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When would you say the Golden Age of board games was?
It seems like a longer perspective is needed here.
I'll take it upon myself to step in.
Cosmic Encounter 1977
Magic Realm 1979
Seriously: IMO in terms of mechanics and components and user base games have generally been on the upward arc since forever. They keep getting better and more popular in baby steps.
But KS spoiled it - No fault of its own - by opening the floodgates to publishing and FOMO marketing. Now we have too many games with too many badly planned stretch goals.
The increase in the number of games also narrowed the scope for innovation. Lots of reasons for this, including that designers had already used the best of "hybrid" concepts. But also it became a thing to launch games to a prescribed formula for success, rather than innovate.
So: about 2010?
But there's a lot of great perspective here. I think in particular, most millennials and iGen people (myself included) more or less ignore everything released before Catan, with the exception of Games Workshop stuff. I do wanna try Dune when it gets reprinted though.
Matt Thrower wrote: So: about 2010?
That's about when I was thinking. I thought 2005-2010 when I first saw the question.
I might suggest a few:
* Hobby and metahobby. At some point, did/does the hobby get so big that it is no longer one hobby but multiple or many? When the hobby is too big for any one person to know, does that mean something?
* Invention of new mechanisms. When did "innovation," defined (maybe!) as pure mechanism rather than remix, slow down? Was deckbuilding the last big one?
* Mergers and acquisitions: For example, FFG getting bought out, or, even before then, FFG going about 90% licensed products? More broadly, Asmodee replacing Hasborg as the perceived enemy?
* Professionalization. Sort of going along with the first one, it seems to me that the (1) shift to video and the (2) scramble for branding mark something significant. These were accelerated by KS but I think preceded it.
This for me is more about periodization than rating, though I certainly have my own preferences.
jpat wrote: * Invention of new mechanisms. When did "innovation," defined (maybe!) as pure mechanism rather than remix, slow down? Was deckbuilding the last big one?
I like your approach and list, but I would expand this point beyond gaming mechanisms to innovations and expansion in gaming culture. While paradigm shifts in mechanics like customizable card games and cooperative games are important to signposting an era in gaming, the release of Wil Wheaton’s TableTop or the use of Twitch to livestream board games are impactful, too. They bring more people into the hobby and change how we approach it.
It’s better, in grander strokes, to follow the comics aging system. The late 1970s may be the Golden Age, really- the formative years, and the wellspring from whence al this has come. Silver Age, 1980-2000. Bronze Age, 2000-2009. Copper Age, 2010-2015. Pyrite Age, 2016- current.
Id go around 2000 for euros, and around 2010-12 for thematic but im not 100% tied down.
The golden age of Fantasy Flight was definitely around 2010.