February 2015

Hobby Game Trends 2000-2014 Round 10: Themes

Categories Focus: Themes

We have already looked at a few genres; those related to economic games and social deduction games. Let’s take a look at a few others that are thematic based and may be interesting. One that I know many gamers would love to see is “Zombie games,” but there are many other themes that gamers feel have been either over-used or under appreciated. We’ll take a look at a broad list of themes in this round.

Hobby Game Trends 2000-2014 Final Round: Conclusions

Conclusions

I am very pleased that this research confirmed some general speculations about the hobby game industry while it tempered others. Here are a few final conclusions, as always with the caveat that this research is based on the data available in the BGG database. There is much that can be discovered in the analysis and I extended to many areas in which I was not specifically interested now, but I wanted to leverage the process while I was practiced at it.. So the following conclusions are not all that can be drawn from the data, but just a few that interested me. Read the specific articles to better understand each category and the data challenges associated with it. You can review all of the figures that were included in the articles in the Hobby Game Trends 2000-2014: Figures gallery. It is worth repeating here that some of the data sets are so small that they are prone to large swings when calculating changes.

Hobby Game Trends 2000-2014 Round 7: Social Deduction Games

Categories Focus: Social Deduction Games

When I started this research, I was really only interested in “Social Deduction” games, but here it is, round 6 and I am only now getting to the work I set out to do. So much of this hobby turns out that way. Fans and critics alike might say, in different tone, “It seems like every new game is a social deduction game!” As a fan of social deduction games and working on a few designs myself, I am very interested in the current trend in releases of games that fit this category. Is it overrun? Is there room for just a few more great games? (Mine of course will be great).

Hobby Game Trends 2000-2014 Round 8: Dynasties

Dynasties

When looking at the recent history of board games (say, the last 50 years), it is convenient to put the releases in terms of dynasties. Certainly, one of the oldest and well-established of these is Monopoly. As has been demonstrated in previous articles, Monopoly has dominated game releases for many years. To that list of dynasties, we can add others like Axis and Allies and Risk. Let’s consider how game dynasties are formed and then take a look at some of them in terms of new releases.

Hobby Game Trends 2000-2014 Round 9: Self-Publishing

Self-Publishing: The Kickstarter Effect

This article looks briefly at self-publishing and the effect that Kickstarter has had on it. This is not a focus on Kickstarter itself, but there is more about it in Round 9: Dynasties.

At a Glance

Kickstarter has provided a platform for lone game designers to publish their work. Let’s take a look at the history of self-publishing and Print & Play games and see if we can detect any impact from Kickstarter.

Hobby Game Trends 2000-2014 Round 6: Traditional Games

Categories Focus: Traditional Games

Hobby game enthusiasts like to think that “better,” more “modern” games are replacing some of the old traditional games. As we saw with Economic games, the traditional game Monopoly has been a significant portion of the releases over the years. Is there evidence that Monopoly and other traditional games are losing their foothold in the games market? Let’s see.

Genghis Con 2015

Author(s): 

Why Genghis Con?

I joined in the fun at Genghis Con for most of its 4 days last weekend. I live about an hour from where the con is held and it is not far from my office, so I stay at home instead of the hotel where it is held. I’m sure I am missing out on some of the con experience by doing so, but even with the long drive I probably stay fresher. This was my second time to attend, so I knew what to expect. Last year’s observations would have been more focused on finding out what the con was like, but that is lost to memory now. For 2015, here’s a brief summary of how I spent my long weekend.

Mechanics Makeover: Dice in a Cup – Round 1b

Design Workbench

This is the second and final part describing the individual mechanics and their attributes – the modifiers. Again, there are three basic sets of mechanics; starting from the bottom up:

  1. Those that affect the die rolls. (Roll Modifiers)
  2. Those that affect the goal or victory condition. (Goal Modifiers)
  3. Those that affect the players. (Round Modifiers)

Picking up where we left off, in this round we will look at the last set. I set these apart from the other two because these only impact the die rolls in a meta sense. They don’t impact the actual rolls, but may impact the choices you make during rolling, since they impact who you are rolling against and who goes first.

Give Them the Right Tool

Author(s): 

In a couple recent articles on the League of Game Makers Seth Jaffe has made the point that “the designer should strive to ensure that a player cannot make a choice or series of choices that will lead them to a state where they’re not really playing anymore.” I agree whole-heartedly with Seth and encourage you to read his articles (“YOU’RE PLAYING WRONG!” – GOOD PLAY EXPERIENCE AND THE DESIGNER’S RESPONSIBILITY and “HEY, LOSER!” KEEPING PLAYERS ENGAGED, EVEN WHEN THEY’RE BEHIND). I have tried to cover similar ground in my article, Eliminating Player Elimination. Just as Seth has published a follow-up article to make his point clear (there were some who misinterpreted his intent), I’ll also add a few words more from an angle closer to Seth’s perspective (though, it is from my perspective also which some have described as other-worldly).

Mechanics Makeover: Dice in a Cup – Round 1a

Design Workbench

Since I am starting to report this progress further into the design phase than previously, I will break up the “rounds” a little differently at first to catch up. Here’s how the first few rounds will shake out:

  1. I will catch up on the mechanics and their attributes, which I will call modifiers.
    1. Since there is a lot to report here, I’ll break this round up into two parts.
  2. I will catch up on the gamelets.
    1. Since there is a lot to report here, I’ll break this round up into three parts.
  3. I will catch up on the game created by compiling the gamelets.

Mechanics Makeover: Dice in a Cup – Glossary

Glossary

In addition to the standard dice game terms, I have derived a few new ones for this makeover and for use in the Challenge Dice game. Not all are used right away, but this way the glossary can be referenced at any time. This may look like a lot of terminology for a simple game, but it is intended to be used intuitively. Defining terms helps that happen.