Category Archives: News

Boardgames in the News: The Peril of Box Inflation

The increase in the number of games available has increased the pressure on the market considerably in the last couple of years, and as a result, buyers are getting more canny.  Backers are more discriminating on KickStarter, and it is becoming harder to get market penetration with an original product.  As a result, in the last year, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of reprints, deluxe editions and revisions of popular games.

Power Grid Deluxe: Europe/North America
– Image by boardGOATS

The explanation for this is relatively simple.  When a game becomes scarce, the price rises.  This creates its own frenzy of people calling for a reprint.  In turn, this raises the profile of this now unavailable game, fanning the flames of desire in those that can’t get it, and increasing the price still further.  This creates huge demand, and when the game is eventually made available, a lot of people perceive this as their only chance to obtain it.  The combination of this Fear Of Missing Out (aka “FOMO“), and the fact that people have a better idea of what they are getting, means the product is more likely to be successful than something relying solely on “the cult of the new”, reducing the risk for all parties encouraging more cautious people to take the plunge.

Yokohama
– Image by boardGOATS

The downside is that some people will already have a copy, so the problem is how to encourage them to get involved too.  One way is to provide a special edition, often including new material, or deluxe, better and, perhaps, larger components.  These often also provide a better margin for the producers, making it a win for them, in all directions.  The downside is that the box size has to be increased, partly to hold all the additional/larger content, but also to signal to everyone that the new edition is better than its predecessor.

Snowdonia
– Image by boardGOATS

Games to get a deluxe reprint in the last year include, Luna, Snowdonia, Glen More, Cleopatra and the Society of Architects and Age of Steam, with Rococo, Lords of Vegas, K2, and CliniϽ coming in the next twelve months or so.  These editions are truly beautiful and delightful to play with, but some of the boxes are enormous, especially when compared with their original editions.  This makes them a problem to store, but more importantly, they are much less transportable and therefore less likely to be taken to games nights.

Glen More
– Image by boardGOATS

If the likelihood of games being played is dependent on them travelling, “box inflation” reduces the chance of them being played.  This is a great shame, because these deluxe editions are really lovely to play and have had a lot of time and money invested in them.

Luna
– Image by boardGOATS

Deutscher Spiele Preis 2020 – Time to Vote

Although the convention season has been severely disrupted this year, the awards are carrying on as usual.  The best known of these is probably the Spiel des Jahres: this year’s nominations were announced earlier this week.  The Deutscher Spiele Preis, or German Game Prize, is slightly less well known, but arguably better reflects the slightly more advanced, “Gamers Games”, with the results usually more in line with Kennerspiel des Jahres category rather than the family Spiel des Jahres award, or “Red Pöppel”.  Recent winners of the Deutscher Spiele Preis include Wingspan, Azul, Terraforming Mars, Mombasa, and The Voyages of Marco Polo.

Wingspan
– Image by boardGOATS

The Deutscher Spiele Preis (which is awarded at the Internationale Spieltage, in Essen), is selected by a general vote which is open to anyone, players, journalists and dealers alike.  The incoming votes are evaluated by an independent institute and only votes with details of the full name and address are valid (any duplicates are removed).   All votes are treated the same with games placed first receiving five points, those placed second receiving four, and so on.

Azul: Summer Pavilion
– Image by boardGOATS

Only new games from the previous year are included in the ranking, so this year that’s games released since May 2019.  Thus anything new at Essen last year or the Spielwarenmesse (Nürnberg) this year, is eligible.  This includes:  Alubari, Maracaibo, Point Salad, Tiny Towns, Isle of Cats, Wavelength, Jaws, In the Hall of the Mountain King, Azul: Summer Pavilion, Fast Sloths, or any of the games nominees or recommended for the Spiel/Kennerspiel des Jahres awards.

Deutscher Spiele Pries 2020
– Image from spiel-messe.com

Voting is open until 31st July; it’s not necessary to submit a full list, so why not take the opportunity to vote for your favourite release of the year?

Boardgames in the News: Games Conventions Move Online

This week brought the sad, but largely inevitable news that the 2020 Internationale Spieltage in Essen was “postponed” to 2021.  This has been a bad year for boardgame conventions.  In the last couple of days, Gen Con (Indianapolis at the end of July) has also fallen to Covid-19 and it is now surely only matter of time before Origins (Columbus, Ohio), which was postponed from June to October, follows.  However, as many game-groups are moving online, so now are the conventions.

