Your Turn: So Many Games, So Little Time

Posted by Andrew L {Avid Gamer} | 1-Nov-13 | 46 comments

Your Turn - A BoardGaming.com Discussion

Hey there, I’m Andrew; game industry professional, reviewer, gamer, fellow Boardgaming.com member and the host of BoardGaming.com’s new discussion series called “Your Turn.”

This is your chance to let us know what YOU think about a variety of topics related to hobby gaming. I’ll start the conversation and then it’s “your turn” to chime in and add to the discussion. Each Your Turn discussion will have a new topic, and we may even have some special guests make a surprise visit down the road. In the meantime…

So Many Games, So Little Time.

Many in the hobby game industry have described the past few years as “the golden age of board gaming.” And I would have to agree that the game industry has taken a huge leap when it comes to the sheer number and different types of games that are being offered. So many in fact that we now have new vocabularies to describe different types of games: (LCG, CCG, DBG, CO-OP, EURO…) and game mechanics: (Worker Placement, Simultaneous Action Selection, and the dreaded “Roll and Move”).

We have podcasts, video reviews, how-to-play tutorials and websites. We have game designer forums and conventions that have grown in attendance beyond anyone’s expectations. Add to this the apparent growth of the appeal of “geek” culture in the mainstream. Shows like Tabletop and games featured on The Big Bang Theory are breaking down many barriers and letting more and more people in on “designer games.” You can now find games like Arkham Horror and Wrath of Ashardalon sitting near Monopoly at Barnes and Noble. Then throw in Kickstarter. Many good and (not so good) games are giving small publishers their start and also fueling established companies’ abilities to produce. More and more games are streaming into our little corner of the world. It has become a new way (in America at least) to spend time with the family.

Okay, what can I say – I see it and I want to play it! I look at each game as an artistic creation – the brainchild of some eccentric mad scientist-like designer who spent years creating not just a board game, but an “experience” just for me. Even if it’s a themeless mechanic machine… someone thought of it. They want me to play it, dissect it and conquer it! I want to honor them all. Mr. Gygax, I salute you! Hats off Mr. Weisman for Battletech and Heroclix. Thanks Mr. Bauza for your 7 Wonders and the trip down the Tokaido road. Great idea Mr. Vaccarino! And Mr. Garfield? We have to talk.

Overflowing-game-shelf

You can see the obvious problem here. There is absolutely no way I can play all the games I want to play, review all the games that should be reviewed or have a complete collection of the games I want to collect. I can’t experience all that the hobby wants me to experience. The sad thing is I can’t even come close. If hobby games provide an express train to all the experiences life, history, science fiction and fantasy have to offer, how can you not want to buy a ticket and hitch a ride. It’s an exciting time for the hobby giving lots of folks jobs and income. Yet, as exciting as it is, it’s also a bit discouraging.

This is a hobby right? A hobby is the thing you do in your “spare” time. Sometimes I listen to podcasts and they talk about the number of games they played in the past two weeks and I think: “Yikes! I didn’t have time to do the laundry!”

Question: Is this game explosion a good thing? Or are there just too many games? How do you choose what games to play and buy in this crowded market?
So many games so little time…

Your turn…

Comments (46)

Gamer Avatar
6
The Gold Heart
Plaid Hat Games fan
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
Bronze Supporter

Granny
Great points. I guess I’m not really worried about the industry. I have been a part of it for some time now and I always see the fluctuations correct themselves. I just was expressing the fact that for my personality, a lover of games of all types, publishers that have usually produced one type of game have joined in the board game trend: (Gale Force 9 with Spartacus, Firefly and soon several more, Wizards with Waterdeep etc, CoolMini with Zombicide and so on. There is a lot to choose from – and I guess I wonder how YOU choose what games to play in this booming environment. So it may not be “too many games” for the industry, but at times its “too many games” for me!” Which bums me out to a degree.

