One of the runaway hits from last GenCon, Gale Force 9’s Firefly boardgame, finally made it into distribution. Firefly, which sold hundreds of copies within tens of minutes to eager customers has done quite well since it hit store shelves and represents trend number one: a company gets started in another area of the gaming industry moves into boardgames.
Gale Force 9 got its start producing a wide assortment of products to use in sculpting and modifying miniatures. Until GF9 came onto the scene, miniatures games were whatever tools they could find in hardware stores or the tools available from either The Armory or Games Workshop . Unfortunately, Alliance Distribution, which inherited the Armory line when Chessex Distribution and The Armory merged, does little to promote the line and Games Workshop sets a premium price point on its products. Into the void between the two came Gale Force 9, offering a wide selection of basing materials and tools, with high quality display materials and decent promotion. As time went on, the company developed serious in-stock problems but that’s not germane to the discussion. What’s important is that a miniature accessory company has decided to enter the boardgame industry following several others that started off in other parts of the industry, then moved into boradgame development.
AEG got its start with role-playing but it is probably better known for the Legends of the Five Rings TCG. However, boardgames have accounted for most of the company’s recent major releases. Same thing with Fantasy Flight, which has almost abandoned RPGs. A few years have elapsed as well since Steve Jackson Games has released a print RPG, closing instead to Munchkinize the world, while Privateer, Paizo and Cryptozoic have all released entries in the deckbuilding genre., significantly removed from the areas in which they got their start. While Paizo and Privateer still remain strong in their original fields, Cryptozoic has completely abandoned its TCG base to move into traditional and deckbuilding cardgames.