“On dwarves, dragons and planeswalkers”

A dangerous looking warrior, sword in hand, stands motionless in the entrance hall at Hasbro in Groot-Bijgaarden. Just when you think you have safely passed him by, you run into a mysterious gang of monstrous beings around the corner, each of which surveys you menacingly.

It’s not your everyday office decor. Dieter Schoeters, events manager of Wizards of the Coast, subsidiary of the famous Hasbro, comes to our rescue and leads us to a meeting room. Here, too, there’s no escape from the fantasy world of trolls, wizards, dwarves, monsters and elves. They stand on games boxes, books, cards or are brought to life in the form of dolls. “Magic,” Dieter answers our questioning look. “It is our main brand. Magic is a fantasy genre card game. The playing cards also immediately become collector’s items like the Pokemon cards, but Magic was the trendsetter. Our game has been around for seventeen years now.”

Twelve million players

You may never even have heard of it; nevertheless, “Magic” is the largest card and collection game in the world. It is estimated that there are twelve million players worldwide. How do you play? Two (or more) players compete against each other in a battle for life points. Everyone starts with twenty points and the objective is to take away all your opponents’ points.

New cards are brought out every year that tell a new story and form a new world. The main characters - the most important cards if you like - are the planeswalkers. They are mythical figures who can travel between the different worlds. “The menacing gang in the hall,” Dieter laughs.

As with every game, there are beginners that play in their living room, but there are also advanced and even professional players that play in global tournaments and have sponsors. There is a ranking for the best players. The best ones are paid for participating in major competitions and the prize money is not to be sniffed at. “The Grand Prix in Madrid attracted 2,200 players,” Dieter Schoeters exclaims. As European events manager, he steers the tournaments in the right direction.

Dungeons and Dragons

A second stand in the meeting room displays figures from Dungeons & Dragons, another famous Wizards of the Coast game. “This is a role-playing game,” Dieter explains. “The emphasis is less on competition and more on the experience. You play it around the table, but you have to imagine yourself as the type of fantasy character you are playing: an elf, a dwarf, wizard, you name it. The players embark on an adventure together according to a storyline that we provide.”

Both games are an American invention. The headquarters of Wizards of the Coast and its parent company Hasbro are in Seattle (US). Hasbro is the second largest toy manufacturer in the world after Mattel. The firm distributes world famous games such as Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Connect Four, as well as toy figures from Toy Story, Transformers, Star Wars and many other toys. “We supply fun,” is how Dieter sums it up. “It’s a great job, don’t you think?”


The branch in Groot-Bijgaarden is the European headquarters of Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast. It’s where they coordinate the businesses of local offices in Great Britain, Germany, Italy and France. “A travel organisation that you can rely on is extremely important,” Dieter knows only too well. “I travel a lot in Europe organising tournaments and events. People are flown from all over Europe to man the tournaments. UNIGLOBE Axon Travel makes it easy for us. The prices are good and the service is great. We have a single contact to whom we can address all our questions and who organises everything, from the flight tickets to the hotel.”