically pleasing as well as mentally stimulating. As always with Gosling Games, ‘Ark Buddies’ is produced entirely in Ireland, with beautifully illustrated animal cards and ark by Rosscarbery artist William Helps. Mary says, “We always try to invent games that will make participants think or learn something as well as have fun. We test every idea on our own family and friends first. Believe me, if there’s anything wrong with the prototype of a new game, we hear about it from the gang when they are all clustered around the kitchen table trying it out!”
In recent years the company has also branched out into gifts and cards that are particularly popular with visitors to Ireland. “Our illustrated teatowels make great gifts to take home, or to post, and our Wild Atlantic Way teatowel was a huge success for us this year.”
Also big sellers are the Irish Mythology puzzles, which come in 60 – 1,000 pieces, and the baking recipe puzzles. However, 28 years later, the flagship product is still ‘Discover Ireland’ as Mary explains, “Parents who enjoyed it as children are now buying it for their own families. When we launched in October 1987 it was the fastest selling board game in Ireland and we didn’t know what hit us. I thought that would be that and life would go on as before, but shops were immediately asking what our next product would be and so we haven’t stopped inventing since!”
‘Ark Buddies’ is available now locally and nationwide. Priced at €14.99 it makes the perfect gift for any family.