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.

Opie Games: 2017 Preview

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Setup

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.

The Best Year for Games 2010-2014

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Background

Having just completed the analysis on game quality data to compare Kickstarter published games to the general population of games, some interesting data regarding the general quality of games over time also became available. While the data is available, let’s take a quick look at the quality of Hobby Games over time.

The data presented here was collected from on Board Game Geek using the Advanced Search feature. Please refer to the original article (Kickstarter: A Source for Quality Games?) for the qualifications to this data.

Kickstarter: A Source for Quality Games?

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Background

Previously I reported on some statistics for excellent games that have been published through Kickstarter and how Kickstarter has provided the opportunity for some new designers and publishers to launch successful game development companies. (Game Designers: Impressive First Impressions). One of the comments/criticisms that the article received was the common refrain, “Sure there are some Kickstarter successes, but just not many of them.”

Not one to stand by while anecdotes and opinion are used to substantiate claims, I dug into the Board Game Geek ratings for Kickstarted games compared to all games published in the years 2010-2014.

Game Designers: Impressive First Impressions

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Setup

I was listening to a recent podcast… Gino of the Talking Tinkerbots podcast mentioned his frustration with the caveat, or even caution, applied by reviewers about games or Kickstarter projects by first-time designers. The discussion caused me to think about some of the successes and failures of first-timers and to do a little research that might prove interesting. I understand the concern related to “unproven” designers or publishers, but appreciate the perspective that I think Gino was applying.

Not that this article is intended to be a logical argument, but in logical argumentation the problem Gino has pointed out is known as a Genetic Fallacy. Something is bad/good because of its origin.

It would be too easy to focus on the negative here: First-timer Kickstarters that funded but ultimately failed and games that didn’t meet gamer expectations, etc. or to defend first-timers by focusing on “known” designers and publishers failing on the same criteria. The fact is, examples of both are plentiful – I regretfully have some of each (first-timers and known designer/publishers) in my game collection as evidence.

Instead, I want to:

  1. Take a positive approach to first-timers and provide a few examples of “Impressive First Impressions.”
  2. Provide a few examples of the games by established designers that were their first or early designs.

BoardGameHour Digest: Introduction

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As mentioned previously, I try to participate in the weekly BoardGameHour discussion. Since the “hour” of choice hits at noon in my time zone, I am usually able to attend. However, my office sees a fair amount of traffic and from noon to one I am first an employee and being a human interacting with the outside world comes second, so I often miss at least part of the hour.

Update 04-30-15: I can create these digests quickly for any BoardGameHour (within a day or two), but expressed to the Minister of Board Games that I would not openly post these digests without his blessing. So I am posting the ones I have created behind a login so they can be available upon request. If you would like to have access to these, simply request a login and mention the BoardGameHour as one of your interests. I will then let the  Minister of Board Games know that you have requested access. This way, if there is an interest we will know about it. Note: You can always go to Nurph and replay the event, but I find this to be tedious. Even if you participate in an event it is hard to follow all the conversations. The beauty of the digest is that it collects all posts into their respective conversations.

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 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 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.

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