Shamus
I guess games being better, the influx of games and the close scrutiny of them (Like we are doing!) has raised the bar. As we ride this wave of board games, fewer and fewer companies can well, “get away with” producing a game of poor quality or with just plain bad mechanics. Even designers like Vaccarino and Garfield suddenly find themselves under a microscope for failing to produce great games every time. ( Vaccarino with Nefarious and Garfield with Ghooost) – Interesting your comment about games being too complex for their own good – would like to hear your opinion of Terra Mystica. Lots of Buzz… worker placement on steroids. Fun, but is it too complex for what it is? Complex or simple ( Arkham or Tsuro) is the experience that I value.

Jeff W.
Heh, thanks for contributing Jeff, I was interested in your phrase, ” the lasting legacy of the current public love affair with tabletop games.” Seems like in every industry, each innovation, and progression set a standard for what comes after. For example when CCGs hit, yes there was a glut of CCGs for about 2 years. The cream rose to the top. But more importantly the mechanics of the game – the “card combo” if you will, have affected many games that have followed. (Dominion, Smash Up and enumerable others.) I have also noticed that folks who were normally considered exclusively computer gamers getting involved in the hobby and even designing. This has given some American style games a computer game-like feel to them. (Plaid Hat’s games, have a real computer game feel) One of the reasons I didn’t like D&D 4th edition was the game felt like an online MMORPG. Has anyone else noticed that trend?

Nilo… again 😉
Average player or not, you picked some great games. Argh Netrunner. Again here is the problem. With the LOTR LCG, My new fascination with Pathfinder ACG, and some MTG thrown in, I WANT to play it, I just don’t have the brain space. Curse you FFG!

Urosh
You lost 3 FLGSs in the last 2 years? That seems to be counter to the trend. Sorry to hear that. I also might recommend “Meetup.” Vasel recommended it and I logged on and found out there was a weekly meeting of gamers right under my nose and I didn’t know it. Great game selection too.

Martin
Thanks! What games have you singled out from the site that have made it into your collection?

Gamer Avatar
9
I play purple
Explorer - Level 6
Vanguard
Cryptozoic Entertainment fan

I am fairly new to this current explosion of specialty games. I came from Monopoly and CCG games. I used to play Monopoly every day after school. It had plenty of replay value to me and my friends. So I am overwhelmed at the variety and quantity of games to pick from. This web site has really opened up my eyes and helped me to see what is out there and to help me limit my selections. I am adding games of my favorite themes and mechanics to my collection gradually. Nice idea for a new page to participate in!

Gamer Avatar
10
Miniature Painter
Expert Advisor
Inventor
Advanced Reviewer

LOL at Pandemic: My Little Pony Edition!

Gamer Avatar
8
Rosetta Stone
Football Fan
Explorer - Level 5
Junior

Yesterday I realized that there is yet one more reason why I sometimes feel there are “too many games” out there today. Sometimes it feels like that because of the people with whom you play.

Imagine if your favorite type of game was Worker Placement, and your friends all preferred CCGs, or Dexterity games, or miniature war games. You bring all your favorites to Game Night in a giant box. But before you can even suggest Agricola, or Trajan, or Lords of Waterdeep…your friends are in their 2nd game of M:TG…so you borrow a deck and spend another night unable to play the games you want most to play.

That’s a real conundrum for many people, and sometimes happens with specific games when you find out that 1-2 people in the group don’t like your favorite game.

As an alternative, I would suggest these options:
1. College clubs and bulletin boards often have notices for “gamers wanted” or events where other gamers are going to be gathered.
2. Today there are mobile or online versions of many popular board and card games, with more being added all the time.
3. Search for new local game stores. In my area, we lost 3 game stores in the last two years, so maybe it’s not surprising that one popped up to fill the gap.
4. Official websites! Quite often, official websites for games have forums or ways to contact others who share the same interest.
5. Fan sites like BoardGaming.com are also excellent. While it can be a little scary to meet strangers, sometimes you meet the perfect group of gamers that way.

