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Do publishers want abstract strategy games anymore?

11 replies [Last post]
Joined: 04/08/2011

It seems for the most part that almost all of the games that have come out recently are 'family game night' type movies. Chess, Go, and checkers still remain the most popular abstract board games, and I haven't seen any others on the shelves recently.

Which sucks, since I'm in the process of designing two abstract games. So I must ask: are publishers looking for abstract strategy board games anymore? Please and thank you...

Joined: 12/01/2010
Depends on how you define

Depends on how you define strategy... and abstract I suppose

I'd say that Blockus is fairly popular. Though is more like Go that the other two as of territory acquisition, though it doesn't have any piece taking.

Hive has the territory acquisition and sort of has the piece taking element, though its less abstract (though as abstract as chess). It's also pretty popular.

ReneWiersma's picture
Joined: 08/08/2008
There's not a huge market for

There's not a huge market for abstract games, sad to say. You might want to consider adding a thin veneer of theme to your games to make them more marketable.

An abstract game called "TWONX" where you push around colored chips on a blank board doesn't sell well, but a game called "CLANS" where you push around colored huts on a stylized map does have marketing potential, even though the game mechanics are exactly the same.

Joined: 04/18/2009
There is allways the

There is allways the publisher nestor games. He publish mostly abstract games ahnd he regurlarly have design competiosions.

rcp246's picture
Joined: 04/11/2011
I'm Not Sure... But gambling on the Maybe!

I have developed a board game prototype, and hope to get a publisher interested. The sad thing for now is that no one wants to invest. I am also currently looking for testers in the Michigan area. I hope to find a publisher sometime before the Rapture, Armageddon or the Catholic Church becomes irritated with my "game concept"


red hare
red hare's picture
Joined: 11/09/2009
abstract is accessible

Though I am not really a fan of abstract games, I own a number of them because I found that people who were not really into games were willing (and then hooked) on abstract games, like Squares... and Lost Cities. Usually abstract games have a simple set up and rules but with endless playability. And one cool thing is that they easily cross language and cultural barriers.

So in my opinion there is still a market... but like Yamahaku said, it depends on how you define abstract. Many incredibly popular games have some form of theme but really are just abstract games with art work slapped on (Lost Cities). if you're concerned about your design not getting noticed because it's abstract, a little art design and a story in the rules can go a long ways but not really change your game...

Markus Hagenauer
Joined: 12/04/2009
Among the larger publishers ...

Among the larger publishers, there are Gigamic, Huch & Friends and Winning Moves.
There are some smaller ones too. Murmel, Intellego, Steffen Spiele, Clemens Gerhards and the mentioned above nestorgames come to my mind.

To get an abstract published by nestorgames, submit it to his continuous abstract game design contest.

I succeded there with Topology, and now have entered a second game (42: Hyperspace Expressway).

Joined: 11/13/2008
Mindware -

Mindware -
Seems to like modern abstract games

OdysseyDyse's picture
Joined: 02/17/2011
Abstract game

I have an abstract game also. Would you want to swap test plays? You can easily print and play mine.

thomasbarefootcoders's picture
Joined: 07/12/2013
With the dawn of the tablet,

With the dawn of the tablet, perhaps finding digital publishers will slowly become more important than the more traditional publishers.

Joined: 04/30/2013
correct me if i am wrong,

correct me if i am wrong, these are some assumptions and thoughts i have on the matter, not fact.

from what i can observe:

from a manufacturing perspective, the abstract-ness of an abstract game, easily replacable and easily copied elements, might spoil the profitability since other companies can make a cheap version and deter the original product due to the price tag

from a marketing perspective, it may hard to market something without a face. as the term "abstract" implies, it is supposed to be as themeless as possible.

from a game designer perspective, it may be difficult to spur on with a project that deals almost completely with mechanic. it certainly is great practice though.

i am not sure if these are some of the reasons to consider for the lower ratio of abstract games compared to other games, but it is certainly an interesting trend i have not considered and should try to observe more

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
It could depend how cool are

It could depend how cool are your components. It reminds me of IceDice

The thing with this game is that the components are so cool and unique that people design tons of games with them. So one of the key with abstract games could be to design a game system that allows the creation of new games with it.

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