The Cult of the New: Preferences for New Board Games

The “cult of the new” is the obsession with new titles, which makes hobbyist gaming much like the movie industry. The online site, Yucata.de, offers free online games with human players. Here are the plays averaged across 111 games, relative to when each game was first introduced to the community. You can see that a new game peaks in 3 months, then gradually declines to half its peak after 2 years, dropping only slightly after that for the next 3 to 5 years.

Plays of Tabletop Games on Yucata.de In First Months of Release

Year Month Plays
0 1 394
0 2 1252
0 3 1434
0 4 1265
0 5 1137
0 6 1043
0 7 980
0 8 933
0 9 894
0 10 935
0 11 877

Plays of Tabletop Games on Yucata.de In First Years of Release

Year Month Plays
1 12 847
2 24 716
3 36 671
4 48 665
5 60 596
6 72 618
7 84 571
8 96 617

Source: Analysis of Yucata.de Play Data

Because new games are made available at once to all players, this data from Yucata removes the delay of the adoption curve typical of selling games through retail. In the real world, people have to learn about the game, read reviews, play it with friends, then buy it, then find time to play it. Yucata presents a clearer picture of the embrace and abandonment of games.

This cult of the new makes it hard for new games to breakthrough and sell on an ongoing basis.

To supplement this behavioral data, Researchscape surveyed online consumers to ask whether they preferred to play a game they had played before or one new to them. About a quarter of respondents had no preference, regardless of type of game. However, the least novelty was desired in card games, the most in video games: 3.4 times as many consumers want to play a familiar card game as a new card game, 2.6 times for a familiar board game vs. a new on, and just 1.4 times for video games.

Which card/board/video game would you prefer to play, one that you had played before or one new to you?

Card game Board game Video game
Familiar : New 3.4 2.6 1.4
One played before 38% 32% 13%
One new to me 11% 13% 9%
No preference 25% 26% 24%
Don’t play card/board/video games 25% 29% 54%

Sample Size: One-Question Polls; 115-262 responses; weighted by age,
gender, and/or region

This is an excerpt from a free Researchscape ebook, which you can download now: “Boardgame Concepts to Crowdfund: Dynamics of Tabletop Games”.

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