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Quality Mass Market Games

I know right off many of you are thinking that this is an oxymoron. Still MM doesn’t have to mean crap.

Every now and then you see something with substance hit the shelves of your local big box store. Granted you’re not likely to find any of the BGG top 10 ever making it to mass market (Dominion?) in our lifetimes. I still feel there is room to get better games to the general public. In fact this is a long-term goal of mine and since I have started working with some publishers that are targeting the general population I feel I might be able to have some impact.

What are the challenges?

1. Complexity: First and foremost the rules must be simple and intuitive. I’ve had to take a different view of my games for these publishers. It’s an exercise in minimalism where you try to get the most out of very few rules. Much like you would with any abstract game.

2. Stigma: There are kids games and adult games and never should the two meet. Many adults in America think having a good time pretending to be a knight on a crusade is childish and wouldn’t play “That Game”. Finding themes that work well with adults can be tricky, especially if you want it to be for the whole family. Right now I’m focusing on the 6-12 crowd but hope to have the opportunity to do something that would appeal to older players too.

3. Preconception: For good or bad people have a conception of games falling neatly into simple categories; Money = Monopoly, Map= Risk, Words = Scrabble, etc.. This can be used to your advantage. Unlike the hobbyist gamers the general publics comfort zone is much narrower. You can give them something unique as long as it has a look or feel like something they are familiar with. Such as a pure economics game on a map, Joe says to bob “It’s just like risk except it’s all about money”. Bob "OK, lets play."

Niche or Mass Market

With a foot in both worlds right now I’ll just have to see where this journey takes me. If my MM games take off I’ll still do those “Gamer’s Games” and visa versa. In the end I hope that I can avoid getting pigeonholed as one kind of designer or the other. I can’t control what idea I’ll have next anymore than I can control the rain.

Comments

Right there with you...

Hopefully many of us will be of like mind and get the MM out of the stone age in our lifetime.

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blog | by Dr. Radut