In recent days, and only 8 days apart, there have been two Kickstarter campaigns in the Tabletop Game category that have absolutely exploded.
As mentioned previously, I try to participate in the weekly BoardGameHour discussion. Since the “hour” of choice hits at noon in my time zone, I am usually able to attend. However, my office sees a fair amount of traffic and from noon to one I am first an employee and being a human interacting with the outside world comes second, so I often miss at least part of the hour.
Update 04-30-15: I can create these digests quickly for any BoardGameHour (within a day or two), but expressed to the Minister of Board Games that I would not openly post these digests without his blessing. So I am posting the ones I have created behind a login so they can be available upon request. If you would like to have access to these, simply request a login and mention the BoardGameHour as one of your interests. I will then let the Minister of Board Games know that you have requested access. This way, if there is an interest we will know about it. Note: You can always go to Nurph and replay the event, but I find this to be tedious. Even if you participate in an event it is hard to follow all the conversations. The beauty of the digest is that it collects all posts into their respective conversations.
Since it has been a while since I last reported on this project and the game is actively being playtested, I thought I should report on progress even though there are no major changes. I propose a few tweaks here that may cause changes to the rules and the cards, so by the next round I may post all new documents for rules and for building a deck. Historically, I have introduced new ideas in this notebook after they have been tested and changes decided. I am going to break form in this entry and suggest a couple new rules that we will be testing in the coming weeks. With many successful tests behind us, these are in the range of fine tuning. We are not experiencing any major problems with the game.
I am very pleased that this research confirmed some general speculations about the hobby game industry while it tempered others. Here are a few final conclusions, as always with the caveat that this research is based on the data available in the BGG database. There is much that can be discovered in the analysis and I extended to many areas in which I was not specifically interested now, but I wanted to leverage the process while I was practiced at it.. So the following conclusions are not all that can be drawn from the data, but just a few that interested me. Read the specific articles to better understand each category and the data challenges associated with it. You can review all of the figures that were included in the articles in the Hobby Game Trends 2000-2014: Figures gallery. It is worth repeating here that some of the data sets are so small that they are prone to large swings when calculating changes.
Categories Focus: Mechanics
We have already looked at the Roll/Spin and Move mechanic extensively in the Traditional Games round and Deduction and Bluffing in the Social Deduction games round, but what other mechanics are rising or declining in interest from publishers?
Categories Focus: Themes
We have already looked at a few genres; those related to economic games and social deduction games. Let’s take a look at a few others that are thematic based and may be interesting. One that I know many gamers would love to see is “Zombie games,” but there are many other themes that gamers feel have been either over-used or under appreciated. We’ll take a look at a broad list of themes in this round.
Self-Publishing: The Kickstarter Effect
This article looks briefly at self-publishing and the effect that Kickstarter has had on it. This is not a focus on Kickstarter itself, but there is more about it in Round 9: Dynasties.
At a Glance
Kickstarter has provided a platform for lone game designers to publish their work. Let’s take a look at the history of self-publishing and Print & Play games and see if we can detect any impact from Kickstarter.
When looking at the recent history of board games (say, the last 50 years), it is convenient to put the releases in terms of dynasties. Certainly, one of the oldest and well-established of these is Monopoly. As has been demonstrated in previous articles, Monopoly has dominated game releases for many years. To that list of dynasties, we can add others like Axis and Allies and Risk. Let’s consider how game dynasties are formed and then take a look at some of them in terms of new releases.
Categories Focus: Social Deduction Games
When I started this research, I was really only interested in “Social Deduction” games, but here it is, round 6 and I am only now getting to the work I set out to do. So much of this hobby turns out that way. Fans and critics alike might say, in different tone, “It seems like every new game is a social deduction game!” As a fan of social deduction games and working on a few designs myself, I am very interested in the current trend in releases of games that fit this category. Is it overrun? Is there room for just a few more great games? (Mine of course will be great).
Categories Focus: Traditional Games
Hobby game enthusiasts like to think that “better,” more “modern” games are replacing some of the old traditional games. As we saw with Economic games, the traditional game Monopoly has been a significant portion of the releases over the years. Is there evidence that Monopoly and other traditional games are losing their foothold in the games market? Let’s see.