November 25, 2014 - 11:16am
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