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TOPIC: 3,000 New Games Per Year

3,000 New Games Per Year 29 Apr 2018 19:36 #272223

Sagrilarus wrote:
ratpfink wrote:

I no longer pay attention to the new games coming out. I think reading about stuff in this thread is about all the "news" I take in about new games, other than what people I game with may talk about. So when walking around the con, I was really struck by how I've never heard of 90% of the games that were being played. Not just never played, but never even heard of. I've been boardgaming for 15ish years, so this is kind of new to me. I'm at the point where I'd much rather sit down with 3 other people that know how to play Tigris & Euphrates and we can have a good and competitive go at it. My default assumption is that the new stuff is drek, so maybe I'll check it out in 3-4 years if people are still playing it.

That’s exactly where I am at the moment. I’m going to a gaming weekend this coming Thursday and it’s likely that there will be somebody looking to teach me a new game the entire time all three days. I’m going to focus on playing games that I know I enjoy and that I don’t get to play very often. Too many tried and trues that are ten years old that I’m still looking to play.

I read recently in a Bloomburg article that over 3,000 new games were published last year.
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3,000 New Games Per Year 29 Apr 2018 20:28 #272226

ubarose wrote:
Sagrilarus wrote:
ratpfink wrote:

I no longer pay attention to the new games coming out. I think reading about stuff in this thread is about all the "news" I take in about new games, other than what people I game with may talk about. So when walking around the con, I was really struck by how I've never heard of 90% of the games that were being played. Not just never played, but never even heard of. I've been boardgaming for 15ish years, so this is kind of new to me. I'm at the point where I'd much rather sit down with 3 other people that know how to play Tigris & Euphrates and we can have a good and competitive go at it. My default assumption is that the new stuff is drek, so maybe I'll check it out in 3-4 years if people are still playing it.

That’s exactly where I am at the moment. I’m going to a gaming weekend this coming Thursday and it’s likely that there will be somebody looking to teach me a new game the entire time all three days. I’m going to focus on playing games that I know I enjoy and that I don’t get to play very often. Too many tried and trues that are ten years old that I’m still looking to play.

I read recently in a Bloomburg article that over 3,000 new games were published last year.

This is the topic that none of the mainstream writers are addressing.
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3,000 New Games Per Year 29 Apr 2018 22:47 #272231

ubarose wrote:
I read recently in a Bloomburg article that over 3,000 new games were published last year.

This is what amazes me. How is there a market for this? I hopped on to Star Trek: Ascendancy this year only because I saw people talking about it here. It's two years old. I blabbed about playing Raiders of the North Sea on Saturday up the page. I'd never heard of it. It's three years old. I'm going to play Terraforming Mars for the first time pretty soon. It's two years old. I basically don't play anything "new". There's a ton of stuff that people liked here that I'll probably never play. 10 years ago we all talked about the new thing and how many plays we'd gotten in because that was the only thing to play that was "new". Now, I haven't even seen half the stuff that people talk about as new releases. I remember making a joke about The Others that I think was my most thanked post ever that wasn't political. A year later, I finally noticed another post about it that said it was dirt cheap at one of the online vendors, so I snagged a copy, got a bunch of the expansions on sale, and have played it several times since. But no one was interested in talking about it because it was already passé by the time I got to it. We're past the ridiculous to the sublime, I think.
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3,000 New Games Per Year 30 Apr 2018 06:36 #272237

ubarose wrote:
I read recently in a Bloomburg article that over 3,000 new games were published last year.

You have to separate the wheat-from-the-chafe, and, the real problem is that most of these new games are derivative, bloated, and/or blighted chafe. The public just doesn't know it yet--caveat emptor.
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3,000 New Games Per Year 30 Apr 2018 07:00 #272238

Jackwraith wrote:
ubarose wrote:
I read recently in a Bloomburg article that over 3,000 new games were published last year.

This is what amazes me. How is there a market for this? I hopped on to Star Trek: Ascendancy this year only because I saw people talking about it here. It's two years old. I blabbed about playing Raiders of the North Sea on Saturday up the page. I'd never heard of it. It's three years old. I'm going to play Terraforming Mars for the first time pretty soon. It's two years old. I basically don't play anything "new". There's a ton of stuff that people liked here that I'll probably never play. 10 years ago we all talked about the new thing and how many plays we'd gotten in because that was the only thing to play that was "new". Now, I haven't even seen half the stuff that people talk about as new releases. I remember making a joke about The Others that I think was my most thanked post ever that wasn't political. A year later, I finally noticed another post about it that said it was dirt cheap at one of the online vendors, so I snagged a copy, got a bunch of the expansions on sale, and have played it several times since. But no one was interested in talking about it because it was already passé by the time I got to it. We're past the ridiculous to the sublime, I think.