Gamer Avatar
4
Germany

Hey Nilo

As a Power gamer what are your new games of choice in the last few months? Did you go to Essen? And by “discard” do you mean to a pile nearby? Hopefully not to the trash bin!!??

Oh, by “discard” I meant I’m trying to sell them. 😉

Yes, I have been to Essen and it was fantastic (again). Actually I think there do not have been that much of highlights but I still got some impressions.

My new games of choice are almost limited to Android: Netrunner. Since this one has been released this summer in Germany (very late 🙁 ) and since me and my girlfriend started to “collect” together we had to invest a lot of ressources in this one. After Essen us Germans are in front of you guys concerning to Netrunner, btw. 😀 Now we are in serious business, having a weekly Netrunner evening in a local store, going to tournaments and building a lot of decks. That is what is making me a “power gamer” I’d say.

Depending on other games I do like, you might want to call me a “casual gamer” or whatever. At Essen I picked up the following games (beside Netrunner Datapacks): Love Letter, Smash Up Expansion2, Munchkin Pathfinder, Dungeon Roll, Zombicide (so expensive, ouch). After Essen via delivery: Ticket to Ride: Netherlands (love it) and Tokaido (my Essen Highlight, so relaxing, still not available in Germany, nvm).

So in general I’d say beside of Netrunner I am a pretty average player. 😉

Gamer Avatar
8
Legend of the Five Rings Fan
Advanced Reviewer
Tactician
Guardian Angel

Licensed “skins” of classic board games fill a niche for people who haven’t bought the original, but somehow feel more compelled now that the game wears a familiar face. The Monopoly licenses are overplayed in a big way, but I’m sure there are children who enjoy the Disney/Pixar edition. Or Simpsons Clue. Or Star Trek Catan.

The board game boom overall (I hesitate to call it a glut) rewards innovation. Something that has an interesting new mechanic, good replayability, and/or excellent theme will do very well, while other games will languish on the vine. There are dozens of deckbuilding games out there since Dominion, but the ones which get attention are the ones that do something new. Trains gets criticized for being too much like its ancestor, yet it adds both Waste management and the board as strategic elements that make it fun to play.

Cooperative board games have gone through several iterations, and yet Elder Sign, Pandemic, and Sentinels of the Multiverse all offer different experiences to the player.

Worker placement. Resource management. Trading/negotiation. Push your luck. Roll-and-move. All are broad mechanical categories that are served by a variety of sub-mechanics and themes. Certainly the field is broad enough that anyone should be able to find games they and their group can enjoy regularly.

Adaygrit mentioned the 90s comic book bubble (which was yet another cycle, as I remember the 80s bubble of TMNT imitators), which is a fair comparison, but I think of the CCG bubble — the first 3-4 years after Magic: The Gathering, where everyone and their grandfather was releasing some game trying to cash in on the original. And there were some real stinkers out there! Spellfire? Super Deck? Wyvern? A handful survived the implosion there, and several games with followings have reinvented themselves over time as LCGs. Similarly with tabletop games, in the long run, what will shake out is quality — games which don’t measure up won’t continue to be published, publishers will go out of business, and the rest will press on.

I have a feeling that the lasting legacy of the current public love affair with tabletop games will be that people realize that “classic” games aren’t nearly as fun as they remember, and some of the better games of the modern era will be enshrined as new classics. The fact that Settlers of Catan is in the public consciousness (anyone see the bachelor party episode of Parks and Recreation?) speaks to that. The continuous mainstreaming of “geek culture” does as well.

Sorry, this started as a small post and just kept getting longer. TL;DR: Board games as a whole not going anywhere; marketplace probably due for a contraction in 5-10 years.

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7
Knight-errant
Cooperative Game Explorer
Amateur Advisor
Gamer - Level 6

Andrew and Urosh

Yeah, Monopoly is the big offender in terms of painting stripes on a horse and calling it a zebra. It’s hard to see the varied themes of the game as anything but a cash grab, as the game itself never really changes. Monopoly, Monopoly Star Wars, Monopoly Lord of the Rings, Monopoly MLP…I think I even saw a Monopoly game based on the college football rivalry between Michigan and Michigan State at one point, though I could be mistaken.

