Our story begins in 1999, when Winning Moves brought Top Trumps back to life, and is told by Tom Liddell, the Top Trumps Guardian who has overseen our extraordinary growth from humble beginnings…
“I remember Top Trumps”
Well kids, you may well have only just discovered Top Trumps, but believe it or not, this little card game is over 35 years old.
In 1999, as the leader of a team of three at Winning Moves, I was invited to have a look in the dusty archives of the world’s biggest games company, Hasbro.
Imagine my delight. I’ve always loved games, growing up playing favourites like Monopoly, Cluedo, Kerplunk and Connect 4, so a trip to this top secret vault was a real treat which filled me with anticipation of what I might find. I wasn’t disappointed.
Winning Moves at the time was a brand new games company, producing special editions of Monopoly based around different cities from Edinburgh to Birmingham – and a few other games like Pit and Pass the Pigs. I had joined the company aged 25, at its birth in the UK, and, having survived our first year, we were looking to find some cool new games to make.
As part-owners of Winning Moves, Hasbro were happy for me to explore their shelves and see if I could find any hidden gems.
So on a very normal day, I headed from Paddington to the outskirts of London, making my way to Hasbro’s European HQ. I was welcomed and shown to a room in the research and development department and began flicking through the pages of old games brochures from Hasbro, Parker Brothers, MB and Waddington’s.
Subbuteo, the football game, had already been mentioned as an opportunity for us, and as I browsed through the brochures I saw other familiar games like Whot and Lexicon. But what intrigued me most was when I turned over a page to reveal one of my childhood favourites…
“I remember Top Trumps,” I whispered to myself fondly… and a whole new journey began.
Making Top Trumps
My first job was to think how I would want a new pack of Top Trumps to look, feel and play. And the funny thing is when I look back, I was making those decisions all on my own – about look and feel, the design of the new cases, what should be on a card, what shouldn’t, how many cards in the pack, should they be for girls or just boys and many more creative dilemmas. Little did I realise just how many packs would be printed based on these simple decisions.
Ten years later, we sold our 30 MILLIONTH pack of Top Trumps in the new-look case. I merged the design of the case from the old plastic packs with the range of Apple computers which came in different colours. I wanted the packs to stand up on the shelf, be smooth in the hand, but most importantly, be something the owner could be proud of.
Over the years you’ll notice we’ve been busy and expanded the Top Trumps range into Classics, Specials and Limited Editions.
Now you can play 7 Star Top Trumps on your phone and explore the Universe at toptrumps.com. You can even enter the annual Top Trumps Tournament to find the TT Champion – it’s currently a brainbox called Lloyd Horne!
Over the years, Top Trumps has made friends with everyone from Spidey to Doctor Who, from SpongeBob to Bart Simpson and from Hello Kitty to Koala bears… Top Trumps has even made friends with space.
As the Top Trumps Guardian, my job is to try and help the game reach evermore families. I do this with my team Nik, Ben, Natasha, Ashleen and Fiona, and all the gang at Winning Moves around the world. Every day we discuss Top Trumps, from what pack to make next, to deciding on cool facts and stats.
If you’d like to send in any suggestions or thoughts, you can write to me here at Ask Tom – I’d love to hear from you.
Whatever you’re into, I hope Top Trumps has made a friend of you. We’re here to help you play and discover.
In the meantime, I’d like to introduce our new friends who claim to know it all – Toppy and Trumpy. Between them they have the most ridiculous battles of Top Trumps, and no doubt it’s the same for you – we never know who’s going to win!
We will keep trying to bring out the coolest and most intriguing and fun titles for years to come.
Top Trumps Guardian