This Guardian article, Board games’ golden age: sociable, brilliant and driven by the internet, has been going around the social media circles, saying in part:
Many industry figures point to the internet as a key factor in the growth of tabletop gaming. The rise of smartphones and tablets has given players an inexpensive way to try digital versions of board games, and many go on to buy physical copies as well.
I’d say that beyond the board game app field, unfettered access to information alone has had a huge effect on the number of people participating in tabletop games. Almost every discovery moment I experienced personally in finding out about tabletop games came from the internet; and in turn, those discoveries drove me on to find out about a new game, or a new school of thought or way of playing a particular game.
And it’s not just me. I’ve watched enough online discussion about games in the last — yikes! — ten years — to see the patterns in topics. There are always people discovering a game for the first time, taking their first steps into the hobby. Concentrated repositories of information like Boardgamegeek.com and the RPG.net Index, in concert with efforts like Tabletop, which reach technologically-sophisticated datavores, make what used to be a hobby with a low profile and high social barriers, far more accessible.
Now a newcomer doesn’t need to be inducted into the hobby by someone who’s got a copy of Illuminati or the Dungeons & Dragons box set, and introduced to the weird little store hidden in a strip mall or the attached garage of someone’s home. If they hear of something interesting, they can click a link or do a web search, and get a landslide of information to get them excited about this cool new thing.
Post script: and that’s not to say the hobby is yet accessible enough. There are still barriers to entry, especially social and economic. I hope that, with time and the changing of attitudes, those continue to be eroded and overcome.
[Link via Carnage.]