Rant on the adolescent crisis of the Board game world


Ado meeple

The game world that grown exponentially from just under twenty years is trying to find an identity. This is a very important moment in the life of a « young person » , this will affect the rest of his life in one way or another. So what are the symptoms of this crisis and what we must do to help the game world ?

First, the game world is compartmentalized . We have more or less 10 « families » of different games, the European game, wargame through the Ameritrash , the family game, abstract game , etc … Before going further , here are some examples for each family :

– Ameritrash ( a term I dislike ) Zombicide , Claustrophobia …

– European : Agricola , Stone Age , …

– Wargames : Clash of Empires , Age of Ravens …

– Family games : Uno , 1000 terminals , …

– Abstract games : Quarto , Qwirkle …

– Dice games : Dice town, King of Tokyo, …

– Strategy games : Stratego , Risk, …

– Party games : Bluff party , Concept, …

– Collections games : Star Wars Miniatures, Heroclicks …

– Role Playing Games : D & D , Pathfinder, …

Here’s a little clarification on the families of games. Well no, it clarified nothing! On the contrary, some of these games can enter different families ! This kind of compartmentalization created snobbery and of course snubs , Just using a word like ameritrash is very pejorative ! Some people of the gaming world have decided to juge games and some have some influences because of their media position in this world of jeu.Then I said : be careful, Who are we to denigrate some games or even some game creators ! Of course some games are not great games , but we all have different expectations regarding this matter. We must think about creators, illustrators and all the people behind these games whom we push in the mud by acting like that. I firmly believe that each game can bring happiness to someone. So here is one of the actions we can take : Be your own judge about these games, don’t say : «this game is really bad» but instead «I didn’t care for this game». There is always a toy library (in France), a board game café near you or shop with games open so that you can try them.

Another symptom of this crisis is the problem of the spending money of the adolescent . Some distributors have decided that this market, in full essence , profit like a goose that lays golden eggs.

It is difficult to find all these games in a market where, if you are not well distributed by a large company , you will find yourself bearly on the stalls of a small shop, and as you do not have a « big » publishers, it means no communication, niether promotion. Some distributors are forcing shops (in France) to buy a minimum amount of their games (dollar amount it is)! When a small shop must buy 400€ of games from one distributor while it wants only buy the latest new games! This becomes very heavy financially for some shops and , these shops do not always have an adequate selection and ends up with sometimes more than 1000 € less of cash flow ! You must sell a lot of games to  » get back on the feet. » So where are we going ? This reminds me of some brands of perfume and beauty products that have displays so large that if you are too small to accommodate these displays you can not cary the brand !

Some influential people in the game world also believe that there are too many games on the market, but who are they to prevent someone from creating a game? We all know very well that they do not do this for a living (even if they all want to live from it ), but by passion to share an idea and some moments with other players. What these influential people should use their energy and time is to find a solution for a larger and a wider distribution of games .

Everything related to games is mostly concentrated on gamers, not open to the rest of the population. What I mean by this is that for example , specialised magazines (for example : Plato , Spielbox , etc. . ) are not sold at your local bookstore so if you do not know the existence of these, good luck. 3/4 of new games are sold in specialized shops or on Web sites also specialized . As I mentioned in the article on Monopoly, still too many people do not know about other games besides Monopoly, Cluedo or Scrabble .

So of course , all is not negative! For exemple : some initiatives are taken by passionatse, staff and volonters of toy library (in France) , games shows organizers , organizations such as ‘ Casual Game Revolution ‘. But there is still much to do.

It is time to recover and help this ‘ teenager ‘ to find a good way . We must remember that games are there to gather multiple people in a friendly atmosphere to have a good time ! Nowadays, because of the technology and the financial difficulties of the moment, we really need these games to become more democratic. So let’s stop this ridiculous snobbery , develop a broader and easier distribution network and help at our level to promote board games in our communities.

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