At the same time, though, I can see having a selection to choose from if you have never bought the game in the first place. If you’re a Star Wars fan and have never owned a Monopoly game before, you’re probably going to go with Monopoly Star Wars. But aside from that, only the most die-hard gamer with the wallet to back up their spending habits will own every single version, and even then, I doubt that more than one or two of them would be played. And for the average gamer, it’s just not worth it.

The harder stance to take is with games that are similar, but just different enough to be interesting. One of the big examples is with deck-building games and living card games. A lot of games in this genre have different mechanics and themes, which make them rewarding enough to play, but who can afford to own them all? In that regard, I’ve come up with a system in which I look at the games my friends own, and try to gauge my purchasing power by owning games that my friends don’t have (but that I still find interesting). I don’t own Dominion, but a friend of mine does. I don’t own Thunderstone, but a different friend of mine does. I do own Nightfall and Resident Evil, however, and that’s something I can claim sole ownership of. In that way, we can experience variety without overextending our pocketbooks.

Andrew, I would disagree with the ‘better’ games being released. Games have to walk the fine line between offering more bells and whistles, and with becoming too complex for their own good. Some gamers like more complicated games, others like simple games. I love to play Arkham Horror games, which arguably can be one of the most complex games on the planet if you take the expansion rules into effect. But I also get hooked on Tsuro games, which is such a basic and easy game to pick up that it almost defies convention. Certainly, game developers have a better idea of what works in terms of game mechanics and thematics, but people are going to like what they like, whether it’s something new or the classics. Still, while I might disagree with the concept of a ‘better’ game, I do agree on the concept of a ‘bad’ game. It’s a bit hypocritical of me, but there you are.

Granny

Actually, there are some people who do collect board games for the purposes of getting rich; it’s not something I see very often, but I do see traces of it here and there. More often than not people will collect games just to have them, but there are some rare games out there that will fetch a pretty penny from the right buyer.

A game store friend of mine was able to procure the White Box collection of Dungeons and Dragons some time back. I confess I didn’t know how significant that was at the time, but I have since been educated on the matter. RPG’s aren’t board games in the classic sense, but they are a close cousin, and that sort of stuff tends to be closely hoarded like dragon’s treasure. Likewise, the Dark Tower game which was reviewed by Noah Antwiler (Spoony) is somewhat rare and could fetch a pretty penny.

I do agree with you that most gamers are quite discerning about what they will like and what they won’t. There are gamers who will impulse buy, but those gamers usually specialize in a specific niche or genre, or see something they ABSOLUTELY have to have. Most that I know will watch a game in play or do extensive research on a game. Nowadays, I see more and more gamers getting in on the ground floor with Kickstarter, which is quickly becoming the new thing. I haven’t jumped on that bandwagon yet, but I’m starting to become interested.

Gamer Avatar
9
USA
Platinum Supporter
Petroglyph
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester

Are there too many games?

I’ve seen this question discussed on other boards, and can see why it might seem like a problem based on the rise and fall of other industries. I just don’t see it being an issue with board games.

Why? Well, currently most of these board games are made by smaller companies that do fairly small print runs. If the game sells out, they will print another run. Hits keep printing and duds never get another print run. If Hasbro took over and shut these smaller companies down… then I might be worried. Instead, Hasbro has dipped their feet in the water and backed off several times. The industry seems pretty sustainable right now.

Unlike comic books, I don’t think anyone is collecting games thinking they will get rich. I’ve yet to hear anyone say… “I have the first printing of Puerto Rico,” or “I have the edition with an error in it” with any sort of collector vibe attached. If they have the edition with an error, they are probably ******. There are occasional special editions, but those are few are far between.

