Years ago when Facebook launched its apps, many of the first popular titles were board games. Scrabulous, of course, being the notable example and of course being a total knock-off of Scrabble.
Anyway, I always thought that would be the direction that Facebook games would move in as the core problem with board games is time. Your Venn diagram of free time rarely intersects with your adult friends, but allowing for asynchronous play meant that you didn’t need to share the same time space as your friendly competitors. Then FarmVille rolled along and that was all Facebook games became.
Kevin Ohannessian over at Fast Company has a different take and digs into the successful outings by traditional board game makers in a digital age. Using the Risk franchise as a core example, the physicality of board games is translating well. In particular (as someone who publishes a print magazine), this piece resonated with me:
“Unlike the music industry, where for the most part it has been transitioning to digital, for board games the two experiences are complimentary,” said Days of Wonder’s CEO Eric Hautemont.
He points out that the nearly 2 million players of Days of Wonder made fertile ground for the iPad. The same could be said for Catan, of course. Methinks board games have a bright future ahead of them as new distribution platforms like Facebook and iOS give them new lands to conquer.