BoardGameGeek has become a big deal over the years, and for better and worse, the regulars there have shaped the tastes of hobby boardgamers. Thanks to BGG, people believe that boardgames should take 90 minutes or less to play, and grade inflation in the ratings has pushed the idea that newer games are generally better than older games. And having a big bookshelf stocked with boardgames is a goal for everybody in the hobby. Taken together, these ideas push people to keep buying games, and frantically play the new ones as soon as possible. Some players can barely enjoy the current game of whatever because they are impatient to move on to the next game, especially if they aren't currently the leader on the inevitable scoring track on their board. Certain game mechanics (auctions, worker placement, deckbuilding) have been exalted above all others, so it's relatively easy to learn the new games that are practically just re-themes of the previous games. Add in Kickstarter and FOMO, and both supply and demand for 3,000 new games is locked in.
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3,000 New Games Per Year 30 Apr 2018 07:12 #272240

Probably not that hard to come up with 3000 games a year when:

- you have lazy designers that take a “toolkit” approach to writing games, applying tried and true mechanics, settings, and concepts in various arrangements rather than coming up with new ones.

- the notion of one-time purchase games (as opposed to product lines) is becoming more remote.

- the “you’ll dance to anything mentality of publishers, who have lost their prior gatekeeping role.

- the public’s willingness to quite literally hand strangers on the street money with the promise of magic games to appear in the future.

Of those 3000 games, how many sold less than 500 copies? How many vanished without a trace without A MONTH of publication? How many dollars have retailers lost brining in the Next Big Thing, now selling for pennies on the dollar?

The idea that this tidal wave of titles is “healthy” or that having “more choices than ever” is good boggles my mind.

I’m going to write an article about this called “State of the Games Industry 2018: Welcome to the Vomitorium”.
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3,000 New Games Per Year 30 Apr 2018 07:27 #272242

stoic wrote:
ubarose wrote:
I read recently in a Bloomburg article that over 3,000 new games were published last year.

You have to separate the wheat-from-the-chafe, and, the real problem is that most of these new games are derivative, bloated, and/or blighted chafe. The public just doesn't know it yet--caveat emptor.

That's the purchaser's half of the problem, and it can be solved with some judicious purchase decisions.

The publisher's half of the problem is more complex. You can have the greatest design on Earth and you aren't even halfway to getting into the black on sales. The challenge for the publisher has become one of insane marketing, to make the game appear as over to top as possible, with a thousand things hanging off of it and flashing lights and the whole regalia just to get it noticed above the huge noise that's in the market right now.

Nobody in the game publishing business is in a position to promise employees a job a year from now. Product quality means nothing if you can't get it noticed.
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3,000 New Games Per Year 30 Apr 2018 07:37 #272243

Shellhead wrote:
BoardGameGeek has become a big deal over the years, and for better and worse, the regulars there have shaped the tastes of hobby boardgamers.

BGG has also become the trusted data source for every mainstream article published on the subject. Its data are the cited as fact, because most of the publishers don't issue earnings or sales data to the public.
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3,000 New Games Per Year 30 Apr 2018 08:04 #272246

Michael Barnes wrote:
- the “you’ll dance to anything mentality of publishers, who have lost their prior gatekeeping role.
- the public’s willingness to quite literally hand strangers on the street money with the promise of magic games to appear in the future.

These two interest me the most. In the past, we could rely upon the sound judgment of publishers who made sure that a game was worthy of publication by screening it before their in-house experienced "board game sommeliers." They'd also provide a critical editorial role and make sure that new games were thoroughly beta-tested and worthy of release; after all, publishers act as the stewards of venture capital and a return on these investments is expected.

This type of system often becomes stagnant, however, and game publishers become gate-keepers instead of risk-takers. This keeps out cutting-edge designs and worthy new designers. This is why it's healthy to have vanguard, independent, and fringe groups of designers acting as barbarians-at-the-gate. Barbarians keep the gate-keepers honest.

Kickstarter has turned this whole dynamic upside down because there are no longer either gate-keepers or barbarians. What we get now is an ignorant public backing new games because they look cool because of clever marketing, have expensive miniatures, or the latest popular licenses. But, these same consumers often don't have well developed palettes and they are simply too green to make sound decisions about what makes a good game design. They're making decisions without enough knowledge and this is a well-known error in a free market. In time, though, after being burned a few times, consumers learn, become educated, and the market will self-correct.

All of this is why it's so important now that a forum exist for consumers which will foster a stable of independent game critics who'll offer honest and informed opinions about these new products. Even this has its own conflicts because most critics seem to evolve into nothing more than controlled mouth-pieces who'll never say anything negative about a product since it will jeopardize their revenue stream once they develop a following. They all start-out as barbarians but end up selling out. Game critics have a life-cycle too.
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3,000 New Games Per Year 30 Apr 2018 09:01 #272253

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3,000 New Games Per Year 30 Apr 2018 09:59 #272266

Michael Barnes wrote:
Of those 3000 games, how many sold less than 500 copies? How many vanished without a trace without A MONTH of publication? How many dollars have retailers lost brining in the Next Big Thing, now selling for pennies on the dollar?

