Recently, the Dice Tower podcast has been discussing the notion that there are too many games to possibly play, review, or even process the flood of games coming at consumers and reviewers from all sides.
There’s an uncertainty in the air: can the industry keep this up? Is there a bust coming after the boom?
All bets are off.
Or are they?
One of the more coherent listener comments in response to the Dice Tower posing the question referenced the flood of movies, books, and other media that come out without someone so much as batting an eye at it.
I go every week to a bookstore chain to meet up with some friends, and on the lower floor, a good sixth of the space is devoted to magazines about all sorts of things from the niche to the naughty to those crockpot recipes you didn’t know you’ve always wanted to try!
I have occasionally commented on the strangeness of some of the periodicals, but have never once questioned why so many magazines are there when I could never begin to read them all on a monthly basis.
So, can the industry sustain a flood of games? Quite probably.
Average Rocks and Diamonds
Which is not to say that there will be no ebb to the flood of games; in other industries, TV shows get cancelled. Newspapers struggle to stay open, and some films outright flop, occasionally taking the careers of those associated right with them.
On the other hand, sometimes, a diamond in the rough emerges and gets polished to a shine. But, the question goes, what if consumers don’t notice the brilliant games in all the chaos of constant releases?
Word of Mouth and Buzz
I honestly don’t think this will happen, in the long run. Games that are over-hyped will lose their following, and games that are truly good will find one. People are on the lookout to discover the next great thing–some of them even make a profession out of it.
As a person in board game media, I would jump at the opportunity to be the first to break the news about a much-anticipated game. So, it’s entirely plausible that some person somewhere in board game media will pick up on a good game, and word will spread to others.
Too Many Games
Even if you, dear reader, do not happen to see the news about some exceptional title, I still think everything will be just fine for you as a consumer of board games.
On the whole, I could pick any game off my shelf and compare it to a game from my childhood and have the newer game win out in terms of production value, quality of the design, and overall fun.
There are too many games in a sense, and it does not seem to hurt me as a hobbyist. I can see many similar titles, and find one that scratches almost exactly the itch I’m feeling, from the serious (This War of Mine) to the surreal (Dixit).
I wonder if we are truly seeing a new medium coming into its own, with a myriad of choices from some piece of gaming fluff akin to a summer blockbuster to a “serious” game, more in the vein of an Oscar contender.
I for one am excited to see what’s next.