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soothsayer
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PostSubject: Board games are dead   Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:09 am

I would like to proclaim that the realm of board games is dead. Yes, this may be a bold statement, especially since it is being declared here, in a forum dedicated to board games, but it is true; and, quite honestly, I blame video games.

I remember growing up, playing the likes of Parcheesi, Candyland, and Chutes and Ladders, but I also remember when my dad bought an Atari 2600. PONG could only take one so far, but BREAKAWAY? THAT was the game to play; of course, there was always time for the likes of Hungry Hungry Hippo and Life.

A few years later, a few years older. My gaming experience matured a bit, as I took to playing Chess, Othello, All the King’s Men, and Risk. Pitfall became the rage, but how could it compete against the board games that involved thought and strategy and planning?

A couple years later, my dad bought a Tandy 1000 home computer. Sweet! I mastered Strike Eagle. On the Atari, I discovered my first cheat code: smack the unit in a particular spot, and your character from Pitfall could fall down the levels. But, again, how does one compare against Trivial Pursuit? The agony of Monopoly? Scrabble? Video games just did not have what it took to out-wit the board game.

That is, until Space Quest. Here was a video game where thinking was involved, albeit a warped sense of the word. How many times was this game exchanged among friends in order to solve a puzzle? How could one ever forget “put gem in mouth” or the devilish “say the word”? On a side note, I believe Space Quest lost a lot of its appeal when they switched to a point-and-click format.

Anyway, computers were becoming more powerful. 4MB hard drive capability was here! How the hell could we utilize all that space! Board games were still around, as video games didn’t have as great an impact as one might think; although they were growing in potential, they were still pretty much straight forward, following a singular path from beginning to end, with the noted exception of Star Control (man, now THAT was a game). There was, for the most part, no replay value. But board games? A game of Talisman was ever changing!

And then game the Sega Genesis, followed rapidly by Dreamcast. Although the games on these early video consuls were well behind in the computer department, they were cheap and pretty. Most of the early consul games were adaptations of arcade games, allowing you the play the games without having to deposit 50 cents at a time. Only two board games stick out of my mind from this time frame: Hunt for Red October and Dragonlance. Here, then would mark the beginning of the end.

Consuls grew in scope, computers grew in power. Video games grew right along with them; Mechwarrior, DOOM, Mario. Video games now allowed you to modify the playing field, to change your appearance, allowed customization. Board games became nothing but a cardboard square with plastic pieces… and, I believe, no significant new board game had been developed for many years, while the Age of Video was dawning. Video games had a story, a plot, character development! Board games had… nothing.

Dare I even mention the internet? You could now play games with friends from anywhere! There were contests and competitions! And, perhaps the greatest nail in the board game coffin, there were video games BASED ON BOARD GAMES. Animated dice, animated sequences… no longer did one have to worry about the bank cheating you in Monopoly, your opponents in RISK could be adjusted for greater or lesser intelligence allowing for better play. And, the video games were looking better and better each year, as the gaming systems continued to grow. Board games, it seemed have died.

But now? There seems to be an odd tipping of the scales. Video games have become stagnate: plots and stories have been replaced by graphics (except for the Metal Gear Solid series); an original game is quickly copied and cloned numerous times until the point where the market is flooded by 20 titles of the same game; the thinking process has been removed, so that people of all ages can play the same game without difficulty. Board games, however, now include electronics (how odd is that?) My children and I have more fun playing first generation consul games than the newer stuff. Why? Development.

I can’t get my children to play a board game for anything; Scrabble’s too hard, RISK is too boring (they don’t like the set-up time, but like playing it on the Playstation), Monopoly takes too long (but like playing it on the computer), Chess is too difficult (but Final Fantasy tactics is easy). And on and on and on. Why play a board game when you can drown out in front of something graphically mesmerizing?

How can the board game compete? I don’t think it can; people want more interact, more variety in their gaming experience. I can’t speak for everyone, but I want to be able to plot, to think, to out-wit my opponent. Board games don’t allow for that anymore, and for those that do, the video game version is simply a lot more slick (I’m talking primarily about RISK here).

