Although I’ve said before that I’m not too bothered about whether or not tabletop gaming becomes ‘mainstream’, it’s still nice to see mainstream publications giving my hobby some positive attention. The Grauniad (also known, less commonly, as The Guardian) has put out another fantastic article on board games. They’ve put out a lot of these over the years, actually. I last commented on their coverage back in 2014, but it’s continued quite well since then.
This latest article, titled The rise and rise of tabletop gaming is a long one that explores a lot of different avenues to show the growing size and scope of the community around tabletop gaming. The early focus of the article is on the Thirsty Meeples board game cafe and explores some of the recommendations and commentary from the cafe’s owners. Among the interesting observations are those of the sheer thematic range of games available, the great turnout that the cafe has experienced and the social nature of these games and the community around them.
The Grauniad goes on to interview Esdevium’s marketing manager to give a rundown of sales numbers to corroborate the impression of a growing industry. They then move on to speaking to the owner of the Orc’s Nest game store. There’s a lot of interesting info in this section, but what really interested me was the observation that as miniature sales declined, board game sale rose, causing the owner to change his business model accordingly.
There’s then some discussion with the V&A Museum of Childhood regarding the resurgence of board games. It’s only a decade or so late, but whatever, at least they’re trying. This is followed by a quick definition of the term ‘Eurogames’. This article is really starting to meander a bit…
Of course, around this point, we start to discuss Pandemic, because of course we do. Pandemic is everywhere and is rapidly being adapted and re-released in lots of different flavours. I like Pandemic, but I do worry a little about the ubiquity it is gathering. Is this the next Monopoly or Cluedo, destined to be re-released ad-nauseum in a series of branded cash grabs? Ultimately, I don’t think so, but it is a possibility.
Oh, then we’re on to the usual comparison with video games. Then we go onto Kickstarter and the success of the Dark Souls campaign. Then we talk about WIl Wheaton’s Tabletop. So far, so typical. I do like the shout out to Shut Up & Sit Down, as they are a fantastic outfit who need more attention. I’m a little surprised that neither Board Game Geek nor The Dice Tower are mentioned, but even massively inflated articles can’t cover everything.
The article goes on, sharing some thoughts from various people and ending with a nice comment from Wil Wheaton about narrative.
Overall, this is a good article and it’s a celebration of the hobby, but it does go a little long and seems a little superficial on knowledge of the industry and the games that are being discussed. I’m happy with the coverage it gives and hope to see some more (concise, focused) articles from The Grauniad in the future.
The article can be found by clicking here.