The Financial Times is running an article about German/euro-style board games such as Settlers of Catan and Carcassone that covers why the games are so popular in German, how they’ve expanded beyond its borders to the UK and America, and the sustainability of this niche market.
It’s a good read; I think there’s a real concern here that the market is being over-saturated with board games, as the Germans pump out more and more new games. There’s all the makings of a bubble there (and if we’re talking bubbles, then it’s already happened). But while the German market may be coming supersaturated, I think there’s still plenty of room to grow in the United States. Heck, I think they’ve only barely touched on what’s possible here — sure my gaming group has been playing these kinds of board games for years, but the larger population still things board game equals Monopoly or Sorry.
We can change that though. My wife, the non-gamer, loves Carcasssone and Ticket to Ride. My mother-in-law loved playing Ticket to Ride so much that we bought her copy of the game for Mother’s Day. We’ve introduced our friends to both games as well, and they enjoyed them. Maybe not enough to go out and buy their own copies … but enough that they’ll ask to play them when we have them over for dinner.
I don’t think that the American party game and “kid” board game inertia can be totally overcome, but there’s definitely room to grow if we’re willing show non-gamers that there’s more to board gaming than passing Go and collecting $200.