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Primary Name
Kärnan
Alternate Names
Egmont Kärnan AB
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Description Edit | History

Kärnan was a Swedish board game publisher, toy manufacturer and childrens book publisher, and is still a brand name of giant Danish/Scandinavian publishing house Egmont Media Group. Kärnan itself was founded in Helsingborg in South-Swedish province of Skåne in 1948 and has its name from the 14th century Kärnan ("The Core") tower, the old and still extant keep of the otherwise ruined Castle of Helsingborg. In 1978 Kärnan become a subsidiary of Egmont and is nowadays known as the Egmont Kärnan division of Egmont. The brand is considered a household brand name in Sweden, especially among families with small children.

Board games was - and still is, to an extent - a minor line in the old Kärnan company, while products like jigsaw puzzles, childrens books, magazines, educative toys, stuffed toy animals and much more, were - and still are - in the forefront. Some old 1940's and 1950's classics still occasionally found on internet auctions and flea markets were Bankspelet (not in BGG database at present) and Trafikmonopol (but this latter game was only manufactured by Kärnan, publisher were major Swedish cycle manufacturer Monark AB). Most other early games were classics like Bingo, Lotto, Memento, Pick-up sticks and the like. In the beginning the slogan was "Kärnspel är Stjärnspel" ("Kärnan games is Star games").

Kärnan was very much "the childrens game publisher" and would eventually cooperate with the team behind Bamse ("World's Strongest Bear") producing highly successful games with Bamse and his friends. Bamses honungs-jakt ("Bamse's Honey Hunt") is likely the best selling children's game in Sweden whatsoever! (Later the entire Bamse franchise would be controlled by Egmont.) Over the years many games with Disney thematics has also been published. Worth mentioning is also that Kärnan has over the years has published/manufactured a lot of wooden games for children of all ages.

Another partner were German publisher Schmidt Spiele, which over the years has resulted in a lot of translated games from Germany. From their own production the many Geni games (see for instance: Geni!, the first one and Geni 2000, by Dan Glimne) should be noted as well as the many educative family games on the theme "Sweden"; for instance Sverigespelet by well-known artist and designer Eric Bojs. In later years also Dan Glimne of G&RRR was involved with at least one game in the "Sweden sphere": the Sverigespelet - yes, the name was reused!. In modern times Kärnan has been successful with a long range of games in the "När då då?"-series, part of the Chronology family.

Like competitors Brio AB and (or rather: including) Alga, Kärnan is now, as Egmont Kärnan, headquartered in Malmö.

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