A CARD game business has won a major retailer award.

Gamely Games, which was founded by Hazel Reynolds in 2016, has been named Small Business of the Year on Amazon.

Hazel, who lives in Ditchling Road in Brighton, came up with the idea for her first card game when she was commuting to London.

The 33-year-old said: “I was working as a journalist in London in 2014.

“Originally the game was something that could bring me closer to my sister Rose, who was 12 years old and I was 27, so we didn’t have a lot in common.

“I showed her a prototype of the game at Christmas in 2014 and she loved it.

“But working full time in London, it took me a year to make it into a thing.”

Hazel said after taking a job in Brighton that was not right for her, she was encouraged by her husband to focus more on developing the games as a business.

She said: “So in 2015 we launched a Kickstarter fundraising page, and we raised just under £4,500.

“Quite shortly after we got the first game on Amazon, and by Christmas 2016 it had made it into the top ten card games on the site.”

Hazel described Randomise as a mix between Articulate, Pictionary and Charades.

She said: “You can get any number of crazy identities.

“The games are all very silly but they allow people to let loose and have fun with their family.

Hazel launched two new games in 2018 – Soundiculous and The Pretender, and then two more this year, Jibbergiggle and Frozen Unicorns.

“In Soundiculous you get given a sound on a card and you have to make that sound.

“It seems simple but it’s more difficult than you would think.

“The Pretender is different and involves one person having a hidden identity – it’s my favourite one to play.

“With Jibbergiggle you have a choice of situations to act out, and Frozen Unicorns transforms your living room into a bunch of people statues.”

Hazel said she has ideas come into her head for games all the time, but has to trial ideas with people she does not know.

She said: “We ask them to write a one star review as if they were doing it on Amazon, and that really helps to bring out any flaws in the game.”

Hundreds of UK small businesses which sell products on Amazon were nominated for the Small Business of the Year award, and tens of thousands of customers voted for the winners.

Hazel said it felt amazing to have won.

She said: “We applied for it, but we didn’t think we would have a chance to be honest.

“We were just pleased to be a finalist.”

One of Hazel’s motivations in designing the card games was to reduce the time people spend looking at screens.

She said: “I love technology and think it can be beneficial.

“It’s great when you’re in control of it, but when it starts to control you, that’s when it is a problem.

“I think our games give you that excuse that people often need to switch off and enjoy the present moment.

“For me it’s all about bringing people together, and spending quality time laughing with your loved ones.

“I think on that level it’s really important to my values.”

The business has sold 100,000 games on Amazon so far, mainly in the UK, with some sales in the US and Germany.

The company has turned over £1million to date, but Hazel said she is most concerned with getting the games out to children who need them most.

She said: “I’ve been involved with charities throughout my life but have found myself running a business.

“If you told me five years ago that I would be running a games business, I would have thought you’re quite mad.

“We work with a few charities in Brighton, including the Carers Centre and the school holiday club Chomp, as we donate games to them for their Christmas hampers,

“We go beyond giving money to charity and are really trying to get our games out to children who don’t have access to them.”