The idea that this tidal wave of titles is “healthy” or that having “more choices than ever” is good boggles my mind.

Sounds like it's becoming more and more like the music or publishing industry, where the average person has to rely on either a trusted producer (publisher / designer), an established brand (ugh more Star Wars games), or some kind of critical intermediary to help cut through the noise. Although the problem with games is even greater, because the cost of entry for a new game is so much higher than a new album or book or whatever, there's just no way to consume more than a fraction of what's offered.

I can see a couple of upsides to this. The first is the elevated role of the game writer / critic / thinker, folks with an established and trusted point of view that can help people navigate through the avalanche to find interesting experiences. The second is that, for designers to cut through the noise, they might eventually focus on weirder, more daring designs with lower price points that can sustain themselves by appealing to a small but dedicated group of customers. Like, if the board game industry is expanding, and FFG is like the Warner Music Group, surely there's room for a Sub Pop or Drag City or something to thrive.

Of course, it's weird that this hasn't really happened yet (outside of fringe folks like Emperors of Eternal Evil). Instead, 'cause of kickstarters, you have up and comers wielding the same budgets and goals as the Big Guys. It's like if the punks, instead of doing something different than ELO, decided to just band together and collect enough money to make their own bigger better ELO albums. So maybe this "alternative" will only happen if people stop throwing money at everyone who decides to make a game and got some eighties license gamers remember with some hazy degree of unearned fondness.

The other potential issue with this glut is that game critics / writers / tastemakers might turn into nothing more than a collection of buyer's guides. I feel uncomfortable with the degree that this hobby is about excessive consumption (though I'm as guilty as anyone), and most game critics just aim to make gamers smarter about how they direct this appetite for content. While I think there's a place for critics to direct folks to interesting or excellent games, if that's the limit of the conversation (WHAT DO I BUY) it's shortchanging and stunting the medium.
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3,000 New Games Per Year 30 Apr 2018 10:03 #272267

stoic wrote:
What we get now is an ignorant public backing new games because they look cool because of clever marketing, have expensive miniatures, or the latest popular licenses.

Don't have a lot to add to this debate that hasn't already been said, but I think this is just slightly off the mark. A lot of the people backing this stuff aren't ignorant - they're hobbyists. They've seen this stuff before. They know they're being sold to.

The thing is: they don't care.

You have to remember that for an awful lot of boardgamers, collecting is part of the hobby. They'll have a pile of shame, sure, and hand-wring in public. In private, they're got disposable income and they're perfectly happy to have shelf toads because it gives them something to put on their shelves.

This is only a problem from the point of view of board gamers who have a real interest in quality games rising to the fore. And, let's face it, purchasers who apply plenty of critical thinking before buying products are, almost by definition, not the key demographic that's going to drive design and publishing decisions.
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3,000 New Games Per Year 30 Apr 2018 10:14 #272269

MattDP wrote:
You have to remember that for an awful lot of boardgamers, collecting is part of the hobby. They'll have a pile of shame, sure, and hand-wring in public. In private, they're got disposable income and they're perfectly happy to have shelf toads because it gives them something to put on their shelves.

This is only a problem from the point of view of board gamers who have a real interest in quality games rising to the fore. And, let's face it, purchasers who apply plenty of critical thinking before buying products are, almost by definition, not the key demographic that's going to drive design and publishing decisions.

I would love to see a demographic breakdown of the people powering the kickstarter money machine. My guess is that you're looking at a pretty narrow sliver of folks paying for this stuff. As long as you only need to appeal to this group to fund your project (which I--perhaps incorrectly--imagine as being overwhelmingly white, male, lower-to-upper middle class, traditionally "nerdy"), then you're gonna end up with piles of similar looking and playing stuff. I wonder how long before this particular well runs dry. Maybe never?
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3,000 New Games Per Year 30 Apr 2018 10:14 #272270

It's like if the punks, instead of doing something different than ELO, decided to just band together and collect enough money to make their own bigger better ELO albums.

That, folks, is why Baron Donut is joining the writing staff here. Brilliant comment, and one that is absolutely on the mark.

I mean, when you are out-bloating FFG in their bloating prime...
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3,000 New Games Per Year 30 Apr 2018 10:25 #272271

BaronDonut wrote:
I wonder how long before this particular well runs dry. Maybe never?

It's certainly a deep well. As long as people still have the desire to collect, the space to keep their collection and IT continues to pay a decent wage.

(disclaimer: I also work in IT)
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