What is the board game community?

Posted on Posted in Philosophy

Ever since I failed to fund my first Kickstarter campaign for War Co., I’ve been very involved in the board game community. My personal favorite hang-out spots within the board game community are Twitter and Meetup groups. That doesn’t even scratch the surface, though. There’s conventions, Instagram, Facebook, the thriving /r/boardgames subreddit, Board Game Geek, and so much more. I’ve noticed that no matter where I go within the community, though, there’s a subject upon which people love to pontificate: what is the board game community?

This is Gen Con. We are legion.
This is Gen Con. We are legion.

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The board game community is huge. If you’re new to design, it’s bigger than you can understand. It’s a billion with a “b” dollar industry, and indicates millions with an “m” individuals who are committed enough to board games to put down dollars. The board game community spans hundreds of websites and social networks, knowing no geographical bounds. It contains people of different ages, genders, religious beliefs, political affilitations, and nationalities.

The board game community is diverse in interests, too. “Board games” is a catch-all term for board games, card games, collectible games, dice games, miniature games, RPGs, and – goodness – I don’t even know what else. The board game community is very loosely defined. It’s you. It’s me. It’s the crowd in the photo above. It’s every board game backer on Kickstarter. It’s everyone who buys Exploding Kittens on Amazon.

The community is tied together literally by a single broad interest.

We all like to game. (Whatever that means…)

The board game community is comprised of tons and tons of small, slightly related niches. If you’re creating something, if you’re selling something, you have to understand this on a gut level. There is not a single game in existence that would please every person in the crowd above. Nor is there a game that could be created to please the entirety of /r/boardgames or every single Kickstarter backer.

Everybody has preferences. Some gamers like short, light games whereas others like heavy, multi-day ones. Some people love elaborate themes (Ameritrash) and some people don’t see a point in having a theme at all (Euro). Some people like certain themes and not others. Hell, you’ll never catch me getting into a Medieval theme, but I’m a sucker for sci-fi. There’s people who feel the exact opposite. Some people game to work out their minds. Some game to socialize.

You are the community.

See the whole as a series of parts.

Imagine others complexly.

Find your niche.

Make something perfect for them.

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