Friday, December 4, 2015

Is there such a thing as too many tabletop games?

We had 40k, Fantasy, and Battletech...

Are there too many games on the market?

That's a question I see pop up every now and then, and it's one that I've been pondering lately.  I'm remembering back to when I first got into the hobby, I hesitate to say: "back in my day", but... Back in my day, it seemed your options were 40k, Fantasy, and if you were a "fringe gamer", you had Battletech.  I'm sure there may have been more out there, but if you walked into a game/comic book store where I lived, those were the only thing on the shelves.  (Along with cheap, random figure for RPGs)

In today's market, I can name off the following tabletop miniatures games off the top of my head:  (in no certain order)

Warhammer 40k
Age of Sigmar
Star Trek Attack Wing
D&D Attack Wing
Star Wars Armada
Wings of Glory (WWI & WWII)
Sails of Glory
Halo Fleet Battles
Dystopian Wars
Firestorm Armada
Firestorm Planetfall
Dystopian Legions
Robotech RPG Tactics
Bolt Action
Flames of War
FoW: Vietnam
Team Yankee
FoW: Great War
Hail Caesar
Beyond the Gates of Antares
Star Trek Fleet Command
GW Specialist Games (coming back)
Arena Rex
Warzone: resurrection

... Not to mention a host of various Osprey rules, Historicals  rule sets, and I'm sure I'm still missing several popular or semi-popular games on the above list.  Also, that is just in Tabletop miniatures, I'm not even counting a lot of the "Hybrid" Miniatures/Board Games like Kingdom Death, AVP, Star Wars Imperial Assault, Descent, Krosmaster... And the list goes on and on!

I'm some ways, I'm kind of reminded of the the CCG craze from the 90's, when it felt like a new CCG was popping up every month or two, when every popular IP had an associated CCG, and who's lifespan was only a couple of sets.

So, my question is:  do we have TOO MANY options?  Has the market started to hit that "over saturated" mark?  Would fewer options on the market mean a generally larger player base for the game systems that remain?  (I.e. 30 players spread over 10 systems, or 30 spread over 3 systems?). Personally,  I'm starting to wonder...

What do you guys/gals think?

1 comment:

  1. I am guilty of collecting (carefully phrased, as I hardly get to play most) several game systems. I, however, never doubt that too many games is a great thing.

    I grew up having access to only Warhammer, as well as only traditional, terrible board games like Monopoly. I didn't play CCGs as collecting cards didn't draw me in. But when I only had one game option you tend to get tunnel vision and bias toward that game. Rather than criticizing any bad elements of Warhammer, I simply thought it was amazing as it was the only game in town, and only criticized things like aesthetics.

    Once exposed to Warmachine when it first came out I realized that there was a possibility of better mechanics to gaming out there. Now with our current Renaissance in gaming you can pick and choose what games suits your tastes more, and your tastes become much more refined with these options. When 40k was the norm, and you had an itch for Gladiator combat, your only option was to convert your army to fit the aesthetics and still had to operate within the confines of the ruleset. Now you can play Arena Rex, or the multitudes of indie Gladiator games that you couldn't very well be exposed to before the internet made them more widely available.

    Not only that, competition breeds innovation. Board games remained either stagnant due to companies like Milton Bradley being the main companies create games in a self-contained environment, so either seem like they've been done before or gimmicky and kid-related, which is one of the reasons why being an avid board-gamer had a stigma much like comics did. If you recount the amount of groundbreaking innovation within the last century of board gaming you can see how it was almost constant for the majority of the time while within the last decade made leaps and bounds, especially for American games (I just discovered my love for Zombicide, by the way). I believe the wide amount of gaming options these days caters more toward customer's needs and wants rather than remain stagnant.