Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Boardgame Avalanche

Boardgames today remind me of Black and White comics during the 80's, the collectabel card game deluge of the mid 90s or, more recently, all the OGL stuff that released after D&D 3.0 launched, with over 100 items released per month.

After the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle became a hit in B&W comics during the mid 80's, we saw Radioactive Adolescent Black Belt Hamsters, Aristocratic Time Traveling Extraterrestrial Thieves and so forth, until the racks filled with piles of two color 3 adjective and a noun titled comic books. None but the Turtles still get published. After Magic hit big, the next couple of years saw 40+ different CCGs released, of which only about 3, counting Magic are still around. Of the publishers that rode the OGL wave, I can count on my fingers the number still publishing products that hit the shelves with any regularity.

So, as Yogi Berra put it, "This is like deja vu all over again" when I received an email from a distributor with fourteen boardgame releases scheduled for December. Fourteen new boardgames isn't that large of a quantity, but these are all from one publisher, Rio Grande Games. Three new ones from Avalanche Press, three from Indie Board and Game Press, and 32 more from assorted publishers. That's 52 boardgames coming out in December and I've probably missed a few. We're selling more boardgames than we did 5 years ago and the market has certainly expanded but I"m seeing the same sort of glut that hit the market in each of the categories mentioned earlier and I fear a lot of companies will go out of business before it's over.