Posted on Posted in For the last several years
People are Weird, Markets are Weirder…Especially with Board Games.
Posted on Posted in For the last several years, wildly successful Kickstarter campaigns have redefined the rules of success in the board game industry.
You no longer had to submit your game to publishers or raise a bunch of money to bankroll your own print run.
People like Jamey Stegmaier, creator of Scythe and the , were able to create multi-million dollar businesses with less investment than those who came before.
It’s not that easy, though, because now you have to answer to people – and people are weird.
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Taking mental shortcuts to make snap decisions can have some weird effects, but it’s a necessary part of life.
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This is the same effect that keeps you going to the same sorta-okay restaurant repeatedly.
It’s why Top 40 songs follow the same chord progressions and have for the last fifty-something years.
Turns out it affects board gamers, too, and it scales all the way up to a market level.
, you can observe what’s successful already and put your own spin on it.
People are weird, but they follow discernable patterns.
If sci-fi and fantasy games have been successful for the last 18 months on Kickstarter
you can make your own sci-fi or fantasy game.
You can copy what works from other games while still putting your own inimitable mark on your work.
Stravinsky took from Schubert who took from Beethoven who took from Mozart who took from Bach… Blockbuster movie: story structure with some explosions and some famous actors.
It doesn’t hurt if one of the characters is merchandisable (like BB-8 or Groot)
Top 40 pop song: delivered by someone either controversial (Lady Gaga) or likable (Taylor Swift).
The 2020s are shaping up to be even stranger than the 2010s, and nobody is sure what we’re getting into.
I even say as much in this on the subject.
But you have to at least try to guess because understanding consumer behavior is key to giving people what they want.
This is extra hard to do when the trends are in flux.
Only time will tell how people – and the markets made up of them – will react.
The point is: key your eyes open.
How to Live-Stream Board Games How to Build a Mailing List and Send Newsletters as a Board Game Dev 5 thoughts on “People are Weird, Markets are Weirder…Especially with Board Games ”.
Zeshio November 26, .
2018 at 8:10 pm Great article
I think before Kickstarter, the main issue for game companies was the lack of visibility for indie board games.
The general consumer didn’t have easy access or even know about the vast majority of indie board games.
Post-kickstarter craze, the visibility and awareness barrier was removed.
Specifically, the popular market became aware of board games outside of the ‘normal’ Monopoly, Sorry!, etc.
This released the floodgate of consumer $$$ and we witnessed the purchasing of board games on a level I don’t think we’ve ever seen before.
Once the early publishers hit the jackpot, (Zombicide, OGRE, etc etc), the online market became flush with publishers, and now we’re in an over-saturated market.
To stick out in the market now, new publishers have to differentiate themselves by finding that niche that hits a popular sweet spot, just as you mentioned.
I think your ability to bring awareness to the business aspect of board games is really important- It’s great to see people passionately making games, but if you want to be successful you have to use some business skills too.
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