As far as the purchasing public, I do think the number of gamers are growing, but I don’t see it as a bubble. Gamers are pretty reliable and discerning. They know what they like, try things out, and purchase what they feel their pocketbook can handle. Some of us get carried away, but I don’t foresee any gamers I know passing up on games with new mechanisms or a subject matter that intrigues them. A good portion of the current crop of gamers have been playing for years, and the new gamers seem to be just as dedicated.

Now, for the mainstream folks that are buying Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride, there isn’t really a problem there either. They will never buy more than a shelf of games. Pandemic will have a place next to Monopoly and get pulled out on holidays. Meanwhile, the names of a few of these “better” games are becoming common knowledge… who knows, maybe we’ll get Pandemic: My Little Pony Edition someday. Nevertheless, the next generation might be more enthused by games that aren’t just roll and move. We’ll see.

I’m sure we’ll have fluctuation in the board game market, but I think it is VERY interesting that the “Golden Age of Gaming” has occurred right after the Great Recession. I still think there is a big hurdle for people who think board games are just Monopoly and Candyland. Until that wall is broken and Hasbro steps in to mess things up… I don’t think we need to worry much. I’m not sure we’ll ever have to worry. The games are here. The good ones are here to stay.

I’m just going to enjoy playing. Game on!

Gamer Avatar
6
The Gold Heart
Plaid Hat Games fan
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
Bronze Supporter

Urosh

You bring up a great point! Depth and replay value. Great games have great replay value. You shouldn’t buy game and feel like it is “played out” after 3 games. It will be one you will want to play again and again – with, as you cited, new and interesting strategies to try each time. The times I run into that frustration is for those games that do have that depth. We know that now, in the “Golden age of Board Games” there are more games than ever before being released But are there also more better games being released. Is that the source of frustration? Does everyone think that’s true?

PS – I’ll play AoR with you!

Gamer Avatar
8
Rosetta Stone
Football Fan
Explorer - Level 5
Junior

clavejones – I’d love for this glut of games to translate into more brick and mortar stores where people can play games. But I don’t see that happening.

Gamer Avatar
2
Observer

So many games is nice for us game players. We have tons of choice.

So many games for publishers is nice on one hand because the player pool is broader now it seems. The water is rising for everyone. I would guess it’s bad for publishers in that there is so much competition for dollars and shelf space that it’s hard for them to stand out in a crowded market.

Gamer Avatar
8
Rosetta Stone
Football Fan
Explorer - Level 5
Junior

Marvin K. – My friends are annoyed at how often I bring my copy of Age of Renaissance to game nights. And I’m annoyed at how often they say no to playing it. 🙂

Shamus – Well said. Endless versions of another game are not my cup of tea either. Monopoly is Monopoly, whether you’re playing standard edition, Star Wars edition, or Nebraska Corn Huskers edition. I don’t even hate Monopoly like some famous gamers do. I’m going to teach it to my son when he gets a bit older. But we’re going to play the version I have, and I’m going to explain that the other versions are the same. An egg is an egg…even on Easter.

Andrew – In addition to everything else I said, I think my biggest “problem” related to gaming is not so much that there are too many games I want to play, but that I’m not tired of the games I have yet. I’ve probably played enough Dominion and 7 Wonders now to be okay giving them up (I’ve played them a LOT!!!), but only because they are so quick to setup and play. But when I think about playing games like Caylus, Age of Renaissance, Power Grid, Alien Frontiers, or even Die Macher, my mind starts racing with excitement. I’ve played all of those games several times, but I’m not tired of them because there is always another strategy I want to try. That’s where I’m up against the “too many games, too little time” wall.

