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When would you say the Golden Age of board games was?

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06 May 2019 20:13 #296656 by Toenail21
I'm talking in terms of the games that were released in a given year. Obviously games keep getting "better" in that we can still go back and play old games but there's occasionally a new game worth playing. But for me anyway, I'd say that the quality of board game releases peaked in 2009-2015.

I think everyone can agree that the quality of releases is better than it was in the late 90s and early 2000s, when the hobby first started really getting going. There are still a few gems from back then, but for the most part the games from that period simply don't hold up compared to games from the last decade.

Likewise, I feel like after 2015, the quality of games declined, as a result of several factors. The success of board games on Kickstarter drove the idea that the marketing was more important than the game itself, as many games on kickstarter were nothing more than ideas or prototypes. What was important was to have some flashy idea or gimmick to drive sales of the game. The acquisitions of major companies by Asmodee also helped contribute to this, homogenizing the market to some degree. And of course, as the hobby grows and becomes more mainstream, games become more catered to a mainstream audience, and so we see simpler games like The Mind and Codenames dominating awards and sales, and rival companies scramble to print the next big mainstream hit. It's kind of reminiscent of popular music in a way.

Now, that's not to say there aren't good games anymore. Nor am I saying that no older games are worth playing. But I feel like you have to dig a little deeper to find games that you like now.

And I am most certainly not saying that I regret the hobby growing and becoming more mainstream. The more the merrier I believe. I'm just simply pointing out the side effects of that growth.


Where would you all put the Golden Age to be? Do you believe we are in it now?

note: I honestly feel like I could lower the range to 2009-2013, but a lot of my personal favorites were printed in 2015, and I've only been in the hobby since 2012, so there's a little bit of bias there. If I did it objectively, yeah probably 2009-2013.
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06 May 2019 20:31 #296658 by mc

Toenail21 wrote:
I think everyone can agree that the quality of releases is better than it was in the late 90s and early 2000s, when the hobby first started really getting going. There are still a few gems from back then, but for the most part the games from that period simply don't hold up compared to games from the last decade.


Not sure you'll find much agreement on that, actually, least of all here.

90s -> Early 2000s produced a lot of games that are my bag, that's for sure. And I'm relatively new to boardgaming as well.

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06 May 2019 20:39 #296659 by Michael Barnes
The top games of 1995-2000 hold up better than games made over the past two years.

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06 May 2019 21:05 - 06 May 2019 21:07 #296660 by Frohike
That moment, about 10 minutes after you first jump into the pool, is always what registers to you as the "perfect" temperature.

This same logic drives people's perception of a golden age.

I entered circa 2004, so my "golden age" starts a couple of years into that cycle.

Short of some cataclysmic failure in the industry, I'm not sure the window for a concept of a golden age will ever close. People's historical peak just varies based on when they started playing. :-)
Last edit: 06 May 2019 21:07 by Frohike.
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06 May 2019 21:18 - 06 May 2019 21:19 #296661 by Toenail21

mc wrote:

Toenail21 wrote:
I think everyone can agree that the quality of releases is better than it was in the late 90s and early 2000s, when the hobby first started really getting going. There are still a few gems from back then, but for the most part the games from that period simply don't hold up compared to games from the last decade.


Not sure you'll find much agreement on that, actually, least of all here.

90s -> Early 2000s produced a lot of games that are my bag, that's for sure. And I'm relatively new to boardgaming as well.



Interesting, care to list a few of them the average person might not know? I honestly would love to find some good older games. I'm so used to the BGG circlejerk that I never really encounter older games anymore. That's part of why I came here, to find some cool games (that and the fact that the moderation over there is incredibly suspect).
Last edit: 06 May 2019 21:19 by Toenail21.
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06 May 2019 21:21 - 06 May 2019 21:23 #296662 by Sevej
As I only started playing in 2008, and very rarely bought a game on its release year, I made this top 3/year table using BGG.



Of course this isn't representative at all. For example Ticket to Ride was 2004, but not on top 3.

