A New Console Part 3: Tabletop 5.0

Updated: Feb 13, 2019

Welcome to the end, aka Part 3, of our series “A New Console”. In this brief blog series we’ve been looking at the Tabletop as a console. This sounds strange because the top of a table can’t be a console…can it? Unless you have the money to get an expensive game table your Tabletop console may very well be the top of your kitchen table. Perhaps it’s the top of a coffee table in your living room. Maybe you travel a lot so your go-to Tabletop console is the top of a café/bar table. It really is quite a diverse console isn’t it? While the Tabletop hasn’t traditionally been considered a console, our goal in creating this series was to show how it has grown to be on the same playing field as the traditional consoles we’ve seen over the last 25 years. In Part 1 we looked at “Why Tabletop” and checked out the pros and cons of this multifaceted console. In Part 2 we painted a picture of “Tabletop Success” and how board gaming is booming! Today we wrap things up by looking at the future! We take a look at where the Tabletop is headed. Just as we’ve done previously for this series it’ll be short and sweet! We hope you enjoy the quick read enough to share it with your friends!

The future. Unpredictable isn’t it? Has that ever stopped people from guessing though? Through the study of analytics, numbers, statistics, and so much more, people (much smarter than myself) make educated guesses at what the future holds. In every industry people must do this. In finances, stocks, and real estate this is a huge part of the puzzle for long-term success. In music, film, and the arts people must be constantly aware of cultural shifts in order to stay relevant. In board gaming it is no different. Designers and publishers everywhere are trying to figure out how to achieve stabilized long-term success in the Tabletop industry. In this current boom they seem to all be playing with KS campaigns, retail launches, convention participation, advertisement plans, and so much more to figure out what exactly is the best way to build a solid foundation in this golden age of gaming. It’s not an easy task by any means! I have seen designers and publishers take mountains of criticism from buyers who think they have it all figured out. It pains me for these designers and publishers because after all they are giving us the products we love, but in doing so they are getting crushed as of late. I believe buyers are definitely entitled to their opinions, but I think we sometimes need to think twice before sharing those opinions. We need to remember those on the other side are simply trying to navigate this industry effectively in order to provide great product while also protecting their own careers and families! Oops, almost got off topic there! My point here is that IF buyers are careful going forward we can have a major part in the future development of this industry. It is a unique situation that not many industries in today’s world share because board gaming is so intertwined with crowdfunding. As long as board gaming+crowdfunding exists, buyers will have a direct connection with designers and publishers. This means a direct path to share our desires with our mouths rather than just our wallets! Let’s open our eyes to see how awesome that is and stop taking advantage of it by being critical beyond the point of actually helping. Let’s maintain those relationships and maintain community in this expanding industry and maybe those opinions we all have will not be swept under the rug in the next ten years! Bottom line before we dive into the meat of this post: LET’S NOT MESS THIS UP!

Tabletop Tumor: A Good Growth

As we saw in our second post of the series the growth of tabletop has been rapid as of late. Anyone who knows much about economics will be hesitant to believe in something that grows so rapidly. If it seems too good to be true it usually is. But, I believe this is different. What looks to be just a crazy recent growth is actually the fruit of decades of Tabletop interest. I believe this Golden Age of Gaming is certainly a spike in growth, but I believe the foundation that was set beforehand is what makes it such a strong and solid growth. The explosion of interest in gaming of this kind has strangely enough probably been assisted by technology. What I mean is that for years many who loved the idea of board games wanted more. They wanted it to be brought to life in a way that only technology could achieve. However, it seems that the opposite is now taking place. People often deep down want and need an escape from technology and the Tabletop is where they find that along with true social interaction. So for those of you worried about Tabletop Topple: The Imminent Destruction of Tabletop Growth, stay calm and keep on keeping on! Just as with books the possibilities with board games are endless. Due to the simplicity of creation in comparison to traditional console games, tabletop games should continue to steadily grow in quality and quantity! If you want a MUCH deeper look at this awesome growth of Tabletop check out the following article!

Crowdcrux: 2018 Board Game Statistics

Tabletop Technology: Yay/Nay

The number one question I ask industry leaders when I get the chance is, “How do you feel about the collision of Tabletop games and technology.” I love hearing what folks think about the pros and cons of using technology in board games. What I have found is that the majority of industry leaders are all for it. Many people are afraid of the concept, but not wholly opposed. The concerns with technology are primarily two-fold. First, any game that utilizes technology at least somewhat negates the ability to separate from tech when playing on the Tabletop. Even if the technology is used minimally or is used for game immersion it still removed one of the most attractive attributes of a board game. Second, games that utilize technology will ultimately have a lifespan that is separate from component durability. What happens if tech support for the game comes to an end? What happens if the tech devices for the game go out of production? What if the tech used in the game becomes insanely outdated losing its cool factor? All of the sudden the addition of tech becomes a major con for many people due to these fears. But, I don’t think we can end the conversation there. Whether due to environmental concerns, the want for something fresh, or simply the possibilities provided by technology, the future of the Tabletop will inevitably have a strong partnership with technology. Our focus should probably not be on whether or not it’s a good thing, but instead on how we can ensure it is a good thing. After all one of the best games of 2018 in my opinion, Chronicles of Crime, requires heavy use on technology, but still preserves the board game feel. For a more in depth look at this topic check out the following links!

Make Use Of: 4 Ways Technology Enhances Board Games

Tech in Asia: Bringing Apps and Technology Into Board Games

Huffington Post: Meeple Rising: How Digital Technology Is Growing, Not Killing Board Games

Tested: Living with Technology: Technology’s Impact on Board Games

Want More?

As promised we will stop here to keep this a short read. Although we do like to keep our posts short we try to maximize the links we provide for those of you who want more. In addition to the ones already mentioned the following links specifically discuss the future of board games so if it is your heart’s desire dig deeper!

Analog Games: The Future Of Tabletop Games

Gamasutra: The State and Future of Board Games

The Thoughful Gamer: Board Game Criticism and the Future Of Board Games

Opinionated Gamers: Tabletop: The Impact, the Curse, and the Future of Board Games

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Final Note

If you missed the first two parts of this series they are linked below.

A New Console Part One: Why Tabletop?

A New Console Part Two: Tabletop Success

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