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Subject: The great Eurogame crash of 2012 rss

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Jesse LeBreton
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Can you see it coming? The market is being flooded by Eurogames at a rate nobody can keep up with. New games doing pretty much exactly the same thing as last years favorites. Sooner or later board gamers are going to cry Uncle Uncle and stop buying new games. We already can see a huge problem developing here. Time and again it's been admitted, and embarrassing so, that many games people buy are not getting many repeat plays. Why are we always playing a new game every time we get together? Are we not enjoying the ones we previously bought? Are Eurogames so shallow that they don't stand up to repeated play? Or it is the cult of the new that tempts players into buying ever more games?

There may be some here that remember the great video game crash of 1983-84. The market got so saturated by so much of the same that people just said enough. I think the same phenomena is going to happen here with board games. Think about it, how many times are you going to buy the same game over again? Slapping a new theme on an artificial feeling economic snowball engine can only tempt us so many times. It won't be much longer before the gaming public hits saturation and finds it much harder to justify spending the money/finding the shelf space for new games.

Publishers also must be thinking along these lines. After all, how many different games can they keep in their portfolio and keep in print? They will themselves have to drop games. Plus, it will become much harder for someone to convince them to publish their new design. It would have to be very good and not just another also ran. In a way, I see this as a good thing. It will keep big name designers from pumping out several trash games a year and instead focus on quality instead.
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Bruce Murphy
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You forget that the majority of the new shiny games from this year will have completely vanished without trace by next year. Buy them while you can!

Further, most games aren't 'kept in print', a few thousand are made and then sold through. Unless they're very popular, they'll simply vanish in time.

The video game crash was a more intersting once, severl of the companies including folks like Atari vastly overextended themselves, producing more copies of some cartridges than numbers of machines owned (presumably feeling that people would rush out and buy the machine to play the game)

If you want to see an example of this in action in games, look at the last days of Avalon Hill. This is why few companies nowadays invest in ludicrously large print runs.

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Einmal ist keinmal
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I think you're on to something. Although I disagree with your comments about trash games being put out, I think we will experience a saturation soon.

I think that we continue to buy games because they are good. For fear that it will eventually be OOP and hard to come by? Much of the buying support probably has to do with the fact that many gamers are collectors.

I've been struggling with getting repeat plays with older games. The problem is not only me continuing to purchase new games, but also my gaming friends having their own collections (different than mine) and wanting to play their games as well. For someone who only plays once a week (if lucky), this makes it hard to play games repeatedly.

Another issue is storage space. Even if folks have enough $ to buy the games, they will eventually run out of room to store them, especially with the oversized boxes we often see.

If the amount of games coming out every year was halved, I wouldn't mind.
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Bruce Murphy
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Spare a thought for folks like Tom Vasel who are buried under the weight of incoming review copies of games.

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B C Z
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So, I looked up the video game crash of 83/84 on wikipedia, and I have a much different view.

The market already crashed, and Americans rebelled back about when Settlers of Caatan came out of Europe. The market shifted from American companies and the 'classic's (Scrabble, Monopoly, Sorry, etc, etc, etc) were replaced with the Eurogame phenomena.

The VG crash of 83/84 was caused by a number of factors, but a big factor was not crediting the designers. Almost every game box I have credits the designer, unlike much of the recent American rehash like Monopoly Deal or Scrabble Slam.

Other things to consider are the magazine market. We once had 10-20 total magazines in the united states. Now we have hundreds or thousands, with many niche magazines covering the same material. One person likes wargames, another likes resource manipulation games.

The cream will rise to the top, the bad publishers or designers won't have the capital to continue, that's how the market works.

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Nate Straight

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If anything, Euro games are about to experience another explosion on par with the late 90s.

Reiner Knizia on iPhone and Facebook? Agricola and Dominion [not to mention long-time stockage of Settlers] in Barnes & Noble? Catan in Wired and at Target?

I doubt the majority of [smart] publishers are targeting long-time or hard-core gamers anymore. Instead, they're probably seeing the explosion of opportunity in digital and social gaming, as well as in the casual "real world" board game market.

Probably the reason many of the new games feel recycled and samey to you is because they're not for you. The breadth of game publishing market outlets is widening.
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Gabe Alvaro
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Scale. Any such assessments must take into account scale. At the scale of print runs that are only in the thousands, there will probably always be enough geeks to buy them. The sky is not falling because it is not that high too begin with.
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Mac Mcleod
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Lebatron wrote:
Can you see it coming? The market is being flooded by Eurogames at a rate nobody can keep up with. New games doing pretty much exactly the same thing as last years favorites. Sooner or later board gamers are going to cry Uncle Uncle and stop buying new games. We already can see a huge problem developing here. Time and again it's been admitted, and embarrassing so, that many games people buy are not getting many repeat plays. Why are we always playing a new game every time we get together? Are we not enjoying the ones we previously bought? Are Eurogames so shallow that they don't stand up to repeated play? Or it is the cult of the new that tempts players into buying ever more games?