I'm still not sure my golden age of board game though, although I sort of agree with Barnes.

EDIT: Super agree with Frohike also.
Last edit: 06 May 2019 21:23 by Sevej.
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06 May 2019 21:23 #296663 by Toenail21

Sevej wrote: As I only started playing in 2008, and very rarely bought a game on its release year, I made this top 3/year table using BGG.



Of course this isn't representative at all. For example Ticket to Ride was 2004, but not on top 3.

I'm still not sure my golden age of board game though, although I sort of agree with Barnes.


Interesting! Is this your personal list or based on BGG data?

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06 May 2019 21:27 #296664 by Sevej

Toenail21 wrote: Interesting! Is this your personal list or based on BGG data?


Based on BGG data.
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06 May 2019 21:30 #296665 by Frohike
And a great fucking list (... biased, lol)

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06 May 2019 21:32 #296666 by Toenail21

Sevej wrote:

Toenail21 wrote: Interesting! Is this your personal list or based on BGG data?


Based on BGG data.



That's an awesome list mate, super cool!

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06 May 2019 21:58 - 06 May 2019 22:01 #296670 by n815e
When I started getting seriously into games, the gaming world was already in the midst of a “golden age” with the likes of TSR, Avalon Hill, Gamemaster Series from MB, Steve Jackson, Yaquinto, etc. Hobby gaming supported a vibrant magazine industry and local communities focused on the lgs.
Then a new “golden age” arose with MTG becoming a flash success, SFB and ASL hit their peaks, interesting designs were finding their way from Europe.
This was followed by another “golden age” with GW really hitting its stride and Warhammer was in every club and shop.
After this, euros started gaining great traction in the next “golden age” where designers gained prominence and online communities began to take strong shape, “hybrid” designs offered something for everyone.
Then came the “golden age” of kickstarter publishing.

There have been so many phases and periods during my life where different types of games trended high and different communities grew and there have always been people discovering gaming as a hobby.
My dad was a gamer before I was (my first “serious” game being a copy of AH’s D-Day that was his as a teenager). He gave me Axis and Allies when it first came out, my mother gave me D&D red box for Christmas.
My nephews love to visit to play games, who knows what adventures they will see in their lives.

There is no single golden age, and I don’t believe that any decade has had a claim on producing better games than the others. Like anything subject to the experience of individuals, your time is the best time and it was so for the people before you. It will be for those that follow.
Last edit: 06 May 2019 22:01 by n815e.
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06 May 2019 22:02 #296672 by Frohike
D&D Red Box for Christmas. God damn... That's an order of magnitude better than the Red Ryder BB gun. Bravo, Mom!
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06 May 2019 22:10 #296673 by n815e
Back in my day we had to rub crayons on our dice to color in the numbers, uphill, both ways.
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06 May 2019 23:00 #296686 by DarthJoJo
2007 to 2009

Pandemic, Dominion, Jaipur, Finca, Space Alert, Race for the Galaxy, Galaxy Trucker, Ghost Stories, Chaos in the Old World

That's almost half of my all time favorites represented, and I didn't get into the hobby until 2012 or so. If you want to expand golden age beyond 'my favorites' (which you probably should do), it's hard to beat Pandemic and Dominion for mechanical influence and trendsetting.
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06 May 2019 23:03 #296688 by Shellhead
There is no one correct answer, but I think that we can all agree that the flood of Kickstarter games has dragged down the average quality of boardgames.

I first started playing AmeriTrash-style games in the '70s, and there were some real classics back then that we played a lot due to the lack of alternatives. So that was a golden age of sorts. The '80s was a time when I still had quite a bit of free time but more disposable income to buy boardgames. The '90s wasn't a golden age for boardgames unless you include CCGs as boardgames.

My golden age was probably around 2005-2012. That period started with some great FFG versions of classic boardgames like Fury of Dracula, Arkham Horror, and Cosmic Encounter, and ended with Gale Force Nine first releases, and pre-dated Kickstarter as a major force in the hobby.
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