Downward trend, shady deals & big investments. How is the board game industry doing in 2023? -

Downward trend, shady deals & big investments. How is the board game industry doing in 2023?

The King of Average
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0:00 Intro
0:25 GameWorkCreate
1:35 Lots of big money investments
3:10 Recent mass market retail presence
5:04 Crowdfunding is only a small part of the picture
7:35 Poorly managed companies are dying, leaving only the strong
9:10 Shady deals and lack of real media presence
10:36 Downard trend is real
13:12 Cost is going up in an already expensive hobby
15:29 Less risk taking, fewer new IPs


  1. My personal opinion, the industry is currently over-saturated with product. There are so many choices you simply can't get just pick one. As for the costs, it's inflation, it's being felt everywhere and in my case prices have almost doubled from 2020 from basic products, like a bottle of soda.

    As for the price of games, well they did rise and companies actually did what they thought it was best for the short term and they are now feeling it. Cutting off costs, choosing different manufacturers, not fully developing a game (hell the last saga), not having enough of a margin of error on production cost, shipping (by boats and pallets) and local shipping, VAT, all of these factor in, and when you factor all these in together, on a market which has already peaked, it's hard to fund or deliver. Also they didn't think long term, originally from 2018, projects would take 1 year to be delivered. Now it takes about 2-3 years. You bet prices have risen, but did the companies predict this?

    The worst part is that a book, and tabletop book, costs about 50$. To ship this in the EU it cost about 24$ to 30$ more, while in the US… less, a lot less. And right now the trend is for a book, a 250 page tabletop game book or supplement to cost about 70$ or maybe more, for the normal edition. Does this sound right? Tought times are ahead for the hobby, it's starting to become a luxury more than a hobby.

    Also as for Gamefound, i'm glad it was founded and that it works, it simply makes a competitor for kickstarter, and competition is always good. Before you would only have pledge levels, now you can add addons on kickstarter, so it's an improvement, and they only made this because of competition.

  2. I know this won't be a popular comment bc of where I am, but I am still in the USA and can say what I want. Regarding the outrageous cost of boardgames nowadays. Inflation is real. Stolen and fraudulent elections have consequences. Vote for a fiscally responsible candidate in 2024 if you don't want your bank account to get raped.

    Spare ke the advanced economics lesson btw. I don't want to hear it. Why? Here's why; if people are not being disingenuous they will admit life is significantly worse financially now, than it was from 2016 to 2020. Don't worry team. We will save 50 cents on hotdogs in July.

  3. I have to say lucky duck new kickstarter hurts. I want it but not over $200 funny money after shipping

  4. Yes i think the industry has certainly taken the wrong path. I am a backer of Aeon Trespass Odyssey's current campaign and almost every day they reveal a new figure and new mechanics either for free or as add-ons. When is enough enough ? I find the Sins of Herakles content a lot, as in A LOT and they keep on adding more stuff on top of that. Stop ! I am going to buy your game, so stop adding stuff ! It's now going from value for money to just crowdfund bloat and i think that's a detriment to the game. I won't be able to lift the game box when i receive it, ATO (the first base game) is already too heavy weighing in at around 14 kilos. In addition, the prices as you said have increased even in smaller games making it a more expensive hobby overall.

  5. CMON’s last 2 games they announced were not crowdfunded ones. I think that’s telling. Crowdfunded games are waaaaay to much $$$ ,as a Canadian I am getting milked hard on shipping currency conversion. When I see Americans complain about shipping costs I’m like “welcome to the club”. The only games I’ve backed and am interested in this year are reprint campaigns. If I am gonna spend the money best to make it on a game with a proven track record.

  6. I don't think it's broken as much as pricing has gotten so much worse.
    Games are showing up in retail before backers get them.
    Games are showing up for cheaper at retail than what backers paid.
    Shipping is really high, especially outside the US.
    Taxes/VAT are now getting charged on campaigns, no more skirting those costs.
    In general, crowd funding is just not the "deal" it used to be. Now the only reasons to back are 1) FOMO 2) Ensure you get a copy 3) Deluxe version.

