About The MiniMaster Sports Company
Simon Winfield and Bill Harper are the driving force behind The MiniMaster Sports Company.
Before founding MiniMaster together these best of friends spent most of their working lives in corporate roles, working together in both Financial Services and Reprographics until Bill moved on to become a Licensed Victualer and Simon acquired a small Hotel. As time passed they each harboured hopes of a joint business venture, but doing what ? Whatever it was would have to be unusual and interesting, with the potential for the pair to have fun !
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Around the year 2000, Simon’s Mother bought the remnants of a mini golf game at a Car Boot sale for one of his children. The game was played using a lever operated mini-golfer mounted on the end of a standard size golf club.
“After going missing for a while it reappeared when I was moving house in 2012,” said Simon.
“I remembered all the fun we had playing it over the years and how it brought the whole family together for some ‘screen free’ time”
BOOM …….Inspiration struck !
Perhaps there was an opportunity to re-introduce the game in the UK ? Maybe it would also be possible to re-engineer it to play other sports ?
Naturally the next step was to get Bill involved. The pair bounced ideas around, identified opportunities, and came up with a plan. The MiniMaster Sports Company was born.
The birth of MiniMaster Golf
Research revealed the mini Golf game was invented in America in the 1920’s and achieved great success as a ‘parlour game’ for adults, before being updated and marketed worldwide by the US based Marx Toys in the 1960’s, since when it had changed very little.
Simon & Bill also discovered it was still being manufactured and successfully marketed in the USA, so, after securing a license to supply it in the UK, the pair began the process of creating an authentic re-brand of the Marx Toys game, including several gameplay improvements.
The result, MiniMaster GOLF, is a scaled down version of real Golf played indoors, in which players can drive, pitch, and putt using the mini Golfer and a selection of mini Clubs.
It made an award winning debut at The Toy Fair, London in 2014, and has since has proved extremely popular, being bought as a family game, children’s toy and a novelty executive stress-buster.
The creation of MiniMaster Football
Having successfully used MiniMaster GOLF to prove there was still a strong demand for traditional style “activity games”, the next step was for Simon and Bill to re-engineer the mini Golfer in order to create fun and challenging games for other sports. Given it’s huge global popularity Football was the obvious first choice. Making MiniMaster FOOTBALL completely different to all other football games was vital, though.
“The game needed to be much more sophisticated than just flicking a kick like the minature figures in table football, so we tasked our developers to design a playing figure with a fully controllable leg which replicates a human kicking action. It also had to be capable of kicking an impressive distance and height” Bill said.
Mechanical prototypes were made and tested until they achieved what Bill and Simon wanted.
Next, a figure suitable for custom painting in Players’ favourite team colours was modelled at one eighth human scale.
The gameplay element was then enhanced by the addition of a Gameboard with Spinner. This is used to determine the angles & distances from which shots are taken, creating a compelling game of skill, tactics and chance. Players can learn to shoot like Messi or Ronaldo, and bend it like Bale or Beckham, from distances up to about 13ft/4m !
Last but not least, instead of being returned to it’s box when not in use, the MiniMaster FOOTBALL figure can be attached to a stand to be enjoyed as an attractive and fully customized display object around the home or office..
“We knew people would love MiniMaster FOOTBALL and our tests showed players of all ages enjoyed playing it – Grandparents, Parents, and Children. The customisation was also very enthusiastically received” said Simon. This good news was further endorsed by the positive reaction to the game at all the major International Toy Fairs, so production was commissioned to enable delivery of the first UK stock in December 2017.
What’s next ?
As MiniMaster FOOTBALL is rolled out Simon and Bill are planning the release in 2019 of the Company’s next game, MiniMaster RUGBY. Budding Carters, Farrells, Halfpennys, or Sextons will be able recreate the kicking exploits of their idols like never before ! Thereafter, further launches are being planned from a burgeoning design catalogue of exciting and innovative new products.
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