There may be some here that remember the great video game crash of 1983-84. The market got so saturated by so much of the same that people just said enough. I think the same phenomena is going to happen here with board games. Think about it, how many times are you going to buy the same game over again? Slapping a new theme on an artificial feeling economic snowball engine can only tempt us so many times. It won't be much longer before the gaming public hits saturation and finds it much harder to justify spending the money/finding the shelf space for new games.

Publishers also must be thinking along these lines. After all, how many different games can they keep in their portfolio and keep in print? They will themselves have to drop games. Plus, it will become much harder for someone to convince them to publish their new design. It would have to be very good and not just another also ran. In a way, I see this as a good thing. It will keep big name designers from pumping out several trash games a year and instead focus on quality instead.


I hit this spot last year. After peaking at about $1500 per year for games, it's dropped to about $400 over 2010 (so far).

Most games are
a) like a game I already play.
b) too complicated to bother with.
c) not good for more than one or two plays.
d) not as good as several (many?) other games in my collection I'd like to play.
e) too expensive ($70?? What happened to $50?)
f) yet another thinly themed economic engine building game.
g) yet another thinly themed diced based war game

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Gláucio Reis
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Lebatron wrote:
There may be some here that remember the great video game crash of 1983-84. The market got so saturated by so much of the same that people just said enough.

I think this assumption is incorrect. It had a lot to do with the popularization of personal computers - with much more memory and processing power, not to mention other applications. My brother and I owned almost every videogame system from that time, but we abandoned them when we got a Commodore 64.
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Jeffrey L.
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I think that gaming potentially has very big growth over the next decade. Euro type games are getting more "socially relevant" and I think people are getting burned out on digital/electronics. I think that as the "average" household is exposed to these newer forms of boardgames, there is a chance to pick up a significant amount of revenue from people bored with Toys R Us types of games.

I am a good example of this. I started playing euros about 3 years ago ( had a lot of traditional games) , and every year I continue to buy between 5 and 10 new games per year. It's not going to put us in the poor house, it's good fun with the kids, and there always seems to be a game with a new theme/twist. I am not an avid gamer or collector, just a regular guy that likes to play games.

There have to be more people like me, than people like the original poster that is sick of all the games.
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Ralph T
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There is a crash coming and it's for video games, again. You can already see it. Games cost millions to produce, people are already moving away to downloads and minigames, used games are selling at 80% of the original game price and with no money going to the maker.
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Bruce Murphy
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byronczimmer wrote:

The VG crash of 83/84 was caused by a number of factors, but a big factor was not crediting the designers. Almost every game box I have credits the designer, unlike much of the recent American rehash like Monopoly Deal or Scrabble Slam.


I'm curious why you think that. I've read perhaps half a dozen accounts and business histories of the involves companies at the time and this was never put forward as a factor. Some of the video game companies did credit designers, but to a large extent, this only happened once video games moved away from console thingies and mostly became about using full-scale computers.

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B C Z
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thepackrat wrote:
byronczimmer wrote:

The VG crash of 83/84 was caused by a number of factors, but a big factor was not crediting the designers. Almost every game box I have credits the designer, unlike much of the recent American rehash like Monopoly Deal or Scrabble Slam.


I'm curious why you think that. I've read perhaps half a dozen accounts and business histories of the involves companies at the time and this was never put forward as a factor. Some of the video game companies did credit designers, but to a large extent, this only happened once video games moved away from console thingies and mostly became about using full-scale computers.

B>


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_video_game_crash...

Under 'loss of publishing control'
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Bruce Murphy
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byronczimmer wrote:


Aha. Cart before the horse. The large toy companies had a strangehold on the market and considered the programmers of the time to be replaceable cogs. Part of that was about credit, but a greater part was money.

The better programmers went off to other companies to start producing 3rd party games but they weren't responsible for the larger part of the crash, it was the big names who were overproducing large numbers of speculacularly unsuccessful (and bad) games such as E.T. or (the awful arcade port of) Pacman from Atari, and similar from other platforms.

Crediting designers (which they didn't do simply because that wasn't how business was done in the toy world) wasn't a meaningful part of how that situation arose, since several larger game companies did.

I'd suggest reading a couple of the sensible early video game industry histories, and maybe "On the Edge" to get the different perspective on where Commodore started to take over should give you a broader perspective than that wikipedia article. Dry, but also interesting is "Racing the beam", a little window into 2600 programming.

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Jesse LeBreton
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maxo-texas wrote:
I hit this spot last year. After peaking at about $1500 per year for games, it's dropped to about $400 over 2010 (so far).

