Asmodee Digital has been on a roll this year but the thing that really excites us about digital versions of tabletop games is the amount of mass market coverage it gives to our growing hobby. Tabletop gaming has been growing at a seemingly unsustainable rate for more than 5 years and shows no signs of slowing down. While we may forever walk in the shadow of digital gaming, the impact of simply seeing big board game titles on systems like the Nintendo Switch has massive implications for our hobby.
The Nintendo Direct had over 105,000 views just minutes after the stream ended. A large number of the Dice Tower’s videos have under 10k views and if we’re being completely honest, in my entire channels existence (6 months) I’ve only had a total of 54,777 views. Bringing digital tabletop games to platforms like the Nintendo Switch has the potential to grow our hobby exponentially and with games like ICECOOL and Nyctophobia making big splashes in mass market stores like Target, I imagine the hobby has a fair amount of growth headed their way as more and more video gamers realize that board gaming is no longer playing Monopoly with your grandmother for eight agonizing hours.
Traditionally tabletop gaming is about cutting free from the tether we each have to our devices that we plan our lives around. Whether it be the computers that we spend all day on to make ends meet or the tablets and gizmos we use to desperately attempt to replay the beloved games from our childhood (only to realize that the magic is gone and you can never play Chrono Trigger again for the first time), these games are the unplugged grandfathers of electronic entertainment. On the other end of that, bringing more tabletop IP’s into video game format is a mutually beneficial relationship that can grow and expand our hobby in a healthy manner. For example, the new Munchkin Game for Nintendo Switch isn’t actually the card game Munchkin but instead, an entirely new game based on the Munchkin IP.
I spoke with the CEO of Steve Jackson Games, Phil Reed, and asked him what the new game was all about and he told me, “To me, the game feels like a twisted blend of classic arcade dungeon crawls with the warped Munchkin humor. We’re gonna race into the dungeon and try to bash as many monsters as possible, but if I see a chance to stab you and profit, I’m gonna take it.”
We play games because we love games and digital versions have their place in our hobby. In the case of Catan they can even enhance the experience. I’m so excited that Catan Universe is being brought to the Nintendo Switch because I actually prefer the digital over the physical version. I love the math behind Catan and struggle when playing it with two people who will only trade with each other. *Much Salt GIF*
Our hobby is still growing but is still not entirely visible as video games are. There have been peeks through the cracks and into the zeitgeist here and there, but these electronic versions of board games showing up on more platforms will help cross-pollinate gamers that don’t know any of our new modern board games and help prop up the industry. Turning board games into video games almost seems backward in a way, but as long as we try to usher in these gamers and continue to cultivate an inclusive community, I only see this as a positive.
Bebo & Jim