Of all the things fantastic about the gaming world, one of the most endearing is that chances are there is a game that is just for you. Maybe it has the perfect set of mechanics you like, or it allows for your ideal player size. Maybe it’s a complex world to explore, or the right combination of simplicity and entertainment for an easy-going night with friends/family/sentient robots. It’s fantastic that, much like the community itself, there are opportunities for everyone to find something fun. Whether it’s how the game works or the theme itself that draws you in and keeps you satiated from start to finish, games usually trend in unique and creative directions to stay competitive in the marketplace. Usually. Sometimes though, they trend in the wrong direction. Here are what we feel are the top five trends we just can’t take any more of:
5. Colonizing a New World
It doesn’t matter what you’d like to colonize, there’s a game for it. Here, though, we’re talking about those time honored Euro-game classics like Puerto Rico and San Juan. How many times do you want to establish a new colony during the colonial era? I mean, I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve settled Puerto Rico. And, in the end, these games are all the same. Like, really the same. Move the little cubes onto squares and hope that your strategy will work. Try to produce the most stuff. Did you produce the most stuff? You win! Congratulations, you Imperial bastard.
You know you’ve jumped the shark when you’ve been chibi-fied. I’m a huge fan of Arkham Horror, but even I can get Cthulu-d out. It seems like every publisher finishes their zombie game, then releases their Lovecraft one. The mythos is interesting, but do we really need Cthulu Gloom? Or Cthulu Chez Geek? And Cthulu is difficult to do well. You can’t just slap tentacles onto something and call it Lovecraftian (though it is a good first step).
A zombie really isn’t that scary. I mean, it’s slow, weak, dumb, and often actively decomposing. The catch, though, is that you never have a zombie. You have zombies. Hordes upon hordes of them, bearing down on your little stronghold all day and all night for as long as you survive. Which probably won’t be long. So, there’s clearly a reason that zombies have risen through the ranks of pop culture horrors and have emerged somewhere near the top. It’s not surprising that we see a fair amount of zombie games on our shelves, but the speed at which they keep coming is impressive. From Zpocalypse to Zombicide to Zombie Fluxx . . . you name the game, I’ll find you a zombie version of it. In 2013, we’re hoping this trend finally dies out for good because if I see Zombopoly at my local game store, I don’t even know if life will be worth living.
2. Pop Culture LCGs
Coming in 2013 – Popular Culture Reference: The Card Game!
2012 was a big year for LCGs, and we’re not saying that we want them all off our shelves. But, maybe, not everything needs to be a “living card game”? Fantasy Flight, we’re looking at you here. LCGs are fun, but they’re a money sink. A wonderful, wonderful money sink. And only very serious gamers can afford to keep up with more than one LCG at a time. So producing a new one every month is overwhelming. Plus, the packs. You have to consistently buy new packs to keep up, and while the new cards are fun, that money just flies away. We’d like these to reign themselves in and focus on games that really benefit from this style of play.
1. Games Made From Apps
You’ve all seen the analog version of Words with Friends, right? I’m not talking about Scrabble – I mean the actual board game that they made based off of Words with Friends, which is the digital game that was based off of Scrabble. Need I go on about why we’re hoping this ends soon? This is a practice that lacks any kind of creativity and waters down the game market. As members of the gaming community, we want to be represented by games that are interesting, fun, engaging, and creative. We don’t want to see a bunch of knock-offs on our shelves, and we’re certainly not going to buy any. This needs to end. Now.
(Editor’s Note: We hope that Erin does choose life, since a conceptual Zombopoly exists.)
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