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Who Is Our Target Audience?

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Actionartist
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This thought has occurred to me lately. For what audience are we designing games?

I have heard that millennials are responsible for the resurgence of board games. Hurray, right? Board games move forward?

However, millennials are getting older. We (I’m a millennial too) need more and more complex games to keep us entertained, according to the stats. We grew up on simpler games that hooked our hearts, but now we need more stimulation, in the form of heavier games. Perfectly natural, of course.

But what happens when our target audience of millennials are too old to play board games? Will board games go extinct because we didn’t help the younger generation love them like we did?

Are we only designing board games for ourselves, or should we begin designing board games that actually compete for the average ten-year-old’s attention?

I might start a poll to see what you all thinks about this. Who do we make our games for? Do we make games for kids, millennials, or whom?

questccg
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Me personally...

I like designing "relatively" SIMPLE games that even children can play with help learning the game from a parent (for example). But that same game is FUN for adults playing too (enough depth)... So it keeps Mom & Dad on their toes too! However with a expansion or two, the game is geared for more seasoned gamers, that usually play "those type of games".

And I also design and PLAY my own games. If I like it, the game has a chance of me investing more time. If two or three prototypes down the line, the game is still interesting, well then it means that I've found a likely candidate that I would want to pursue with some starting artwork... Just to visualize what the game might look like.

I'm a Gen-Xer (over 40 years) and my interest in Board Game Design started back in 2009 (about 8 years ago). In my youth, I used to play board games in school (we used to eat our lunch super fast and make our way to the game room)... I also as a child had a bunch of board games like Life, Monopoly, Guess Who, Snakes & Ladders, and even Garfield! I also had some design ideas for a "mathematical"-theme Monopoly, my own Punch-Out Card Game (which was really cool!) and the idea for "Game Tiles" as some kind of board game (never got anywhere with these - the ideas still remain). I had several D&D books - but never actually played. I would read them but never found a Dungeon Master to bring the books to life!

I think that it's not a question of "Millennial" or "Gen-X" or age group, I think a lot of it has to do with "Kickstarter"! (IMHO) I think the early years saw some people with creative ideas get a chance to realize some of those ideas. It has changed (and changed some more) how games get made and sold. Lately I have been seeing more and more PUBLISHERS using Kickstarter and it feels like those productions are more and more difficult to compete with (making Kickstarting more of a challenge).

Can we compete with the "miniatures" offered by THOSE "publishers"??? IDK.

All I've noticed that KS-ing these days is becoming more of a challenge. Even with an awesome price point, sales are lower than before... Great games are earning under $30k... Some can't even make it to $10k and are very nice productions too...

Anyways maybe you should put up a POLL. See what everyone else thinks!

Update: In my teens and 20s used to love collecting cards from movies, television series, etc. As family we used to have session of Rummoli on Saturday nights which lasted for HOURS!!! So I love all things "card-board" especially playing cards.

Had a friend who was an artist and collected Magic: the Gathering. He loved the art and so he would collect the cards. Never got into playing Magic either. But I can honestly say I "respect" Richard Garfield's contribution to the Collectible Card Game scene! He is a visionary!

So definitely a big thumbs up when it comes to "card games". Thought I'd mention that since - that too I had excluded that from my initial comment to your post.

Actionartist
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questccg wrote:I'm a Gen-Xer

questccg wrote:
I'm a Gen-Xer (over 40 years) and my interest in Board Game Design started back in 2009 (about 8 years ago). In my youth, I used to play board games in school (we used to eat our lunch super fast and make our way to the game room)... I also as a child had a bunch of board games like Life, Monopoly, Guess Who, Snakes & Ladders, and even Garfield!

Your fascination with games started as a kid, then—when the games you loved were relatively newer (no offense intended). I’m sure all of us have basically the same experience, too.

That’s my quandary. What are the younger kids of today experiencing with board games? Walk into Walmart’s game aisle and you’ll see the selection: a couple of classics, a large selection of social, adult, or party games, and the basic children’s games. You might see a couple of new board games, if you’re lucky—but they usually really aimed for kids.

Monopoly captured our grandparents’ hearts. Risk captured our parents’ hearts. What’s next?

questccg
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I guess it depends on SCHOOLS too!

In high school, we used to have a "game room". I know we played every day that the room was open. Or we would play Mississippi or Table Soccer. I guess it depends on what schools offer teens?!

I mean maybe "Mom & Dad" are plugged into gaming and share games with their children much like "Father Geek" does or even "Tom Vasel" with his own kids. They're even in some of his video reviews and "Father Geek" includes his own kids in the process of figuring out if a game is FUN for younger children.

So as a parent, I would probably see if a school can raise funds for a "game room" so kids can play a bunch of cool games! Maybe some "game" committee where the adults figure out what games they think are most appropriate for their children.

Remember those kinds of libraries of game - seem to last FOREVER.

I don't think when we played, we never lost a single component to any of the games. Nobody got angry and flipped the table, either.