  7. I find interesting equating board gaming as hobby with KS and Gamefound. The state of board gaming industry has a very steady, I would say somewhere between logarithmic and linear, trajectory over the last 60 years. KS has significantly pushed the hobby into mainstream, but instead of disrupting it for a short amount of time and ending that with spectacular self immolation with multiple scam projects (we might call it unsuccessful but lets be honest), we have small publishers that are either working with larger retailers or are getting bought by bigger houses, something that we see in other industries in capitalism regularly.
    I, for once, am glad that all the KS/GF hype is starting to wane, because it's causing more harm than benefit to the hobby. This resembles very much to what Disney is doing to the movie industry. More expensive, more derivative, more inclusive, watered down for the regular joe. We want it cheaper and less generic. We want to end the battle of the clones.

  8. Battlestar Galactica at Barnes & Nobles!?

  9. These "scams" – because not all of them are actually scams – will continue as long as these crowdfunding companies hold the stance that "We're sorry the project didn't fund, but we got our cut, so what can you do?"
    I don't know the ins and outs, but they should keep their fees in an escrow account and only collect when they can confirm the product is on its way to backers.

  10. Probably all the IP stuff causing all these crazy price's too. Gotta pay the IP holder and then make enough money to justify it. The Dead Cells board game looks good to me and I'm backing it so I'm definitely part of the problem this time and idk if I would have without the IP involved lol. I'm sure the game could have come in much cheaper without the IP being involved but would they have have made any sales 🤷🏽?

  11. One thing that concerns me with the boom of big IPs in boardgames is whether we're at the start of a homogenization of the art form in the service of profit. I am afraid that the industry is following the steps of both movies and videogames, where everything is now either Marvel, Star Wars or some other massive IP. Would it even be possible for another Wingspan, Everdell or Root to come out and have the impact of any of those games? Earth and Flamecraft both did amazing, and Cascadia was hugely successful, but part of me is afraid that the days of games like these are simply counted.

  12. honestly I am fed up with all those all-in $400 projects. Like come on… This is sick.

  13. Do you think that people choosing to pledge for 1$ instead of a full prices has changed significantly? Maybe your crusade against "preorders" is working. 😀

  14. We have reached a crazy period in gaming, where a new company can put a game on KS, with no reputation and ask for nearly 500 bucks for the all in…and people back it?!

  15. Only the kickstarter industry is naturally in trouble. Full of small teams that lied for years, and poor business practices that have lead to collapse.

    Retail is still neat and quirky and full of great designers and designs and even the fans are more hinest as they don't pay $1500 4 years early and need 6 other campaigns to go right to get their product or the company collapses.

  16. R6
    Darkest Dungeon
    Horizon Zero Dawn
    Apex Legends
    Elden Ring
    Elder Scrolls
    Slay the Spire
    Dying Light
    Mortal Kombat
    Marvel United
    The Witcher
    Cyberpunk 2077

    I'm sure I missed a few but those are all pre-established IP's off the top of my head from the 2022-2023 window….

  17. It seems almost like there are two board game hobby industries–one that makes big, expensive dice-chuckers for KS/GF, and one that makes smaller, cheaper, Euro-style games, mostly for retail. The Euro side of things seems to be going pretty smoothly (if a little stagnant after a decade of major innovation) but the same can't be said for the other side.

  18. As a fresh studio, we are basically now realizing that kickstarter is not a sustainable business model. If you want to survive you have to have retail games, which are fundamentally different from kickstarter games.

  19. I'm hearing from a lot of people that just have too many games, especially ones that could use more plays.
    I'm in the same boat, already own plenty of games with a backlog of them still on the way.
    Some of what I think is happening is people are looking at crowd funding and then looking at there shelves of "shame" thinking why bother buying the next "best" thing when I have barely scratched the surface of what I already own.
    With me unless it's a IP that I have to get or a improved edition/expansion that I already know I love, then I'm no longer interested.
    From the looks of things I've picked the right time to do so. Time will tell if there's enough new gamers to pick up the slack or weather games on crowd funding will see less backers due to price, failures and people deciding that they have more games then they'll ever have time to play.

  20. Yeah, just noped out on MW: Iceberg. Have so many games so taking a break from KS.

  21. I am a new boardgamer.
    Started about 3 years ago.

    I realized wow, these are so different from what I remember and really enjoyed the experience. I got super excited and wanted to buy a bunch of different genres to try and went on a buying spree.

    Someone pointed out which I agree is my case.
    We enjoy the thought of playing more than actually playing.

    So now I have over 100 and realize that I don’t have the time to play them all and it’s hard to get a game group.

    Plus, I think a lot of new boardgamers are drawn to all the shiny stuff. Without organizers it’s a tough setup and tear down.