Gamer Avatar
6
The Gold Heart
Plaid Hat Games fan
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
Bronze Supporter

Shamus

Great points. I am not a fan either of “re-themed games” I was once told that the best selling game in one specific mass retail outlet was… wait for it… My Little Pony Monopoly. Well, I don’t dislike Monopoly (much) or MLP, but well… its selling a game with a license which opens up a whole new topic for “Your Turn.” But not this one. I like your use of the word variety. I like variety, especially in games. Maybe some folks just aren’t like me and want to (or only have time to) play the same game repeatedly. If it’s a deep game (like Urosh’s example of MTG) then that’s cool. I picked up the LOTR Living Card game because I loved the art and rules. I stopped at about the second Adventure pack. I COULD just play that being as how there are so many expansions. and I suspect that the Pathfinder Adventure Card game (a new favorite) could do the same. But Ill never get all the expansions. And even if I do I probably will never play them because I too like Variety. But I will stop at the My Little Pony Co-op DBG. 😉

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7
Knight-errant
Cooperative Game Explorer
Amateur Advisor
Gamer - Level 6

Are there too many games?

It’s an interesting topic of discussion. My personal opinion? It depends on what concept you’re basing it on.

Games in general aren’t apples and oranges; they’re the entire fruit basket. There are so many different types of games out there that the board game genre itself can be divided into so many different types that it makes one’s head spin. But even in variety, there is saturation.

Take, for example, the iconic game Clue. The game so infamous that there was even a motion picture based off of the game (an a quite awesome movie at that, in my opinion). It’s a true classic, and because of that, there have been quite a few iterations of the game, along with different variations of the theme. I recently saw a Big Bang Theory version of Clue, and it made me roll my eyes. Not because it was based off of Big Bang Theory, but because I could tell just by looking at it that it was the same game wrapped up in a different theme (I admit I could be wrong, since I have not actually PLAYED the game, but I am 95% sure I am correct in my assertion). Such a re-packaged game wouldn’t offer me a new experience, and so I didn’t give it a second thought. But that doesn’t mean that the variation on theme wouldn’t appeal to someone else.

Personally, putting a new theme on a game does nothing for me unless something new is added to make things interesting. I’m not going to buy a Stratego game that has Army of Darkness characters just because I’m a fan of Bruce Campbell. Such a thing might hold my interest for a brief time, but ultimately it would be the same old thing. That’s where I think there are too many games; games that are so similar from one to the next that they can’t offer anything new.

But at the same time, I am a fan of games that try to do something differently. One might argue that the Resident Evil Deck-Building Game is a dressed up version of Dominion, but the mechanics of Resident Evil mean that you can play the game solo if you wanted to, where with Dominion, you cannot. That in itself lends something extra to Resident Evil that makes it worth checking out, in my opinion. It doesn’t make RE any better than Dominion, just different. And take the similarities between Pandemic and Defenders of the Realms; both games deal with trying to stop the board being overrun with undesirable elements, but Defenders deals with quests and combat, where Pandemic deals with working together to find cures. The different styles makes both games enjoyable, and distinct enough that you can play one or the other depending on your mood without feeling like it’s the same experience.

Even games that provide different game experiences every single time a la Betrayal at House on the Hill will grow stale if that’s all you play, so it’s good to have a variety to choose from. With that in mind, not all games are going to be strong in theme or mechanics, and not everyone will enjoy the same types of games all the time. Sometimes there are duds out there. But it’s better to have an overabundance of variety rather than none at all. When it comes to selecting games to purchase, one of the best approaches I have is to watch the game(s) being played before I buy. Game stores and online tutorials are excellent for that.

Having said that, there are some games that I have bought that I rarely dig out. It doesn’t mean that I have wasted my money, however. I have played all of my games at one point or another, and when one set of games gets stale, I can always break out an oldie but goodie and restore interest. There is a time and occasion for everything, and sometimes it creeps up on you with you least expect it.

Gamer Avatar
6
The Gold Heart
Plaid Hat Games fan
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
Bronze Supporter

Hey Nilo

As a Power gamer what are your new games of choice in the last few months? Did you go to Essen? And by “discard” do you mean to a pile nearby? Hopefully not to the trash bin!!??

Urosh

That’s great to hear that BG.com can contribute to you having less of a brain ache in choosing good games!

Ah Time… I too game up MTG and D&D only to be starting to want to play them again. (see what I mean? )With the idea that I would pay casually – just starter decks and duel decks.. that sort of thing. I also have to admit I am looking forward to seeing what D&D Next will be like – I did get to play test it, and have a bit of a bruise from 4th edition. But RPGs are games I truly enjoy for their unique interaction and thematic possibilities.