Virtually Expo
– Image from ukgamesexpo.co.uk

UK Games Expo was one of the first to make the announcement of their “Virtually Expo” to be held in August.  We now also have “SPIEL.digital” “Origins Online“, “BGG.CONline” and “Gen Con Online“. It is still not entirely clear how these will run, though Virtually Expo, will be through a mixture of online platforms over a specific set of dates, and BGG.CONline starts tomorrow, so we will soon have a better idea.

SPIEL.digital 2020
– Image from facebook.com

Online conventions are clearly no real replacement for the face-to-face interactions at the large game fairs, but could allow the publishers to access a wider audience as well as being better for the environment.  As such, it will be interesting to see whether online conventions continue beyond 2020 and whether the seething mass of humanity that descends on the Messe Essen every October will be a thing of the past.

Essen 2019
– Image by boardGOATS

 

Spiel des Jahres Nominations 2020

This year, many things are different: the UK Games Expo was postponed and then cancelled and today it was announced that Essen has gone the same way.  The most prestigious awards in board gaming, the Spiel des Jahres are not unaffected either.  The Jury met online and likely some struggled to play the games; the award parties will probably also be affected.

Spiel des Jahres Committee 2020
– Image from SpieldesJahres on twitter.com

The nominations have been announced as usual though.  There are three categories, the Kinderspiel (children’s game) , the Kennerspiel (“expert’s” game) and the most desirable of all, the family award, the Spiel des Jahres.  The nominees for this year’s awards have been announced as:

  • Spiel des Jahres
    Spiel des Jahres 2019My City by Reiner Knizia
    Nova Luna by Uwe Rosenberg and Corné van Moorsel
    Pictures by Daniela and Christian Stöhr

In previous years the group has picked out the eventual winner well in advance even of the nominations, however, last year the games generally seemed to be light, almost party games.  These are not our usual faire, and in recent years, the Kennerpiel des Jahres has been a better fit.  The Kennerspiel nominees are not especially complex games, but are typically a step up from the light family games that are now being nominated for the “Red Poppel”.

– Image by from spiel-des-jahres.de

Last year the winner of the Kennerspiel award was Wingspan which also picked up our own “Golden GOAT” Award at our Un-Christmas Dinner.  With all that has been going on, however, we are unfamiliar with almost all the nominees this time round and likely won’t get the chance to play any of them until after the winners have been announced (20th July in Berlin for the Kennerpiel and Spiel des Jahres Awards; 15th June in Hamburg for the Kinderspiel des Jahres).

Golden GOAT - 2019
– Image by boardGOATS

 

Boardgames in the News: Essen Cancelled

This has been a bad year for boardgame conventions, but today Friedhelm Merz Verlag GmbH have finally made the long expected announcement that the 2020 edition of Internationale Spieltage in Essen has fallen to Covid-19.  The next SPIEL will now be 14th to 17th of October 2021.

Essen 2021
– Image from spiel-messe.com

 

Boardgames in the News: UK Games Expo Cancelled, Essen Still to be Confirmed

Over the last couple of months, the Coronavirus Pandemic has had a huge impact globally, and board gaming has not escaped.  For example, the largest distributor in the USA, Alliance Games, has stopped shipping games and the parent company, Geppi Family Enterprises (GFE) have been with-holding payments to vendors.  Just over a month ago, we reported that many conventions had been cancelled, and the UK Games Expo, usually held at the end of May/start of June was postponed until August.  Since then, Friedhelm Merz Verlag GmbH who run the Essen Spiel in October, have stated that they are monitoring the situation in Germany, where Oktoberfest was recently cancelled.

Essen 2020
– Image from ukgamesexpo.co.uk

Yesterday, sadly, the directors of UK Games Expo announced that they have now reluctantly taken the decision to cancel the event this year; the next UKGE is now scheduled for 4th-6th June 2021.  The 2020 UK Games Expo Award nominees and winners will still be announced in August, however, and the organisers are currently looking at the possibility of a virtual event.  The UK Games Expo does not carry pandemic insurance, so cancellation has serious consequences for their finances, however, in their statement they say have sufficient financial reserves to survive this, although those reserves will be completely depleted.  The overwhelming support on Facebook alone, gives some confidence that the event will survive despite this and will come back even stronger next year.

– From facebook.com