What is it about little bits of cardboard, plastic, and wood that draw people in so much? This week, we're talking about fans of board games: AKA Board Game Geeks!
Next week, will we escape the podcast in 60 minutes or less? Probably not, but that won't stop us from uncovering the mystery of escape room fans!
## Episode outline
### Fandom Facts
**Origins and history:**
Board games are... broad, and historically date back quite a ways. Wikipedia provides a succinct description not unlike a description of life:
> A board game is a tabletop game that involves counters or pieces moved or placed on a pre-marked surface or "board", according to a set of rules. Some games are based on pure strategy, but many contain an element of chance; and some are purely chance, with no element of skill.
> Games usually have a goal that a player aims to achieve. Early board games represented a battle between two armies, and most modern board games are still based on defeating opponents in terms of counters, winning position, or accrual of points.
> — [Wikipedia - Board game](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Board_game)
While it is unclear what the _first_ board game was, many early games date back as far as 5000 years ago; some examples of the early board games include Senet (Egypt, ~5000 years ago), Go (China, ~2500 years ago), and Backgammon (Persia, ~5000 years ago).
**Size of Fandom:**
Using a few proxies of popularity, we can try to estimate the number of fans (and level of involvement of fans):
- BoardGameGeek had approximately 360k registered in 2010, with 100k active per month ([BoardGameGeek - Geek Analytics 2010](https://boardgamegeek.com/article/6071127#6071127))
- The most backed board game on Kickstarter, Exploding Kittens, had almost 220 000 backers
The demographic data we managed to obtain comes from [The Daily Worker Placement](http://dailyworkerplacement.com/2016/02/19/survey-results-1-who-are-we/). Of the almost 2400 respondents...
- **Country**: Over 56% were from the USA
- **Age**: 42% are 25-35, 33% are 35-44, 16% are 45+
- **Marital Status**: 52% are married, 15% are in a relationship(s)
- **Gender**: The majority are male, and 24% identified as female, 1.1% as non-binary, and 0.6% as trans
- **Education**: Almost two-thirds have a bachelor's degree or higher
- **Tenure**: Less than 25% of respondents had been playing board games for two years or less; almost half of respondents have been playing games between three and ten years
[Interest in board games is highly periodic (by search volume)](https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&q=%2Fm%2F015ll). Every year, around December, interest in board games spikes to the highest point in that year. That being said, ignoring the peak, it looks like board games are back on the upswing after a gradual decline in interest from 2004 to 2010, and is slowly recovering to 2004-ish levels.
Other data, like sales, suggests that growth is more substantial:
> Global sales of games and puzzles have grown from $9.3 billion in 2013 to $9.6 billion in 2016, according to Euromonitor International, with expected year-on-year growth of more than 1 percent this year.
> — [CNBC - Millennials are driving the board games revival](https://www.cnbc.com/2016/12/22/millennials-the-board-games-revival-catan-pandemic.html)
The top ten countries for board games by search volume are: Canada, Estonia, Australia, United Kingdom, Poland, New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Greece, and the United States.
The top five rising related topics are: Words with Friends, Pandemic, Dominion, Kickstarter, and Descent: Journeys in the Dark
Believe it or not, we managed to find some board game fanfic on Archive of our own. There are approximately 100 game categories in the "other media" section of Archive of our own (including 7 for Settlers of Catan).
### [Last Episode's](http://fanthropological.com/e/#-name) Famous Last Words
The boom in board game creation over the last decade comes from people remembering unsatisfying board game experiences with Life, Trouble and Monopoly as a kid.
What board game has the most detailed, complicated, esoteric rules?
[// Hard to quantify; if you search for board games with complexity between 4.5 and 5 on BGG.... get different results depending on how many people have played. Advanced Squad Leader (1985) has a complexity of 4.7 and over 3000 votes ]: #
[// Advanced Squad Leader is the completely reorganized and re-designed version of the original Squad Leader system. While ASL is "advanced," it actually is a simpler game than the original Squad Leader became after the three follow-on gamettes. This three-ring binder is the basic rules for the entire system, and provides the ultimate combination of playability and detail. Full-color charts and beautiful pictures make this the most readable of rulebooks - and includes a full-service index as well for quick reference. ]: #
What is the most expensive non-monopoly board game (commercially available)?
[// found a thread on board game geek with some unexciting answers: chess (2), monopoly (3), dominoes (4)... top was 'outrage! steal the crown jewels', deluxe edition. Recognized bu guinness book of records as most expensive board game in the world ]: #
[// Outrage! Deluxe is recognised in the Guinness Book of Records as ‘The most expensive board game in the world’. It retails at £7,995 for which connoisseurs can play on a hand finished board set into a solid mahogany cabinet. Cards are edged with gold leaf. Playing pieces are made from hallmarked sterling silver and the jewels are fashioned in solid gold studded with rubies, sapphires, diamonds and emeralds.]: #
[// Depends on what you want though...]: #
...The change occured when Monopoly became public domain (and we started having dumb -opoly games)
Board games helped popularize Kickstarter.
