The Guardian

Image from The Guardian

Image from The Guardian

All of us here love board games, and Tom and the gang does a great job of getting information out there, but why is the industry booming like it is?  The folks over at The Guardian were wondering the same thing so they started where it made sense, a board game cafe in Oxford called the Thirsty Meeple.  They do a pretty good job of reviewing a lot of the leaps and bounds board games have made over the years from expanding cooperative games to taking steps to be more inclusive.  The article is capped off with a short biography on Matt Leacock, designer of games like Pandemic Legacy and Forbidden Desert, and some solid game recommendations.  It’s an excellent read and they paint the board game industry in a good light, I highly recommend giving the article a look on The Guardian’s website.

dark souls makeup

The Guardian recently produced an article detailing the financial history of Kickstarter in Britain, stating that Kickstarter has just reached the 100-million-pound mark.  Further statistics revealed:

  • more than 1.2 million individual backers
  • 20,651 individual projects
  • an average of £53.80 per pledge
  • 8,181 successful projects that met funding
  • 12,000 unsuccessful projects
  • Games alone account for more than a quarter of the total pledge amount
  • The recent Dark Souls board game is the most backed project in Kickstarter’s British history bringing in the amount of £4 million

Kickstarter in Britain still has a long way to go to catch of to American Kickstarter projects, which have totaled $2 billion as of 2016.

For more information, you can read the entire article here.

Thirsty Meeples board game cafe, Oxford Photograph: Graham Turner/The Guardian

Thirsty Meeples board game cafe, Oxford Photograph: Graham Turner/The Guardian

As a member of the millennials I have had first hand first hand experiences with so many people in my generation being rather detached from human interaction. The idea that they would do gaming in such a manner as board games seemed almost alien to a lot of them for quite a while. It is always refreshing to see that our hobby is not so insular that we freeze out the mainstream which will be the saving grace of this hobby. The Guardian has written a great article about how board gaming is becoming more mainstream and not in the this is what you do when bored at grandma’s house kind of way.

These kinds of articles are what will be drivers for the expansion of our hobby. I am sure no one else remembers this but in 2005 Parade magazine had a great article about the Settlers of Catan which was one of the big catalysts for me entering the gaming hobby. I always found board games to be extremely interesting but you can’t convince your 20 something friends to play life or monopoly. So having a more grown up game that has some meat to it (though I will point out that most version of Catan do not have meat as a resource) is truly helpful.

But players and designers are keen to suggest another reason for the hobby’s resurgence. Games are simply getting better. Publishers are turning out products with elegant mechanics and impressive artwork as fast as their customers can snap them up. Board games are going through a golden age.

I appreciate that they featured Scott Nicholson of Board Games With Scott fame.  He is also an esteemed researcher on gaming at Syracuse University.  His research lends credibility to our hobby in that it promotes gaming as a way of learning in a far more enjoyable fashion.

If you look at the crowds at GenCon this year they saw record attendance with a diverse set of people showing up ranging from the very young (there were a lot of strollers) to the fairly old. Most bigger conventions have seen similar upticks in attendance as of late. But it is unlikely that this kind of momentum that we have been seeing would be sustainable without the kind of influx that mainstreaming will hopefully bring.

For the full Guardian article head over to their site here.