“Everybody wants this game!”: DENKRIESEN’s Denis Görz and Ricardo Barreto on the speedy success of Arschmallows

Denis Görz, Ricard Barreto, DENKRIESEN, Arschmallows

Denis, Ricardo, it’s great to connect. For anyone new to DENKRIESEN, can you talk me through how the company got started?
It all started with a crazy idea back in 2012. We played a drinking game with skat cards. We built a circle of cards, drew a card, and depending on what kind of card it was, someone had to drink. One day Denis came up with the idea to make a real game out of it. In this game the cards contain the instructions – so you don’t have to discuss things like “What does the king card mean?” before starting to play. The game Klattschen was born and established the success of DENKRIESEN – although founding a game publisher was not actually planned.

Denis Görz, Ricard Barreto, DENKRIESEN, Arschmallows

With Stadt, Land, Vollpfosten DENKRIESEN made it into retailing and still have maintained close contact with the industry since. With numerous thematic blocks, DENKRIESEN gave a whole new spirit to the classic game Stadt Land Fluss. In the meantime, the brand Stadt Land Vollpfosten published a board game and card games in different editions.

And just like that, you’re a fully fledged games company!
Yes! And then, in 2023, the newly built company headquarters was occupied. The DENKRIESEN team now has more than 60 people, including several family members.

Denis Görz, Ricard Barreto, DENKRIESEN, Arschmallows

And how would you describe the games you’re interested in publishing?
To us it’s very important to bring games into the market that are fresh but also a little bit cheeky. We want to create games for everyone – for families, sitting around a table together, without poring over pages and pages of instructions. We like to say: Even those who are generally not into playing games, still like to play our games. Just unpack and start playing – that’s the motto for all DENKRIESEN games.

The next big step for us is already in process. Internationalisation… So hopefully in some years everyone has a DENKRIESEN game at home.

Denis Görz, Ricard Barreto, DENKRIESEN, Arschmallows

You mentioned a fondness for cheeky games, which brings us nicely to Arschmallows. I’m sold on the name alone! What’s the story behind this game?
Ricardo: One day I had an inspiration: I wanted to develop a game based on the principles of golf.

Denis: I immediately chimed in, saying that I had long wanted to create a game involving marshmallows.

And this is how the epic era of Arschmallows began! The entire team was quickly mobilised and was completely enthusiastic about the idea. Then it was down to the nitty-gritty – the design. Our creative graphic designers did an outstanding job, ensuring that Arschmallows became not just a game, but an experience. The game is filled with a great deal of creative thought and hard work from the entire team, and this is clearly reflected in the enjoyment it brings to players.

The game has been a success in Germany, right?
Arschmallows was launched in Germany in July 2023 and has been our most successful product introduction to date! We presented Arschmallows at the SPIEL toy fair in Essen 2023 and it was one of the absolute highlights of the fair. In just the second half of 2023, we sold over 30,000 games. That’s truly amazing – and all without running any advertisements and without anyone knowing about the game beforehand!

Since the start of 2024, everyone has been going crazy… Everyone wants this game! We are convinced that Arschmallows will become the next big brand for DENKRIESEN, following in the footsteps of Klattschen and Stadt Land Vollpfosten. We are already working hard on product expansions, such as a board game.

Denis Görz, Ricard Barreto, DENKRIESEN, Arschmallows

We’ll keep an eye out for those. And in exciting recent news, Arschmallows is coming to the US courtesy of Hasbro. How did the game get on their radar?
It happened at the SPIEL trade fair in ESSEN 2023. Our 250m² booth was impossible to miss, even for the employees of the Hasbro. Our unique and distinctive booth immediately caught the eye. Curiosity led us to sit down together and play Arschmallows. After just a few moves, it was clear that we had created something special. The session was full of laughter and enthusiasm and the Hasbro colleagues immediately recognised the enormous potential of the game. The combination of fun, strategy and easy accessibility ensured that none of us wanted to stop playing.

This positive experience and the engaging conversations we had during and after the game laid the foundation for our future collaboration. After the trade fair, we stayed in contact and continued our discussions, which eventually led to this wonderful partnership.

Why do you feel Arschmallows has the potential to engage US audiences as well as German gamers? Are marshmallows with bums universally loved!?
It’s simple: the game is cheeky, different and just plain funny! But there are plenty more reasons…

Humour and uniqueness: Collecting marshmallows with butts? Yes, that’s something different! This quirky humour makes everyone laugh, young or old. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t like marshmallows?

Top ratings: 4.7 out of 5 stars from the first 250 reviews. People love it and word spreads quickly. So many enthusiastic voices can’t be wrong.

Family fun: Whether with kids, parents, or friends, Arschmallows is suitable for everyone aged 13 and up and for 2 to 6 players. It’s the perfect game for a fun-filled evening, with no boredom in sight.

Simple and tactical at the same time: The goal is simple, collect the lowest values. But the game remains exciting and continually challenges players, because you also have to make tactical decisions. Fun is pre-programmed.

All in all, Arschmallows has everything a hit game needs: humour, quality, simple rules, and loads of fun.

Denis Görz, Ricard Barreto, DENKRIESEN, Arschmallows

A nice breakdown. Thank you. Now, for any game designers reading, do you take pitches from outside inventors?
Certainly! We’re not just a game publisher developing our own games; we’re also a partner for game authors. We’re constantly on the lookout for unique and special games from all around the world. Our goal is to bring wonderful games to the market that bring families and friends together.

Fun is always our top priority. We’re searching for games that are easy to learn yet offer enough depth to remain exciting in the long run. Our motto is ‘Unpack and play.’ We’re looking for games that stand out with innovative concepts or mechanics, something that surprises and delights players.

Last question! What fuels your creativity? What helps you have ideas?
We are both fathers and are inspired by our children to see the world through their eyes. We enjoy playing many games with our kids, which helps us determine if a new game has mass appeal.

Additionally, we now have a fantastic team. During our numerous game sessions, ideas and creativity flow freely. Everyone gets to have their say. From warehouse workers and trainees to graphic designers, everyone is encouraged to contribute their ideas. The best idea wins, no matter who it comes from. This way, everyone in the company feels like they are part of the whole. We develop games together.

Guys, thanks again. And good luck with Arschmallows’ continued global domination!

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