[// 494.66 m from 2009 to 2016: Games category on kickstarter. in 2015, a quarter of that was video games. Second highest category: technology with 448.47 million]: #
[// Kickstarter is helping to drive the board game boom. The amount of money pledged last year, for example, represents almost a fifth of the total hobby games market by retail sales in North America, according to Griepp’s estimates, which currently don’t include Kickstarter projects. In other categories, like technology, the amounts raised on Kickstarter are tiny compared to the size of the market. “For board games, there was a big need for [Kickstarter],” says Thomas Bidaux, who runs video-game market research firm ICO Partners. “The industry was kind of dying.” ]: #
### The Verdict
**Z is out. BUT it is a fairly friendly, fairly positive community.**
**T is in.**
**G is in: can't see a way out.**
### This week's spotlight
[// Quantic Lab Gamer Motivation Profile: Gamer + Board Games + Quick Game Reccomentations: https://apps.quanticfoundry.com/ ]: #
[// Honorable mention: Charity: The generous game (1999) "You have earned a fortune, and you want to give it away to charity, but you can't help acquiring more money. don't give it all away though, or you are back where you started!"]: #
**[The Spiel Foundation](http://thespielfoundation.com/)**
The Spiel Foundation is dedicated to donating quality card and board games to senior citizen's centers and children's hospitals... five games at a time.
> Each year, we assemble bundles of five games and donate these bundles to organizations that fit our mandate. To date, we have donated over 2,000 board and card games to kids and seniors around the country.
> — [The Spiel Foundation](http://thespielfoundation.com/)
[// Plugs go here ]: #
### Famous Last Words
This week's famous last words around *next week's* fandom, escape rooms!
What is the biggest escape room? (e.g. is there a house where its entirety is an escape room)
The first escape room was a red room simulator.
Is there a survival horror escape room (where you think you're going to die)?
Is there a super realistic museum heist?
the 999 DS/3DS games :) and there's going to be a Detective Conan themed escape room at Universal Studios Japan next year as part of their Cool Japan promo
## Where can you find us online?
We are everywhere! Most notably though, we like to hang out in a few places on social media:
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- If you want to be part of our podcast (or just want to check us out), we record our podcast LIVE on [twitch.tv](http://twitch.tv/thenickscast) every monday at 20:00 Eastern Time!
- For all the latest updates, check us out on [Facebook](https://facebook.com/thenickscast) or [Twitter](https://twitter.com/thenickscast)
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- if you want to reach us, and for some reason none of those work for you, try [[email protected]
- You can check out [our website](http://thenickscast.com); that will mostly bring you back to this stuff.
- Everything is `thenickscast`, so if you can't find us, go on your social network and search for that!
- ... You're still looking for ways to reach out? You can also use the hashtag `#fanthro` on Twitter!
## What is "Fanthropological"?
How did you read this far without asking this question?!
Fanthropological is an anthropological (ish) podcast where we bring the fan's-eye view to you! Each week, we take a look at a different fandom, dig up interesting background, trivia, and history, and try to get to why it is that people are a fan. We also try to highlight good causes related to that fandom, and find interesting things that fans have created to share those to the world. Each episode is about an hour. Ish.
## Who is "The Nickscast"?
*We* are the Nickscast! Three products of late-80s / early-90s pop culture who love exploring fandom and everything geek ... who also happen to have been best buddies since high school, and all happen to be named Nick. Yes, we are super creative. Dare we say, the most creative.
We are Nick Green, Nick Terwoord, and Nick Zacharewicz: We started the Nickscast as a labour of love, and as a place to entertain and to discuss our love of fans and fandom, and all that is shiny and interesting in that realm. It's what lead us to start our first podcast, our satellite podcasts, Fanthropological, and so much more.
