Board games are making a comeback as people of all ages are nostalgic for the carefree days of playing their favorite games. Yes, mobile and online games have been on the rise in recent years, but classic games in traditional form are also popular, reflecting a trend we expect to see more and more. Dean Tempest, the joint founder of Linkee, the first crowdsourced trivia game, explains this trend and how board games can meet the needs of today’s consumers who want to be part of the creation of a product.
Guest Post: The Resurgence Of Board Games
Who still plays traditional board games? To many, in our digital age, the world of board games represents a nod to the fading memories of days gone by — playing games with your family on a rainy day, bonding time, and moving 6 paces when you rolled a 5. Yet board games are seeing a bit of a renaissance, some with digital updates, but many in original form.
In 2011, John Lewis, a UK department store, reported board game sales were up 20% from the year before, whilst another survey in 2011 found that 60% of families in the UK would rather choose board games over video games for Christmas gifts. Moreover, in the U.S., board games made up $1.2 billion in sales in 2010 according to the NPD Group. There appears to be an ever-increasing sign that consumers are trying to unshackle themselves from their screens and seek more social fun. We at Linkee, the first ever crowdsourced trivia game, like this idea, and it is why we invented our game — to play with family and friends one Christmas.
When you boil Linkee down to its most basic form, we’ve created a flexible way of serving up engaging content that is not only fun to consume but create as well. It is not just a case of writing a trivia question; you have to think outside the box and be creative in how you put it all together. The best way to write one is actually to work backwards and think of the link first, then the answers, and finally the questions that stitch it all together.
In making the game, we encouraged everybody who had played Linkee to write their own questions, promising them ‘Fame from your name in the game’, by putting their name and where they are from on the actual final printed card. We got inundated with replies, and within a couple of months, the game was finished.
Generating the content this way ensures the game is regional, topical, and therefore relevant. It also means the bank of questions is ever expanding and that the game is naturally evolving with its consumers. We embrace co-creation not just as nice to have, but as central to our product and our business. When we were unsure about the font to use on the question cards, we turned to our Linkee Facebook friends who quickly solved it for us two days before going to print. This strategy of crowdsourcing appeals to Millennials because it taps into their desire to be part of the creation process.
This year, Hasbro and Zynga formed a “pact” that will see digital Zynga titles and physical Hasbro titles developed for the opposing platforms. In our opinion, the game industry has been relatively slow to innovate and we’re not sure this “pact” will unearth the next “big thing.” Indeed, the best seller lists are still dominated by the classics such as Monopoly (1934), Trivial Pursuit (1979), and Scrabble (1938). Interestingly Zynga’s biggest title, Words with Friends, is not an invention at all but a spin on Scrabble.
Classic games have attempted modernization but often lose the purity and charm of the game in the process. We believe in the opposite — it’s not so much about strapping screens and gadgets to much loved games to modernize them. Instead. it’s about trying to understand modern consumers and their lives. For us, that means letting people co-create, invent their own rules, pick up rules quickly, play fast, put down, pick up, and enjoy relevant, topical content, that everybody can get involved with — all whilst looking good at the same time. It means taking as many things away as possible rather than adding them. At least we hope!
We have also started the world’s first board game bike delivery service, where every Friday, we cycle around London delivering Linkee to people just in time for the weekend. It’s a personal form of distribution, puts a face to the brand, and is eco-friendly, reflecting what modern consumers care about.
Dean is a 25-year-old former ad man based in the UK, who started the small independent game publisher Linkee® Ltd in 2011 with two friends. He left ad-land in 2012 to launch Linkee® across retail, mobile, social, and TV.
He can often be found whoring himself around London coffee shops stealing WiFi and thinking it’s his office. It’s not. It’s a coffee shop. He once made a 99p filter coffee last 3 hours. Fact.