Board Games are Too Popular

With internet shows like @TableTop and websites like Boargamegeek, tabletop gaming has had a huge resurgence in the last few years.  
Damn you Wheaton!!!
Game publishers are jumping on this to try to capitalize while the market is hot, and so there are a plethora of new games released in a constant stream these days.  On top of that, funding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, and easy distribution through places like DriveThruCards are allowing more and more amateur game designers to get their work made and distributed.  So this is all great, right?

That's a LOT of shitty games.
Well, not really.  As with anything in life, board games run the full spectrum of awesome to terrible.  And in this spectrum, there is the typical bell curve of distribution.  So based on that, only 4% of the games released will be awesome.  Some 7% will be really good.  Another 12% will be Ok.  The rest are going to suck.  So this means 77% of the games coming out are between "terrible" and  "maybe I'll play it once just to try". 

My FLGS doesn't have
this kind of room...
The other effect of having so many games on the market, is that it tends to drive the prices up. Game stores have to keep a wider variety in stock, which raises their overhead.  It also crowds their storage leaving less room to keep more copies of the really good games on hand.

So, how can we try to sift through the mess to find the real gems?  The first answer unfortunately throws some of us under the bus.  It's to simply let some people buy the new game, give it a try, and then let the rest of us know how it was.  This happens all the time, at game get-togethers, on game review sites, and in the general way gamers constantly interact with each other. The problem with this is that someone has still wasted their time and presumably hard-earned cash to find out a game is bad.

One of the areas of blame above is also one of the solutions.  Crowd funding has become a mainstream thing, and it's here to stay.  Using sites like Kickstarter gives us gamers a way to choose if we think a game will be great, and reach a general consensus before we've plunked down our cash.  In order for a game to get funded in a situation like that, it has to pass a few hurdles that help weed out the bad ones.  First the designer has to have made a clear, concise, and coherent explanation of the concept and rules.  If I can't figure out how to play from their 5 minute video, I'm not going to buy in.  Next, the prototype they are working off of has to look good.  With only a dozen or so pictures, I have to get excited enough to want to have that game in my hands.  Finally, they have to convince enough of us to want to have it that their funding goal is reached.  If not enough money is raised, they don't get any of it.

In a recent  twitter chat (Monday's at 2pm EST) when  @the_FlyingSheep  suggested there should be a stock market for gamers to choose which games and companies to invest in.  I pointed out that this already happens via crowd-funding sites.

Hopefully this one lives up to the hype when it arrives at my door.

Out of all the games I've bought so far, both retail and crowd-funded, I'd say I'm at about 90% for picking games I like and have played more that 3 times.  So far I'm ahead of the curve.  How do you pick what games to buy?  Pretty packaging?  Good reviews?  Eenie-meenie-minie?


  1. I buy games that I think I can get people to play with me. Sadly, that means I haven't bought a board game in ages.

    I don't have a regular gaming in-person group. We get together so rarely that I can't rationalize spending $50+ for a game that will get played once if I'm lucky. I don't mind buying RPGs (especially when they're on sale at DriveThruRPG for only a few bucks) because I can use/adapt/steal from them for my online games really easily. If nothing else I at least get the enjoyment of reading them. But buying a physical game that looks really pretty but sits in The Closet and never gets used, well, that's just heartbreaking.

    Side note, I finally played Cards Against Humanity last week and it was awesome (as well as a perfect example of a crowd-funding success). Now I really want to play it with Dave, though.

    1. I wrote a long reply, then it disappeared... I'll see if I have the energy to be witty again later.

  2. I dunno, I mean, it just feels as though the tabletop gaming industry is catching up to the other industries, which already have massive amounts of quantity. Granted, not all of them are as hard to save money in, but there's still not as much volume in board games as there is elsewhere. (And when you're talking about something like a book, the time investment factor is equally important.)

    I think it's just a factor of growing pains. :)

    1. Maybe. But with books and other entertainment, it is already curated by publishers and stores. Only the stuff they think will make money makes it to the shelves. I equate where the board game world is now to the fan fiction app I have on my phone. 95% of it is crap, 3% is good but will only be seen by a few people, 1% is great, and 1% is terrible, but will still make money - like 50 Shades.

    2. "the fan fiction app I have on my phone"

      Wait... what?

    3. On Android there a a bunch of free apps for amateur fiction and ebooks.... again, most of it is pathetic trash, but there is the occasional rare gem.

  3. I just create my own and invite others to join. It's free, it's fun, and best of all, everyone gets to be their own DM (for as far as they can get away with it, that is!).


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