At this time of year, everyone is looking back at the previous year and making all sorts of judgements about how good a year it was for our hobby. And almost without fail, you’ll find a number of crotchety boardgame “luminaries” whining and complaining about what a crappy year it was and how there’s nothing new or innovative going on and how these new-fangled games these days are just mash-ups of mechanics (or even worse, they call ’em “mechanisms”) that were already stale and how there’s too many games out these days anyway so someone should do something about that and bring me some lintament for my rheumatism while yer friggin’ at it!
Just shut the freak up! Keep your ennui, burnout, disillusionment or whatever the heck else is going on between you and the boardgame hobby to yourself! I can understand that the scene may look a little stale after 10 or 15 years in the hobby, but please, have a little introspection going on to see that maybe, just maybe, your opinion of 2010 and its games has a heck of a lot more to do with you than it does with the them.
I mean, sure, there are a lot of boardgames coming out these days. But, contrary to common crotchety opinion, this does not necessarily spell certain doom for the boardgaming industry. In fact, from all that I’ve read, this “glut” of games is a reflection of the general growth of boardgaming both in awareness and revenue.
And I don’t doubt that there are a lot more crappy games being released these days, but that’s just because there are more total games being released, some portion of which have and will always be crappy. And the other trend is that the barrier to getting a game published has definitely dropped to some degree (what with methods of independent financing and/or publishing and the increase in small-press game publishers), so that segment of the market may be a little less polished than those that come through more traditional channels. But, just as always, the best games will rise to the top and the publishers that make them will have success.
So what about the whole “nothing original” mumbo jumbo? It’s a load of bull, too! First of all, is there really anything truly original and innovative in the world anymore? But think about it this way: Star Wars pretty much nailed that whole sci-fi/space opera thing, so there’s no real need to make another sci-fi movie, right? Of course not; do’t be stupid! What’s important is how well a new movie, or new game, deals with developing familiar ideas.
And what’s so freaking bad about games that mash together “old” mechanics? The mere fact that a game has mechanics you’ve seen before does not mean that it isn’t good! Sometimes, heck, a lot of times, the new game actually does it better than the original game did! Or you might find, if you give it a chance, that the way those old mechanics are put together actually results in a rather new or interesting experience. At some point, I’m sure that there were people who complained about how chocolate was perfectly good on its own and didn’t need to be mashed up with peanut butter, and they were stupid too!
I’ve rambled on too much already (it’s time to tell myself to shut the heck up!), but let me finish with an impassioned plea. It’s totally okay to have opinions either way about games. If you are tired of games that all seem the same and you don’t want to bother with them, you are perfectly justified to feel that way and to avoid them. But please, be self-aware enough to realize that your opinion may not actually be a reflection of the games themselves, and therefore please restrain yourself from spraying negativity all over those of us who still have some excitement about this hobby!
Whew! Glad that’s out of my system…