On April 3, 2013 popular video game blog, joystiq.com, informed their viewers of the video game to board game tie-in, Bioshock Infinite: Siege of Columbia. Although not the first time this information was released, this marked the first time that I was informed of the project. Joystiq is a video game blog with a fan base that I feel is a complimentary audience to the board game crowd. What got me particularly excited about the idea of continuing the story of Bioshock Infinite on the tabletop was not the aspect of embarking on that journey myself, but more particularly the potential these cross-over projects have on growing our industry.
Furthering my search, I discovered that Irrational Game’s Bioshock was not the first video game to inspire a tabletop sibling in recent years. Some of you may have noticed that popular franchises Doom, World of Warcraft, and Angry Birds have also spawned tabletop versions of themselves. These creations are not trying to steal the thunder from their larger than life video game counterparts, rather they are often a completely unique experience. Without getting deep into the crossovers between the video game consumer base and tabletop game industry itself, from my point of view, any exciting press from a non-board game focused source is a fantastic thing to see. It creates a surge of interest in tabletop games. Siege of Columbia may be the gateway a future board gamer needs to discover.
Although a growing industry, board games still tend to find themselves off the radar. When I notice a board game discussion starting, there’s positive comments on the experience people have, but it has more to do with mainstream games like Risk or Monopoly and less about games like Cosmic Encounter or Agricola. With the diverse selection and what I view as superior options over the mainstream tabletop choices, I can’t help but feel that somehow the industry is dropping the ball on marketing itself.
When a publishing company like Plaid Hat Games takes the time to meet with a video game company and work on a cross-over game, this gets me very excited for what the future of board games may look like. When done right, these projects capture the interest of consumers that might not have cared about board games otherwise. And with Bioshock infinite having sales totals of over 1.93 million worldwide, I’m confident Plaid Hat Games is onto something.
Happy Mitten Games
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