BTW – Zombies.. zzzzz

Sound like you have things well figured out!

Marvin

Oh man you gave the answer before I had a chance to guess! Wow Talisman – great point. I got the first edition from Games workshop from 1983 and I played the tar out of it with folks who normally wouldn’t play ( like the Ticket to Ride of today but with the Crown of Command!)- then I bought DungeonQuest, then Warriors Knights, then Chainsaw Warrior… see I had this problem in the 80s. Also TSR was working on the hobby at the same time. (talk about long games Diogenes.. Divine Right… anyone? anyone? Bueller?) I Guess GW and TSR did make adventure Boardgaming accessible again in the 80s, Avalon Hill, but what happened between 1989 and 2008? I was playing D&D and Magic. What was anyone else playing?

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6
The Gold Heart
Plaid Hat Games fan
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
Bronze Supporter

Hi StephanieRidiculous

Ya I’m with you – I love it accept when my brain hurts deciding what to play. I recently moved and I won’t tell you the number of boxes my games filled and even more I won’t say how many are still in my collection because I may play them someday. I am afraid the bubble will POP though.

Hey Bob

I was at PAX too and I feel like board and card games were well represented there. Sentinels (one of my favorites) was doing great business. Maybe by “too many” I really meant choices. Sometimes I look at the salad dressing aisle in the grocery store and think.. really? So it’s no wonder all the new releases make my head spin. It does seem to be a matter of time and attention though, both of which seem to be getting short on supply as I get older. Perhaps the Conventions are the place to go to pay the games you can’t afford. I still want them though. Glad too you frequent Uncles – great retailer and also well represented at PAX Prime.

Hey Jagged

It’s getting so I can read the back of a box, and tell what other game that new game is similar to. I look for what makes a game unique, what mechanic makes it worth playing. And as you may know from my reviews I love theme and immersion. So overused themes with no new mechanic make it easier to decide. Many new games coming out can quickly be sorted by my interest in them and whether or not they have some new experience to offer. Maybe I just have a lot of different interests – that may be my problem.

Hey Adaygrit

I still have all my McFarlane Spiderman titles and.. WAIT you said they WONT make me rich? (sigh) There don’t seem to be a lot games you can invest in these days but I think what may help to slow the “bubble” bursting is the genuine interest in the hobby as a family social event. Not just as a fad but as a real new trend in family socialization. It’s been that way in Germany for many years as far as I know ( I mean I am from German descent but I don’t hang out with a German family) Hopefully the bubble will.. shrink?

Gamer Avatar
9
Gamer - Level 9
Lookout
Explorer - Level 6
Guardian Angel

I think that in general the growth has been a good thing. I’ve been gaming for decades and have watched the growth with some joy, but also a little sadness.(Trivia Question: which game led to the current game boom?) The dismissal of all ealier American boardgames as Ameritrash overlooks many fine boardgames from the earlier time period, admittedly, you had to look for them but they were out there. Additionlly, while Eurogames have attracted many new players I miss the longer games.(Good luck getting an Age of Renaissance game going.)
The growth has been, in part, because of the introduction of new mechanics to the game environment. Unfortunately, we are now reaching a saturation point of a large quantity of games using the same mechanic. For example look at the new releases from Essen this year. Card drafting deck games alone are more numerous than anyone can hope to keep up with.
The other problem with this large volume of game production has been the arising of “The Cult Of the New”. We are all guilty of it to some degree. If you have been gaming for several years you might ask yourself when was the last time you played Caylus, Puerto Rico, or(Insert favorite game from 5 years ago). Still I’m glad to see the hobby so healthy. Trivia Answer: Talisman. This was the first eurogame to make a big impact on the American gaming scene. At local game conventions people would wait hours to play the game. This led to a new interest and attracted new players to scour the British and eventually European market for new games priming the game community for the next big game Settlers of Catan and since then there has been no stopping it. What will be the next big influence-I predict it will be Asia. Specifically Japan and South Korea. There are many great games out already-Peepers,Toc!Toc! Woodman and others. Beyond that Russia, Poland and some of the Eastern European countries are beginning to create a presence.