    I have slowed down a lot. Maybe on average a large campaign every 1-2 months.

  22. Companies really need to drop prices and you'll see money coming back. Now it's insane what they are asking for in terms of price tag, shipping and VAT / taxes…

    Hopefully the bubble bursts soon!

  23. Those CMON numbers are why they will probably be the only company I back regularly… I'm yet to not receive my products from them. And they always communicate… Not saying I won't back other companies, but CMON is, like the MACHO MAN once said, "The Cream of the Crop!"

  24. I think there are a few trends that are not in the favor of the industry and the customers in the long run. The first is flooding everything with miniatures (I do love them, but sometimes they became the focus of the game instead of being an addition to it). Second, now the core game is not enough, now companies feel that they have to offer half a dozen expansions (more scenarios and more miniatures) and another half a dozen additions like scenery, alternative sculpts, etc.. I'm dying to know how many people who went "all in" into a KS/GF project played with the second expansion… On the other hand, I'm not sure to call it a trend, but there was Gloomhaven and for about $150 (including shipment?) you got the core game with around 100 scenarios. Compared to that, for the same amount of money, you bought Descent 2nd edition and 2 (3?) expansions (or take any other dungeon crawler) and got less than 50% of the scenarios… If you look at the numbers, Gloomhaven is more VFM (value for money) than Descent; on the other hand, how many people bought Gloomhaven and bothered to finish the game?… On the other-other hand, the expansions of Descent came out in phases, they had time to make the game better, listen to feedback, etc. Compared to that, the current KS/GF projects who offer all the expansions (with the minis!…) together with the core game probably have beautiful minis, but I doubt they put enough time into refining the expansions… They mainly a quick money grab, based on FOMO mostly.

  25. Oh, and Steamforged Games is another I back with no hesitation…cause I know I'm getting my products

  26. I may be biased because I write reviews, but the board game was lot more honest when it relied on blogs rather than videos.

  27. *Prices are much higher for the consumer.
    *The good deals we used to get on Kickstarter are gone. The value we used to get for the money we risked is not there anymore.
    *Retail game prices have shot up.
    *Companies are failing. It's likely more companies are struggling to stay above water. Backing is riskier.
    *Inflation has eaten into people's disposable income.

    * The economy will get worse before it gets better.

    So yes, the board game industry is going through a contraction and the golden era of Kickstarter board games is over.

  28. Lately, I’ve been backing smaller games like Dark Tomb and Colossus. They’re cheap and really good. The last big box game I backed was tamashi and that felt painful. I can’t afford these amazing Kickstarter games. I’m sticking to retail as much as possible.

  29. Board games industry is booming. Kickstarter is failing. It's expensive, unfriendly, unwelcoming, deceptive. I am not even allowed to comment before l pay to a campaign on KS. Any backer can be kicked out and comments deleted. This is not healthy. Great video, thanks!

  30. I don't think it's broken as much as it's a reflection of what is happening in our society with overconsumption and mass capitalism fueled by the hype train industrial complex and FOMO. There is a pervasive sentiment that you will be missing out on amazing experiences and once in a lifetime deals if you don't consistently back the hottest and trendiest campaigns. It's all just too much.

  31. ive mostly noped out on most things outside of retail. tired of waiting months, sometimes a year +, for games that are way overpriced imo. they might be worth it to some, but for me its too much. im not into 300hr campaigns anyway or 100+ miniature games so its been easier than for some.

  32. I think the video game industry will provide a glimps into the future of the board game industry. There are way too many companies launching way too many super expensive unfinished games, and 95% end up as unplayable clones.

  33. I got into crowdfunding in 2020. I hit the ground running; I backed and late pledged what I could. This year I've only backed 1 game (technically 2 but I refunded one). I speak for myself, I'm pulling way back. Maybe some of the pandemic passion has subsided? Maybe I got a lot of shiny toys now? Perhaps I'm pickier, more educated in the value propositions being offered on crowdfunding vs. retail? Maybe the prices and shipping are ridiculous? Probably some combinations of the above.

  34. I think it's the good old demand and supply curve that's applying to board games. With prices going higher, global demand shrinks. If you include shipping, the price for the same game is now close to double what it used to be in 2019. The value proposition compared to other entertainment or activities isn't as compelling. The novelty aspect has also worn off. Board game companies that rely on crowdfunding need to find ways to offer better value to customers or else the market won't grow.

