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How Tabletopia changed the industry

I wouldn't say I like it.
I use it only when I have to.
Every day I hear many of you complaining that virtual tabletop is no match for a real experience. Every day I nod my head and say that I couldn't agree more.

And yet.
And yet, I must say that Tabletopia is probably the single best thing that happened to the board games industry this year. Let me explain.

***

The way the industry worked for decades was pretty much the same. One publisher has a great game - he looks for a partner to license the game in another country. To do that, he either prepares and sends the prototype to an interested company or -much more common- releases the game and then ships a sample copy.

That's why between games released in Essen and the release of the same title in North America, Poland, France, Italy, and others, it often takes a good few months. Publishers were going to Essen, getting all the samples, coming back home, playing samples, evaluating them, negotiating a contract, translating, preparing files, and then bum, long months after Essen the local or US edition hits the market.

This year Tabletopia made a difference. It changed this old fashioned, decades in works dynamic into something new.

Before Essen even started, my team could play most of the releases we were interested in. We played them on Tabletopia. Original publishers prepared e-prototype, send the link, and taught us rules through discord.

It changed everything. No sending prototypes. No waiting for samples. So much smoother and faster - log in, play, negotiate. I cannot see myself and my team doing it the old way. Tabletopia made a significant difference making it easier to discuss co-production, to find new partners, and to present games to new licensors. It's one link that publisher can send to dozen of partners worldwide and have their game tested and considered for a local edition and once.

And that's just the beginning. The same is true for young designers looking for a publisher. We already started receiving prototypes in e-version—the same for designers from different countries cooperating and playtesting together. Bruno Cathala and Seji Kanai together? With Tabletopia it is so much easier. It's also easier for publishers who want to create initial buzz - release the game for free on Tabletopia for a 2 weeks window, have people play it and get some word about it!

***

When COVID is over, and we all rush to meet face to face, to play games in pubs and on conventions, when we finally get rid of all those e-version of everything, I am pretty sure numbers for Tabletopia will go down drastically.

And yet, I am pretty sure, Tabletopia will stay in that or another form. It will stay because the industry needs it. Because it helped so many of us to sign, discover, and secure new titles.

I wouldn't say I like it.
I use it only when I have to.
And yet, it happened. Tabletopia changed the industry.



What's your opinion? Will we use Tabletopia when COVID is over? Will Tabletopia be with us in 2023?




***
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