We want to help others learn more about different fandoms, and to create empathy with other fans: We dream of a world where other fans aren't "those Weird-o's", but just folks with different tastes. A world where fandom is full of discourse and analysis, and there are plenty of tools and resources to help. Fans building communities to do good in the world. *Because everyone's a fan.*
- [Wikipedia - Board game](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Board_game)
- [Wikipedia - Go (game)](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_(game))
- [Wikipedia - Senet](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senet)
- [BoardGameGeek - Geek Analytics 2010](https://boardgamegeek.com/article/6071127#6071127)
- [BoardGameGeek - Math Trade Guide](https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/93555/math-trade-guide)
- [BoardGameGeek - Why Do You Design Board Games?](https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1165370/why-do-you-design-board-games)
- [BoardGameGeek - Charity: the generous game](https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/200016/charity-generous-game)
- [BoardGameGeek- The 21 most expensive games for sale right now](https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/52818/21-most-expensive-games-sale-right-now)
- [Geek & Sundry - How Independent Game Designers (and YOU) Get Games to the Table](https://geekandsundry.com/how-independent-game-designers-and-you-get-games-to-the-table/)
- [New Statesman - How Board Games Became a Billion-Dollar Business](https://www.newstatesman.com/culture/games/2017/01/how-board-games-became-billion-dollar-business)
- [Quora - What Is the Most Complex Board Game on the Planet?](https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-most-complex-board-game-on-the-planet)
- [Quora - Why Are Board Games Particularly Popular in Germany?](https://www.quora.com/Why-are-board-games-particularly-popular-in-Germany)
- [r/Boardgames - AskBoardgames: Why Do You Play So Many Different (New) Games?](https://www.reddit.com/r/boardgames/comments/4ec6l3/askboardgames_why_do_you_play_so_many_different/)
- [r/Boardgames - Buying Boardgames for Friends - How to Not Look Like an Arshole](https://www.reddit.com/r/boardgames/comments/3t01ch/buying_boardgames_for_friends_how_to_not_look/)
- [r/Boardgames - Fanboy-ism and the Boardgame Community](https://www.reddit.com/r/boardgames/comments/6qp8v4/fanboyism_and_the_boardgame_community/)
- [r/Boardgames - Have You Regretted Buying Any Boardgames? Why and Did You Get Rid of It?](https://www.reddit.com/r/boardgames/comments/3seu0g/have_you_regretted_buying_any_boardgames_why_and/)
- [r/Boardgames - Those of You With Boardgame Acquisition Disorder: Why Do You Keep Buying Games?](https://www.reddit.com/r/boardgames/comments/3c0dqs/those_of_you_with_boardgame_acquisition_disorder/)
- [r/Boardgames - What Are Your Favorite Boardgame Reviewers and Why?](https://www.reddit.com/r/boardgames/comments/6mm0i6/what_are_your_favorite_boardgame_reviewers_and_why/)
- [r/Boardgames - Why I Love the Boardgame Community](https://www.reddit.com/r/boardgames/comments/63e4kw/why_i_love_the_boardgame_community/)
- [r/Boardgames - Why I Think Getting New People into Boardgames is Hard](https://www.reddit.com/r/boardgames/comments/3jbwbg/why_i_think_getting_new_people_into_boardgames_is/)
- [SashaBarab.org - The Design and Testing of the Board Game - Lord of the Rings](https://sashabarab.org/syllabi/games_learning/LOTR_ROP2004.pdf)
- [Time - This Board Game Designer Isn’t Sorry About Taking a Big Risk](http://time.com/4385490/board-game-design/)
- [USC Institute for Creative Technologies - The Hegemony of Play](http://ict.usc.edu/pubs/The%20Hegemony%20of%20Play.pdf)
- [YouTube - "The Board Game Boom" Documentary](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYedXMq-R6I)
- [The Daily Worker Placement - SURVEY RESULTS #1: WHO ARE WE?](http://dailyworkerplacement.com/2016/02/19/survey-results-1-who-are-we/)
- [The Daily Worker Placement - SURVEY RESULTS #2: WHO WE PLAY WITH](http://dailyworkerplacement.com/2016/02/25/survey-results-2-who-we-play-with/)
- [The Daily Worker Placement - SURVEY RESULTS #3: BUYING, STORING, AND PLAYING](http://dailyworkerplacement.com/2016/03/04/survey-results-3-buying-storing-and-playing/)
- [The Daily Worker Placement - SURVEY RESULTS #4: COLLECTIONS, TEACHING, AND LEARNING](http://dailyworkerplacement.com/2016/03/11/survey-results-4-collections-teaching-and-learning/)
- [The Daily Worker Placement - SURVEY RESULTS #5: THE GAMES WE PLAY](http://dailyworkerplacement.com/2016/03/21/survey-results-5-the-games-we-play/)
- [The Daily Worker Placement - SURVEY RESULTS #6: GAMING EVENTS, CAFES, AND BOARDGAMEGEEK](http://dailyworkerplacement.com/2016/03/28/survey-results-6-gaming-events-cafes-and-boardgamegeek/)
- [The Daily Worker Placement - SURVEY RESULTS #7: GOING DIGITAL - APPS, TECHNOLOGY & SOCIAL MEDIA](http://dailyworkerplacement.com/2016/04/04/survey-results-7-going-digital/)
- [Outrage! - Game Formats](http://www.outrage-game.com/gameformats/index.html)
- [Quantic Foundry - Quantic Lab](https://apps.quanticfoundry.com/)
- [CNBC - Millennials are driving the board games revival](https://www.cnbc.com/2016/12/22/millennials-the-board-games-revival-catan-pandemic.html)
- [Quartz - Old-fashioned board games, not tech, are attracting the most money on Kickstarter](https://qz.com/688843/old-fashioned-board-games-not-tech-are-attracting-the-most-money-on-kickstarter/)
### Music / Sound
- All music and sound for this week's episode were provided by Nick Green!
- ["Glasses"](https://thenounproject.com/term/glasses/132894) by [Anton Anuchin](https://thenounproject.com/antonwebium) used under [CC BY 3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/)
- ["Wool"](https://thenounproject.com/term/wool/53278) by [Callum Taylor](https://thenounproject.com/callumctaylor) used under [CC BY 3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/)