Game Industry

Card and board game publishing is a vibrant and dynamic industry. With changes in the types of games being released and the organizational make-up of the companies producing them, there is much to watch and analyze about the industry.

It is not our mission to be reporters on the industry, but as we research aspects of the industry that are interesting to us based on the projects were have in progress, we can’t help but notice some events and trends that, if worth the effort to investigate, are worth the effort to report for the community to digest.

We will also provide commentary and access to resources reporting on the card and board game industry here.

Industry Focus: The Full Weight of the Spiel des Jahres - Part 2

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The Spiel des Jahres (SDJ) award is intended to recognize games for “family and friends.” Does it hit that mark? The Kennerspiel des Jahres (KSDJ) was created to recognize more advanced games. Anecdotally, this is obvious from the difference in games that have won the awards, but is there a way to quantify this difference? Not dissimilar from other media, the complexity level of a game is represented by what gamers generally call “weight,” which is available as a community contributed measurement on BoardGameGeek.com.

Let’s take a look at the weight of SDJ and KSDJ winners and nominees over the years for insight into their level of complexity:

  1. What are their average and relative weights?
  2. Have their weights changed over the years? (Are the games getting more or less complex?)
  3. Have there been major changes over the years? What were the likely events that caused these changes?

Note: If you are starting your reading with this article, you might want to jump to the introduction here: Industry Focus: Spiel des Jahres & the BGG Community Part 1

Industry Focus: Spiel des Jahres & the BGG Community Part 1

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Though some table top gaming enthusiasts believe that the Spiel des Jahres annual awards are not relevant for them, there is no doubt that these awards are important drivers in table top games in general. There is enough urban legend and pontificating about the awards that don’t report the facts that a deep dive into the statistics related to the awards is perfect for an article in the Analysis Paralysis series. Through this analysis, we will have a better idea of what makes a Spiel des Jahres game, the common aspects of the games that have been named in the awards – as winners, nominees, or recommendations – and how the awards have changed over the years. In particular, we will viewing this information through the lens of the BGG community (as expressed in the game and user data available on the BGG website). Eventually, we will also be able to compare data for the 2017 nominees before and after the awards to gauge the impact.

Community Focus: BGG Ratings Part 5: Rating and Tracking Data and Methods

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If you are coming to this article first, you may want to start at Part 1 of this series to be sure you have the full context.

A review of the data collected of those who rated Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 as a “1” provides some insight into some rating and tracking practices. This is a short article to review some of the methods that I saw in the data and some of the difficulty experienced in analyzing the data.

Community Focus: BGG Ratings Part 4: Disposable Games

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If you are coming to this article first, you may want to start at Part 1 of this series to be sure you have the full context.

As we saw in Part 3 of this article, some of the “hate” in rating Pandemic Legacy was directed toward ‘legacy” or “disposable” games in general. In this part we will look at some of the justification for that hate and the tracking data provided by users that either supports or undermines that sentiment. Based on the comments provided by raters and the data available we have two basic foundations for argument:

  • Legacy games have limited playability.
  • Legacy games have compromised value.

Community Focus: BGG Ratings Part 3: Hate Rating – That’s Just Stupid

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If you are coming to this article first, you may want to start at Part 1 of this series to be sure you have the full context.

As mentioned in Part 2 of this series, not all ratings of “1” for Pandemic Legacy are examples of “hate rating” and not all “hate rating” of Pandemic Legacy was related to preserving Twilight Struggle as #1 on the BGG rankings (or the positions of other top rated games). Another significant rationale as expressed in comments and implied by the data is a dislike of “Legacy” or “disposable” games – or, more precisely, how stupid and wasteful they are. Let’s take a look at a few more stats related to this form of “hate rating” and some other characteristics of those who rated this way.

Community Focus: BGG Ratings Part 2: Hate Rating – Don’t Mess with #1

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If you are coming to this article first, you may want to start at Part 1 of this series to be sure you have the full context.

The impetus for this article (which became this series) was the rise of “hate rating” (my term) reported to be occurring on BoardGameGeek as Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 rocketed up the rankings and in particular, as it approached the coveted #1 position long held by Twilight Struggle. As Pandemic Legacy approached the top spot on the BGG rankings, some users rated Pandemic Legacy a “1”, apparently attempting to keep it from rising higher in the ranking. Some raters flat out stated in their comments that this was their intent, so we know this was happening. Some stated other reasons (which we will discuss in Part 3) and some remained silent, so we don’t know their intent.

In this part of the article we discuss the practice of “hate rating,” review some of the stats on the ratings and discuss the information gleaned from those ratings and potential impact on the BGG rankings. Although this event was well-covered in the tabletop media, what remains lacking are specifics about the ratings – everything I heard or read was anecdotal.

Community Focus: BGG Ratings Part 1: Know Thyself

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The debate about BGG rankings comes up frequently in the BGG forums, on tabletop gaming podcasts, and around the gaming table. In this 6-part series of articles we will look at the BGG ranking system from the perspective of the BGG user ratings: the BGG recommended rating criteria, user rating methods, and some user practices. Given its high visibility in the BGG community, we will pay particular attention to the pandemonium that occurred a year ago (January 2016) as Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 (or simply Pandemic Legacy) raced to the top of the charts and made a hot zone of the forums. (I actually started this series then, but am only now getting back to it). Here are the six parts:

Analysis Paralysis: Ask “The Geek”

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Some gamers have a problem with spending too much time analyzing the game state before making a move. I usually don’t suffer from this affliction (or should I say my gaming buddies don’t suffer from my affliction), but most gamers will succumb to this to some degree at some point. I usually don’t get too bothered by this. I am by nature an analytical person and can get wrapped around the axel at times when all I really needed was a quick answer. A common example is when I am working on a game design and I wonder if a particular mechanic or theme or combination of these has been used before. Am I doing something new or inadvertently rehashing something already done. I end up doing a lot of research on the subject instead of just plowing through my design iterations. Maybe I am looking for convenient distractions so I don’t have to think so hard on the design.

Opie Games: 2017 Preview

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The one statement that covers my 2017 goals for Opie Games is, “Get back in the game.” Starting in March of 2015 and continuing through about September of 2016, I had significant “distractions” from doing anything related to Opie Games; a flooded house that needed repairs, the culmination of a huge 3-year project at work, and other significant obligations pulled me away from this pursuit. Hopefully, 2017 is a year of change in a positive sense and I can get back to my preoccupation with game design and back on a blogging routine.

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