We live in an increasingly digital world and with that, gaming is becoming more immersive; 3D graphics are close to being realistic, virtual reality and augmented reality are becoming more mainstream, eSports is growing to a stage where it’s starting to rival more traditional sports and online gaming has become more prominent than ever. So it may come as a surprise to learn that tabletop games have made a revival in recent years (and growth is excepted to continue), in the era where you might think they would have faded into obscurity. Some would go as far as to say that we’re currently in a golden age of tabletop games.
Why the revival? One reason is nostalgia; adults yearning to relive their childhood, reacquainting themselves with a medium that offers experiences you can’t get (or have been lost) from video games. Being in the same room with your family and friends, socialising, interacting and having conversations face-to-face, unplugged, away from all your electronic devices and power outlets.
But it’s not just people’s desire to commemorate the past, there’s another big reason for the recent boom of tabletop games, the internet. Video games have given people ways to play digital versions of tabletop games, many then going on to buy physical versions. With online shopping making games more easily available, it’s not just major companies like Hasbro benefiting from increased sales of classic games such as Monopoly, Cluedo and Scrabble. Thousands of new tabletop games are being released from independent companies every year, largely due to crowdfunding initiatives such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo. In fact, not only was 2017 the biggest year yet for tabletop games on Kickstarter, with a record number of successful campaigns and money being pledged, they’re also beating video games in both respects by a significant margin.
Many enthusiasts are quick point out another reason, games are getting better. Tabletop games have existed for far longer than video games and thus have had more time to mature. Many companies, both major and indie, are able to design and produce new games with innovation, well-developed mechanics and great artwork. Classics are being remade and modernised. Games are being diversified in so many ways that it seems like there are games for just about anyone and everyone. A lot of tabletop games are embracing new technologies, to the point where you realise that video and tabletop games don’t have to compete with each other. They can complement an learn for each other.
Tabletop gaming is no longer just restricted to the home, for just the holidays with your family. The last few years have given birth to Board Games Cafés; just like any other café, you can meet up for a drink and a bite to eat, but they also have a big library of games for you to choose from and play. One of the first in the UK to open it’s doors, the Game Hub in Edinburgh was followed shortly by Thirsty Meeples in Oxford with Draughts being the first in London, to name but a few. With more popping up all the time, tabletop gaming is becoming a more socially acceptable activity.