For those unfamiliar, the Quantic Foundry, partnered with Coalition Game Studios, has conducted a survey to determine what motivates tabletop players in gameplay. You can learn more about the survey from this blog post by Quantic Foundry co-founder Nick Yee, or just take the survey yourself to see what it’s all about.
Today, let’s talk about just one of the questions on this survey: How often do you design/create your own tabletop games?
To quote Buzzfeed, the answer might surprise you.
Out of a sample size of 25,930 valid responses, 46.53% of subjects have at some point worked to design their own game. If we assume that answers of “often” and “always” indicate that the respondent is serious about publication (or is already published), then that means that, even if we discount the “seldom” and “sometimes” answers, about one out of every 11.31 tabletop gamers is actively working to bring a new game into the world.
Imagine, if only half of the 22 million sold copies of Settlers of Catan ended up in unique households, then that means that there could be over a million serious tabletop game designers that own a copy of Settlers of Catan.
The number of published board games in 2015? Just over 5000.
Who Took This Survey Anyways?
At the time of this posting, the survey has already reached quite a few places on the internet. Starting from forum threads on /r/boardgames and boardgamegeek, it was then spread organically through social media shares. A Geek and Sundry article also carried the news to the more casual group.
In short, the target audience for this group is essentially people who like board games enough to be willing to take a survey about board game stuff. There may be a bit of a skew here to discount the truly casual gamers, but I suspect the margin of error is…well, marginal.
Pulling Ahead of the Pack
So, in this flooded market, how can your game make it to the top?
There are many reasons that publishers tend to release good, more complete games, and indie designers are generally less consistent with the quality of their products. Investment capital and industry experience are out of your control, so there’s no point sweating the things you can’t change.
If you’re serious about breaking into the industry, professional development may be the best thing you can do for your game. Undertested, underdeveloped games will hurt your reputation as a designer, and you may only have one chance to make a first impression.
Yes, this is a shameless plug, but it’s also because we want to see you succeed. We want better games on the market. We want people to be more satisfied with their Kickstarters. We want the community to continue to grow, and there’s no reason you can’t be part of that.