So maybe it's part of parent's duty to help schools FUND or FUNDRAISE their "Game Vaults" so that kids can play and enjoy all the NEW "classic" games available for them...

Just a thought!

Actionartist
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New Poll

I’ve started a new poll called “Who should be our target audience?”

I think that the burden of getting kids involved in games falls upon designers. Kids don’t become fans of mobile or video games because their parents introduced them to it—the games appeal directly to them. That said, if we design games that appeal to kids, parents and teachers will recognize that and introduce them to the kids. But then the kids will love the games because they know when a game is made for them.

When I was a kid I fell in love with a game by the cover. If the cover appealed directly to me, I wanted it and persuaded my parents how much fun it would be.

The biggest commercially successful game recently is Pandemic—but I’m sorry … it doesn’t have kid appeal. Kids like adventure, competition, and real life. Fighting diseases isn’t going to cut it for anyone under 15.

Who’s making the next Battleship? Risk? Life?

WinsmithGames
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Our audience...

We are designing games for everyone. Let me explain...

Your question isn't as simple or straightforward as you may expect. You include many generalizations.

Generalization #1) Millennials need more and more complex games to keep us entertained. I disagree with this statement. What got me into board games were the complex games, but the past 4-5 years, I find myself drawn to the streamlined, simpler games. Not simpler in mechanics (like roll/move), but elegant games that provide significant strategic depth yet remain simple to learn, play, and teach (like King Domino, Santorini, King of Tokyo, etc). The reason why these are so important is b/c us millennials are starting to have families, and realize that our significant others, kids, and ever-aging friends that quite aren't into the hobby games lose patience or interest in more complicated games.

So games are becoming simpler and easier. And this is critical b/c I've found that my wife, her family, my family, and even my retired parents, love board games more now than ever. Not because I'm pulling out the D&D, Twilight Struggle, or Blood Rage games, but b/c of the games like King Domino and Patchwork.

What I mean is that the hobby board game industry is constantly evolving. And like every industry, it's going to correct itself and grow in a way that is sustainable.

The reason why we are in a renaissance in the first place is b/c we were in "the dark ages" before. (Right?!?) Think about the games we played as kids. Life, Monopoly, Rummy, Go Fish, Scrabble, Sorry... These games had no strategic depth. We played them b/c we liked the social aspect of games, and sure some of them had strategy (like Risk and Axis and Allies), but it was a dark ages of board games.

I would argue that the games now do a MUCH better job for grabbing the average ten-year-old's attention than the games of our childhood. I've played so many of my current games with teens and pre-teens, and they go over so well (well better than the older, mass-market games).

Because we are in a renaissance of board games, we make board games for everyone, as opposed to the days of old where people designed board games for families/kids. We now make games for hardcore gamers, for children, for families, for siblings, for nostalgic gamers, for brainiacs, for time-wasters, etc.

It's late, so I'm ranting now, but you probably get the idea. The hobby gaming industry has/is undergoing a renaissance period, where the scope/breath/audience is growing and becoming wider. I believe we'll see conventions and the sales of board games continuing to grow larger and larger.

Actionartist
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I agree with you completely. However …

WinsmithGames wrote:
Your question isn't as simple or straightforward as you may expect. You include many generalizations.

Generalization #1) Millennials need more and more complex games to keep us entertained. I disagree with this statement.

I definitely agree with all the points you made in your comment. But I am talking about majorities here. If you search the top-ranked games on BGG, they are all at least over 2.5 for complexity of gameplay, compared to the multi-generational games you mentioned having complexity levels around 1.5 or so.

I share you sentiments—we DO need these simpler, yet strategically deep games to be able to engage with younger and older generations all together. The games you mentioned are perfect examples … but they aren’t being advertised. You have to go ferret them out, like searching for old-fashioned soda fountains or classic Macintosh computers.

The problem isn’t that kids don’t like games—they do. The problem is that kids aren’t offered the RIGHT games and parents don’t know where to look. King of Tokyo and Santorini are hard to find.

The games everyone does hear about are games like Catan, which kids like at first and then never play again because they are “too long” (which is code for boring). I speak from experience here ;)

Corsaire
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Anyone

I picked up a half price copy of Coup at a chain drugstore.

It's changing. My son started a game club at his middle school. But the "no bake" cooking club has four times as many people.

He and I are far along in designing a game that encapsulates some of the experience of Minecraft. We both enjoy playing Minecraft and board games.

Follow your passion and find the best game you can to fit your interests. Hope there is a market for your interests and keep in mind that it is expensive to get a lower than 14+ rating on a game.

questccg
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Corsaire wrote:...And keep in

Corsaire wrote:
...And keep in mind that it is expensive to get a lower than 14+ rating on a game.

I thought it was 13+, anything below you need to pay for testing (safety tests).

Corsaire
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True, though the regulations

True, though the regulations apply at the 13 and below level in th US; the expensive part would be the required testing at 12 and below. Europe has the thirteen and below rule, too, but may not include the payo....er... Um... independent reviewer expense.

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