  35. For me… the board game industry is not broken. I am rather deep in the hobby and rarely ever spend more than $40 on a game. I am not wanting, I have soooo much.
    The amount publishers are asking for their kickstarter games is asinine. Be strong and don’t give in the the intellectual suicide they are asking you (rhetorical) to commit.

  36. Expected to see "Dragori's Tanares is killing their own loyal customer"

  37. I think the hobby would largely benefit from less kickstarters! You can't tell me the big companies like CMON still need kickstarter to make games. They do it to put the risk on the consumer which is wrong and I really hope the FOMO and "kickstarter exclusives" will slow down to help our hobby become not so broken.

  38. The thing is most people are still spending their money, even thought they complain that prices are too expensive, and that they need to pay extra for such. Ive only really seen people back out of indie titles, saying that 80$ pledge is too expensive, but then I see them in the comments at a Cmon or Awakened Realms Title, were the base pledge is 120$ or more. Look at the Elder Scrolls with a base pledge of 190$, and people said it was expensive but still backed. So the incentive is just to make games more expensive until people complain with their wallets, which is currently a trend not happening.

  39. Yes, the crowd source board game process is broken. Too many failures, cost excessive and increased frustration for backers. IMHO

  40. Broken is right. I think it's limping with the crutch being rich backers who collect games more so than playing them. You could really draw parallel to current society with board gaming class structure with rich disposable income driving huge campaigns. Marginalized people making making decisions on what to give up to play/not play anymore. Hand me down 2nd hand eBay copies and lastly, the opioid addiction being represented by the FOMO craze getting a high from unboxing even though the wallets bare… Too harsh? I'd like to get your take on that. Keep up the good work

  41. One of our local games designers is now working with this Ravensberger / Gamefound initiative on an upcoming game (that I helped playtest last week). It would have been interesting to follow that collaboration anyway, but given that personal connection, it's even more interesting.

  42. Weil in the case of Tainted Grail it's no miracle that the second campaign made less money. I estimate that half of the backers still have the first Tainted Grail (which is the main campaign and two Stretch Goal additional campaigns) standing in their shelves unplayed 😁 why get even more content? Even I as a fan have just managed to play the first campaign and not even started the expansions. 4.5 Million still sounds like quite a success from that standpoint 😉

  43. Another big factor was the inclusion of VAT. When crowd funding was regarded as a 'service' (because a game could not be guaranteed), each game was VAT exempt. When VAT became compulsory, that added between 20% (or even 25%) extra to the cost (including the VAT on postage). So a £500 CMON game + £50 delivery, became a £600 game + £60 delivery.

    So surely, in theory, we should be able to claim a VAT refund when a game is not delivered.

  44. imma be 100% honest… i get it why people do kickstarters and game found… but i think thats ehat is hurting everything…. relying WAY too kuch on crowdfunding

  45. One big issue for me living in EU is the VAT which is a big cost. 25% of the price of the game AND shipping. This makes it impossible to back all the games I would like and since, as I've understood it, the EU is a big market for crowdfunding which might be one of several reasons for the down shift in the size of crowdfunding campaigns?

  46. Great video, as usual! It seems like the tabletop market is echoing the economic market at large: rampant inflation and a bear-ish market outlook, with investors looking to put their money in safer stock. It kind of makes sense that CMON can post record-breaking profits amidst all this uncertainty, since their IPs are as safe as it gets in the board game space.

  47. On a side note, the Primal minis now look super small compared to Monster Hunter lol

  48. IMO at the consumer level the most significant issues moving forward in the industry are addressing COST (RRP + shipping) and SATURATION (product saturation). Given what you’ve highlighted in this video the solution would be to focus on fewer products, focused on COST, that may cost more but offer much greater value in terms of product scale, and then parallel this with low cost lines that focus on VALUE, so we’re talking cardboard standees, smaller product footprint for lower shipping, sequential expansions rather than time of sale expansions, and these solutions will address both issues and bring us back closer to the era of exciting seasonal releases rather than the current constant barrage of high hype releases that have resulted in so much market saturation that the products and support (in $$) have suffered. A similar example can be found in the auto industry when sedans were systematically scrapped and R&D focused on market demands.

  49. With how stale AND expensive new games are I'm backing out. I don't need more cash in's and re-hashed ideas, there's very little I'm interested in currently

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