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Subject: Before its time rss

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Matthew Swope
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BOULDER
Colorado
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Anachronism arrived about 5 years too early.

First of all, the tabletop gaming market has exploded over the last 10-12 years, so the potential player base could've been much larger. On the other hand, it would've also faced stiffer competition for gamer dollars. But the designers probably could've learned from the competition and massaged the mechanics a bit.

Secondly, the distribution model was novel. I am guessing (as a former CCG player myself) that the gamers most willing to give Anachronism a look came from the CCG space. For them, the fixed-pack approach was curious, with no rarity, scarcity, or supply & demand secondary market. So it offered some of what CCG players liked, but abandoned some others. Nowadays, the gaming market is so flush with so many different type of gamers that I think Anachronism would've had wider appeal beyond CCG players.

Fantasy Flight is currently following a somewhat similar release model to Anachronism with their entire "Living Card Game" line to massive success. Fixed packs arranged in cycles of related cards. FF has been so successful with this that they've secured some huge licenses, like Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Star Wars, and now Marvel, among others.

FF launched Call of Cthulhu in 2008, just two years after Anachronism officially folded, and it ran for 7 years until being reimagined as the brilliant Arkham Horror LCG, which itself is 3 years on and getting better with each new cycle. LOTR LCG is in its 8th year and 8th full campaign cycle, plus 8 Saga campaigns that recreated Tolkien's books, and loads of stand-alone and nightmare adventures. I don't believe the subject matter or design of Anachronism, nor its lack of narrative elements and limited deck-building & upgrading aspects, would've even approached the appeal of the LCGs, but at least gamers would have been familiar and receptive to the format.

And then on the complete other end, Anachronism could've worked brilliantly as a smartphone or tablet app. But it rose and fell years before tablets even existed and before smartphones and the app market became nearly ubiquitous. Nowadays, users are very comfortable with paying for quality games, along with in-app purchases, regular expansions, and online pvp or turn-based play.

Alas, Anachronism was a game before its time, if you'll pardon the familiar observation.

Too soon.
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8-Bit Bastard
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Salinas
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“That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.”
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Nice write up. I actually got Anachronism to the table last night at our weekly game night. A 4 player blood bath, lol. Thank again for the Anachronism exposure.
 
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