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8
Rosetta Stone
Football Fan
Explorer - Level 5
Junior

Good topic, and I have a few points I’d like to make.

1. Yes, there are too many games to play unless you’re Tom Vasel or live an independently wealthy lifestyle with your entourage of friends also into gaming. This is one of the reasons why BoardGaming.com (and a few other websites) have become such a big hit with me. I can see what’s hot, even read the rules, without having to spend money/time on a game that might not be my kinda game.

2. There are some games that take more time and energy than others. I gave up Magic: The Gathering years ago, but not because it isn’t fun or because it costs so much money. It seems to me that there is always money available for the things you want most in life. To me, it was that building decks and tuning them took so much effort and time. I was playing only M:TG and nothing else. It’s the same reason I don’t play RPGs as much anymore. Mentally preparing for a game session isn’t tough, nor is playing the game itself. But the time investment to create characters and a campaign is sufficiently high that it’s an obstacle with my limited free time.

3. On the opposite side of the “too many games” coin is the idea that there are several types of games that I just don’t play for whatever reason. I avoid nearly all miniature games, for example, because the strategy of where to place and move my armies isn’t nearly as interesting to me, as a game mechanic, as worker placement or auction/bidding mechanics. There are exceptions that capture my attention from time to time, usually because they break the mould and combine mechanics in some new way that intrigues me. But those exceptions don’t make me enjoy the mainstream more, they only lead me towards exclusivity. For example, I don’t enjoy most train games, but I can skip that whole category of games because I do enjoy games like Power Grid and Ticket to Ride.

4. With Kickstarter and BoardGaming websites, I can see what everyone is talking about and pay special attention to them. Or I can just roll my eyes and ignore them, like the slew of zombie games that I happily avoid. After I avoid all the games I know I won’t like or won’t have time to get into, there are games I can skip simply because my friends would never play them. I play with a bunch of manly men…and as much fun as Love Letter sounds…well, that just won’t hit the table. Ever.

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4
Germany

I’m a game-hopper for sure. In general I do like almost everything that’s new. But since space and budget is limited even I am going to try to select more carefully and will be comparing games in my collection that are too similar and discard them.

So yes. There is too much. Power Gamers do have to chose wisely what to pick and what not to pick.

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5
I play yellow

This game explosion reminds me the comic book explosion of the mid 90’s. Back in ’93 my town had no less than seven comic book shops. Comics were the current fad, and the market became flooded with titles. The Death of Superman and the (ugh) “Bad Girl” trend helped expand the bubble by bringing in both casual fans and speculators who thought they could get rich by investing in that era’s comics (they couldn’t).

But that’s what it inevitably turned out to be: a bubble. Once the casual fans moved on to something else, and the speculators realized that the twenty copies of Knightfall they were hoarding weren’t going to pay their student loans, the bubble burst. And by ’97 my town was back down to the original two comic book shops it had started with.

I see many similarities with what’s going on with board games right now. Shows like Tabletop and The Big Bang Theory are indeed bringing boardgames to more people’s attention. And I believe we’ll continue to see an increase in boardgames over the next few years, until pop culture picks up its short attention span and moves on to the next thing. And then, we’ll see the board game convention attendance thin out a bit, fewer successful kickstarters, and fewer games on store shelves as store owners become a bit more discerning as sales ebb.

Still, if you’re an avid gamer, I think it’s a great thing. Just like during the 90’s there were suddenly hundreds of different comic titles and genres to try out, there’s currently no shortage of new game ideas to play right now. And even if only a minority of these games have staying power, by the time the bubble bursts we’ll (hopefully) have accumulated enough quality games in our libraries to tide us over until the next big wave starts.

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