PC Game mags should start reviewing board games

It seems like over the past couple of years, there’s been a huge resurgance in the boardgame market, and companies like “Days of Wonder”, “Fantasy Flight Games” and others are bringing the computer games and boardgame markets together.

I know some of the pc mags sometimes feel they have a limited amount of material to work with, and as I see it, pc gaming has its roots in boardgames… so it seems like a pretty good marriage. I think most pc gamers would really enjoy articles on colorful boardgames and cardgames.

Out of all the insanity in that post, “colorful boardgames” cracks me up the most.

Insanity? Have you seen or played Ticket to Ride, Memoir '44, or Shadows Over Camelot? Do you even know about the “play online policy with purchase”, or was this just a chance to take a jab at me?

Not to actually contribute to this developing discussion, but the response:

Have you seen or played Ticket to Ride, Memoir '44, or Shadows Over Camelot?

…makes me laugh.

Memoir 44: Shadows of Camelot sounds like a horrible musical about V-1s raining down on children in the english countryside.

I think the main reason PC games mags don’t review boardgames is due to recently discovered evidence that boardgames are not PC games.

But… are they colorful boardgames? Because I hear those are all the rage now.

I could see a feature article once in awhile on boardgames that are related to PC games, but not as recurring coverage. Board games don’t sell. There’s a very small market for them, and chances are fans already have plenty of websites bookmarked to read about them.

Do you guys even read PC gaming magazines? Because if you did, you might notice Bruce Geryk’s and Brett Todd’s articles on this very topic in December’s Computer Games Magazine.

-Tom

Yup, Tom’s right. After you’re done reading those articles, there are board game reviews from PC/videogamers right here too.

http://www.gamerdad.com/archive.cfm?typeID=unplugged&listID=reviews

–Dave

Cool, I’m going to have to read that asap.

Sorry about the Memoir '44 and Shadows over Camelot typo. Glad you all had some fun with it.

By the way, as I remember… didn’t Computer Games Magazine start out in the very beginning as a strategy boardgame mag?

Yes, and then they let the insidious PC game reviews in, and after awhile there was no more boardgame coverage.

Much like what is happening now with console coverage. :(

I think you’d be surprised. The board game market is smaller than the PC and console game market, but “board games don’t sell” is an inaccurate statement (unless you mean that board game coverage doesn’t sell PC game mags, in which case I agree, that’s probably true). The board game industry has been doing very well for itself–and growing steadily–for the past ten years. In Europe and Germany, the market has been flat for the past year or two, but board games over there are already a huge industry that is closer in size to the PC or console game markets (at least in Germany).

Moreover, board gaming (both here and abroad) is arguably a healthier industry; publishers are making money rather than losing it, for the most part. Board games have some advantages on that front: lower development costs, and a (potentially) much longer shelf life. Even just considering “gamers” games (rather than family games like Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit and the like), the hits can hold their own with the big PC an console hits. I think Settlers of Catan has sold somewhere in the nighborhood of 10-11 million copies, for instance, and there are a number of more recent hits that have sales in the millions, or close to that. Considering that most games are developed by one (or at most, a few) people on a very small budget, even a board game that sells 100,000 probably makes more profit than a console game that sells five times that.

I think that’s probably the important distinction, too: even board games that aren’t huge hits still make money. That’s a problem that’s going to catch up to the video game industry one of these days.

Times are a-changin’. Unless something happens to stifle the console industry in the next five years, I think PC gaming will continue its current slow slide into MMOGdom, RTS/FPS and not a whole lot else. Even the big FPS guys are now targeting consoles first.

I’d personally rather have a gaming magazine that covers ALL the games I want to play with the depth of writing and detail oriented approach of CGM than have them be pigeonholed into an increasingly smaller part of the industry.

–Dave

That’s definitely not true. For example, Ticket to Ride and Ticket to Ride Europe have already sold over 400,000 copies. That’s for a full-sized $40 boardgame. I’d say the boardgaming market is larger and healthier (more sales, better games, games released more frequently, larger selection of good games) than the turn-based PC strategy market.

That’s not to say that boardgames should be covered in PC gaming magazines (although maybe they should) – just that I don’t agree with your statement about the market.

And it’s really funny how all these comments about what magazines should have (“PC magazines should have retro gaming articles!” “PC magazines should write about boardgames!”) just show that those people aren’t actually reading the magazines themselves.

EDIT: I got up to answer the phone and Ben basically posted everything I meant to say. But there you have it.

I tried reading CGM once. Atleast I think it was CGM, all those American mags seem to be called Computer Games XXX or something. Anyway, it might just be me but I couldn’t stand the sheer number of ads. I mean, I wondered what the hell I was paying for (besides international postage and stuff) when it seemed to me like the mag was just one big PR package with articles interspersed inside.

I’d like to read US PC gaming mags, if only because of all the writers who hang out in here, but the signal to noise ratio is atrocious and I just can’t justify the cost.

Dude, you definitely weren’t reading Computer Games Magazine if you got a lot of ads in there.

http://www.cgonline.com

–Dave

Well. I know Tom had written a piece in it, which was why I bought it. It was maybe two-three months back. I’d dig it out but I’m in the process of moving right now and all my stuff that wasn’t thrown away is packed inside a box somewhere.

Get a subscription to Games Magazine. They have a very good board game review section, including a massive one at the end of the year.

They’re also starting to review more video games, but sometimes their opinions seem a little uninformed.

-AM Urbanek

Well Tom, until they start covering badminton, Peek-A-Boo and “I Drink and Sleep Around Because I Love You So Much, Can’t You See?” you can forget about my subscription!