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Dragons' Den rejects heading for big time!

PUBLISHED: 14:55 01 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:19 22 July 2010

WE’RE IN: Company directors (left to right) Matt Gould, Iain McGill and Joe Gill playing About Time

WE’RE IN: Company directors (left to right) Matt Gould, Iain McGill and Joe Gill playing About Time

BEER and history may not seem the likeliest of combinations – but it gave birth to a board game that could prove to be this year's Christmas hit.

BEER and history may not seem the likeliest of combinations - but it gave birth to a board game that could prove to be this year's Christmas hit.

About Time, the brainchild of late nights in a Holloway house, has been picked up by retail chain John Lewis - despite being rejected by the BBC's Dragons' Den.

Now its inventors are hoping they will be destined for the big time.

The game was thought up by journalist Joe Gill and vet Iain McGill when they were housemates in Beacon Hill in 2002.

Mr Gill, 40, said: "We had this old chronology book. You could open it up and it would tell you what was happening during any period of time. We would get home, crack open a beer and use a dice or pencil to pick an event. Then we would guess the date. It turned into this impromptu game.

"I think we probably did start thinking about it - how it was going to be great, the next Trivial Pursuit, and that I would be lounging on a beach on the Caribbean. But I never thought we would get this far."

The game was launched as a business in 2006, with the help of education consultant and entrepreneur Matt Gould and designer Michele Rosaus, and the company went on Dragons' Den to ask for a £50,000 investment the following year.

But despite being knocked back, the company has now seen About Time stocked by independent toy shops, Hamleys - and, as of last month, John Lewis.

About Time sees players take on the roles of historical greats such as Joan of Arc, Elizabeth I and Gandhi and try to guess which year famous events from 1000BC to 2008 took place. The aim is to get as close to the real year as possible - and avoid pitfalls such as coming down with the plague or getting raided by highwaymen.

Mr Gill, who now lives in Brighton, said: "So far we have sold about 1,500 games and we are hoping to sell thousands this year - and closer to 10,000 rather than 1,000.

"I think it will take off. An American reviewer called it a classic in the making. We hope that by the summer of 2009, we will return a profit.


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