But all is not lost. Video games may be becoming stagnate, but that doesn’t mean the table has to go to waste. Heroscape is perhaps one of the best gaming experiences to have come out in a long time, allowing you to create your own board, build your own armies; the price needs to come down, and, over the past couple years, it seems the availability has dwindled, but none-the-less, this is a must have game. Collectible Card games like Magic is all about resource management, plotting, and out-thinking your opponent. There is also a continued rise in the tabletop miniatures gaming industry, such as Warhammer and Warmachine, where you still move pieces about, but the board has been eliminated.

These won’t necessarily over-throw video games, but they may compete. Video game adaptations, such as the PS2’s Yugi-Oh Rose Duelist may play as a CCG, but you are limited to what is stored in the game (certainly, newer games allow for downloadable content), but where is the fun in playing against the computer? Warhammer has had little success in its video game cross-overs; the Warmachine game that is expected to come out will, if anything, generate interest in the actual; game. Video games, even though they have become multi-player, still lack that human element.

But, no matter how you look at it, board games are dead, due to an inability to adjust or adapt. People want more from a game, and that’s something the limited scope of a board just can’t provide.
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PostSubject: Re: Board games are dead   Thu Jul 14, 2011 7:11 pm

Wow. That was a well thought out argument. Clear, informative, educational. Using facts and reference material to explain and support your position on the subject matter. KUDOS to you!!!

I personally agree and disagree on the different angles of the basic point, but not enough to warrant calling you cuckoo or anything. A really well done article...yes, I'm calling this an actual article. It has all the elements. When I have more time to dig through and pick apart my own views of each area, perhaps I will post a "the other side of the coin" opinion, but for now that is an excellent addition to this forum, or any forum.

I realize I'm not directly responding TO this post (yet), but I had to at least acknowledge it for now and say NICE! Note: for those who know me, this may sound like my typical sarcasm, but it ain't...Sooth put some thought into this one and he deserves some credit! Sooth, don't let the praise go to your head. Razz

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PostSubject: Re: Board games are dead   Thu Jul 14, 2011 8:36 pm

Never... besides which, next time we're at work, you'll probably put me back down a peg or two anyway.
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PostSubject: Re: Board games are dead   Thu Jul 14, 2011 8:48 pm

I'm sure the only way I could do that would be by baking some fresh cinnamon rolls in our oven, then wafting the smell up to your 4 foot by 6 foot glass cubicle. That just might do the trick. Razz

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PostSubject: Re: Board games are dead   Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:35 pm

Board games are not dead! At least not to those who didn't grow up with every advancement in the electronic world. Growing up my parents bought my sister and me a Nintendo but we only had the two games that came with the system (Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt). We did not own a computer until I was in the seventh grade. I spent my childhood with board games and card games that used the standard 52 card deck. To this day if asked whether I want to play say Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion or Trivia Pursuit, I'm sorry but no matter how much I loved Oblivion I am going to choose Trivia Pursuit.
I am not an overly social person by any means but a good board game or a good game of gin with the right company beats out sitting in front of a TV with a controller any day. Video games have killed face-to-face interaction in our youth and also adults. I feel that the advancement in technology, although impressive, is the problem with society. Now don't get me wrong I am not one of those people that blame violent video games for people killing others. What I am saying is that in this day and age maybe it would be best to unplug from the screen and sit at the table and crack out those old dusty board games. Maybe then things might not be so dysfunctional in the world. And maybe people would remember how to interact with a person face-to-face.
Board games are not dead we are just to anti-social to play!
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PostSubject: Re: Board games are dead   Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:54 pm

Oddly enough, there are over 10 different Trivial Pursuit games in an electronic format, versus the one board game version... with Hasbro's Trivial Pursuit website having links to play it for free online. The electronic versions also outsell the physical board edition.

And, I will add this: Trivial Pursuit is considered to be the last great family game.

...

I am not saying that 'Family Game Night" is over, what I am arguing is is that the electronics have competed against, took over, and replaced and board game. When one looks at the pricing, it is easy to see why... over $70 for the Trivial Pursuit Master Edition? Or download the game to your consul for $20? A physical box of cards for $25, or download for $14?

Pretty much the only thing left would be playing cards, and I can't ever seeing that being replaced. How can you bluff your opponent?

My last comment would be replacement cost. As a mother, how many times have you wondered where the dice have gone, or sworn that a particular board game had more pieces? How many sets of Sorry cards have you had to replace because the last ones were too bent to shuffle anymore?

