The Games Journal | A Magazine About Boardgames

The Diversification Process

Jeff Widderich

February, 2003

The Public - Stop buying the same 10 games over and over again!

The North American Public has the power to jump-start the board game industry to new heights. How? Simply by making an educated and diversified choice when buying board games. When you go to the large retailers, ask them over and over again "Why don't you carry this game?" Or "Why do you always sell the same 10 games?" If they don't start listening, stop buying their limited selection and support the specialty gaming shops that do promote diversification. The public has to start using their wallets to make sure that the larger retailers are made aware that the American consumer is aware of the lack of diversification in the board game marketplace. Diversification is counting on you, the consumer, to demand choices.

The Buyers - Choose between new games vs. the 10 classics?

Buyers take a risk when buying for your stores! Reward the companies that are trying to promote diversification. Consumers are so educated they are fully aware of new and exciting games well in advance; if your store doesn't carry them they will go elsewhere to buy them. The easy flow of information will change consumers. The stores that diversify early will be able to suit the needs of demanding shoppers better. Increase the size of your board game section in your stores. The social atmosphere for board games is perfect. People are staying at home and want to interact with their families and friends more. Board games, if diversified, would be the preferred choice of group entertainment. Diversification is counting on this group to be helpful and open minded to new games and ideas.

Game Designers - Start inventing some amazing games!

Game designers. Wake-Up! The board game world doesn't need another trivia game trying to capture the coattail of Trivial Pursuit, it doesn't need another Scrabble clone where some simple change has been made to the classic. If you are going to come up with a new trivia or spelling game then make sure it is something totally new. Guess what? New game concepts have to be unique, easy to play and easy to understand, otherwise these games will fizzle. If you are going to release a new game, don't hurt the diversification process by disappointing someone who had the courage to buy your game. Once that shrink-wrap comes off make sure you don't have just a pretty box. The board game industry needs some new games of substance. Bad games will drive the public back to the same 10 games on the shelves of the major retailers. Diversification is counting on this group to stop copying existing games and to come up with future classics.

Game Players - Stop playing with the same people!

Occasional board game players all the way up to game freaks are so important in this battle of diversification. They need to break out of their circle of players and pass the torch on to unsuspecting non-players. This is the grass roots way of spreading the word. If you happen to stumble on a really good game even if it doesn't fit your preferred game category try to play it with as many different people as possible. Try to ask a complete stranger to play a new board game, the answer is usually "Yes, but I only have 20 minutes". If the game is good they will be so wrapped up in the game they will forget about time and any previous commitments. Diversification is counting on millions of foot soldiers to get the word out there that board games are great.

The Media - Help Promote New Games!

New games need all the help in the world to get started. When writing a review try to get right into detail why a game is really good or why it is not. Tell people to buy the game if you believe it is of merit. If the game doesn't suit your taste, say so but make sure you do describe the players that would love this style of game! Diversification needs the media to jump start one of the most powerful and important art forms. Diversification is counting on the media to publicize as much information as they possibly can on this strange industry.

The Big Board Game Company - Release new good games!

Stop limiting your selection of board games, open up the floodgates to diversification. Take on more good inventions and really take them to market. Cut back on flooding stores with special edition this and special edition that. Instead release new good games in place of the special editions. Watch your profits double. Diversification is a good thing if it is applied to an entire market category. Offer the public some great new choices and they will respond with open wallets. At one point even the North American public is going to wake up and demand diversification or simply cut back on buying in the game board category altogether, hurting everyone involved. Beware your consumers are educating themselves and are being educated by everyone who cares about this industry. Diversifications will double your profits.

- Jeff Widderich

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