Most games are
a) like a game I already play.
b) too complicated to bother with.
c) not good for more than one or two plays.
d) not as good as several (many?) other games in my collection I'd like to play.
e) too expensive ($70?? What happened to $50?)
f) yet another thinly themed economic engine building game.
g) yet another thinly themed diced based war game



Yup pretty much point a, d and f sums up what I said. Price not so much. Too complicated, not really these Euros are mostly light fair. The problem is mostly a whole lot of similarity among these Euros. Once you got 5 games like Cuba do you really need a sixth?
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Remus Rhymus
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2012? Cool, just in time for the end of all existence. cool
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Shaun
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I'm not sure why there is any concern of whether or not the market for Eurogames might crash some time in the future. If a new game comes out and I want to play it, I'll buy it. If no one produces a single game next year, I'll just play the games I already have.

Also, new games might feel like they have stale mechanics, but to someone new to the hobby, they might love the game. People are introduced to gaming all the time. I just started playing Eurogames 10 months ago, and I know some of the games I like probably have derivative, overly used mechanics, but in this case, ignorance is bliss, and I can enjoy my game. Maybe publishers are banking on this. If more Eurogames make it into major retail chains, there is more room for new games that might appeal to the average family.

I'm still waiting to find a game that blends some of my favorite mechanics into one game with an outstanding theme, so I'm all for publishers pumping out new games to increase my chances of maybe finding a game that fits the bill.

If the production of new games dies, I'll find all the games that already exist that I haven't played yet and give them a try.

No worries here

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Maarten D. de Jong
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Lebatron wrote:
Once you got 5 games like Cuba do you really need a sixth?

Name the 5 games like Cuba, please?

You see, statements like this are meaningless without explaining how detailed one is prepared to look. I can draw the line at the basic premise of a game: n players competing in a well-defined fashion for a certain amount of time, with a winner being determined by a series of well-defined rules and conditions. Chose I Spy With My Little Eye or Guess The Number I'm Thinking Of and you're done with all games. Do we really need tens of thousands more?
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Adam Deverell
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Quote:
The market is being flooded by Eurogames at a rate nobody can keep up with


I doubt most of my occasional gamer friends, who own only Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne, would feel they are being flooded with euro games. Most have just begun to discover them.

You're speaking on behalf of serious enthusiasts who have been in the hobby for years, not casual gamers - who, as one post already mentioned, are the new market for publishers.

We may be tired of the same economic game being wallpapered over with dull themes, but the new gaming public probably don't feel this way.

Having said that, no genre of game lasts for ever. Things evolve. It will be interesting to see if euro games evolve over the next 5-10 years or if they will continue to try to break through to the mainstream with the established style of mechanics they now offer.
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Daniel Corban
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The difference between boardgames and the video game crash is that we not only have the resources to make informed purchases, but we have the inclination to do so. This is a hobby. The 2600 in the early 80s was still a toy.
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Andreas Krüger
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You mean, after 2012 it could take until 2014 until great games get produced again - and they might come from a different country?

Actually, I am not sure if the video game crash really happened. Looks more like an Atari crash, caused by bad business decisions.

It could certainly happen that a large publisher gets out of business - happened to Schmidt (which was pretty big in Germany) and to Avalon Hill.
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Matthew Jones
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remus wrote:
2012? Cool, just in time for the end of all existence. cool


Perhaps the Boardgame Crash will be the final straw that sends civilization as we know it spiraling out of control into chaos.
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Bruce Murphy
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Small world was a remake, after all. Dominion was new, train games have some novelty. Agricola was new. There are a few new directions taken, then other people refine them more.

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Pat H
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Meh.
The OP has been on BGG for about a year, right? I think this claim has been kicked around before and it's still difficult to come to the conclusion that the sky is falling.
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I just don't agree with any of the OPs points. No game crash is imminent.

This is a small niche market, which can only grow, and is growing.

Geek hobbyists love buying games, even if they don't play them all. This will not change. And many new geeks are finding the hobby, who are just starting their collections.

If there are too many games, only the best ones will get bought. The rest will go unsold. This is not the same as a global game industry crash.

I don't think all new games are mere retreads of familiar mechanics. Designers keep coming up with new ideas. Even similar mechanic games are often an improved version of the mechanic. And a familiar mechanic can enjoy a whole new round of success if its matched with a theme that strikes a new chord with people. Puerto Rico engendered Race for the Galaxy, a brand new hit with similar mechanics. Similar thing with Fairy Tale -> 7 Wonders.

I don't see designers and publishers pumping out trash games. Publishers carefully select the games they publish - they stand to loose a lot of money if a game fails.

More games is better for the quality of games available overall. If 1000 more games are published next year, that's 1000 more chances of a new Puerto Rico or Twilight Struggle, or of some new designer like Knizia getting a start.
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