Believe me, I don't like the fact that board games have died, but walk through your local store... how many new board games have you seen? Is there anything, anything that has come out in the past 5 years that is new? The only new games that do come out are either electronic / disk based, or cards. Well, there are the miniature games, too, but that's a totally different topic.
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PostSubject: Re: Board games are dead   Tue Jul 26, 2011 4:28 pm

As a Mother I have yet to have to replace anything in my games. My family plays the games and they get put back in the box nice and neat. Most of the board games I own I have had for at least 10 yrs and most look almost brand new. I'm not saying that all families are as careful with their games as mine so I am sure some do have replacement costs.
As to Trivia Pursuit being in an electronic format I wouldn't know I only play the board game. I've never wanted to go to an electronic format. And as for cost all of my 5 versions each cost under $30.00 to buy.
As for new games I know there have been many but since I have my favourites I'm sorry I don't have the names to back my knowledge. Just this last holiday season I worked for a major department store and people were coming in for board games and most were sold out and we would have to request more from our corporate office.
I don't know maybe it is just the area I live in but here board games are not as dead as you would like people to believe.
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PostSubject: Re: Board games are dead   Tue Jul 26, 2011 4:36 pm

Wait a daggum minute here! One board game version of trivial pursuit? I seem to remember playing the Genus edition, the master edition, the lord of the rings edition, the star wars edition, the...um....hmmm, pretty sure there was a DVD edition that still had a board and pieces...wanna say there was an 80s edition I played a few years after the 80s were all done. Or was that the Star Wars edition of some other thing? I know I played star wars monopoly. Was there a Harry Potter trivial pursuit? Or just scene-it?

Not really taking sides, I agree the market for board games has gone kaput, but the games themselves live on...still looking for a friggin board version of stratego!!! Video games have had an impact. 300 channels have had an impact. Social networking has had an impact (Castle Age...biggest virtual board game ever?). BUT....the thing about no new board games...THAT can have a finger pointed at big business.

I direct your attention to exhibit A! No...it's over there. No, no, no! It's sitting there on the thingy! I wanna say it was around 1998, I was cutting electrical cable in a warehouse and listening to the radio, and it was talk radio (EEK!)...they were interviewing the person who invented the game MadGab. Person explained that the game itself was many years old, and it only took like FIVE YEARS to get it on store shelves! Why? Contracts and profit percents. Not because there wasn't an audience, but because corporations X,Y,and Z wouldn't publish unless they had every little thing their own way. Much like "normal" book publishers, the Milton Bradleys of the world have to make sure they get 95% of all profits, while making sure if there's a lawsuit due to offensive material THAT will will be directed elsewhere. And all that riggamaroll...

The MadGab designer eventually went with a publisher who would put the game on store shelves, ONLY IF the designer paid for the printing and storing of 10,000 copies of their own game! Person took out a loan AND a second mortgage, paid for all the games, and the publisher still took 60% of profits!!! If you peruse BIG board game publisher sites and look at their "Have a game idea" sections, they are chock full of "give us your game, and your cash, and we'll give you just enough back to keep you loyal if you have any more ideas." With THAT level of difficulty to even ease your way into the market, it's no wonder there's been no new games! And with the economic downturn, these companies have become even more penny-pinching and strict with their "initiation" ceremonies. Much like video games, if your idea doesn't fit their mold of "this made us bundles of money before," you WILL NOT get your game out there. Good gravy I despise them all!

Like you say, we keep checking the shelves for something new to play, and it's been years. Yep, right back to about the time they stuck the fork into creative thinking. You...we...are NOT alone in this. I frequent the Boardgamegeek forums, and I would be willing to estimate there are THOUSANDS who have resorted to cardboard and home color laser printers just to have something new to play with family and friends. Board games aren't dead...they've just gone underground cuz big brother is a DICK.

**Note: May not have every little figure of my MadGab rant 100% correct, but that's how I remember the interview. I do know for a fact it pissed me off...a lot.**

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PostSubject: Re: Board games are dead   Tue Jul 26, 2011 5:45 pm

You've agreed with me on so many points, I won't even cut & paste or quote anything.

(it is nice to see a debate on this site, though, instead of the usual agreement stuff)
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