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Gathering of Engineers

Ludographic considerations from the Silicon Forest

Monday, April 10, 2006

Say the Word "Tomorrow" Without Fear

'Cause we all live in Future World
A world that’s full of love
Our future life will be glorious
Come with me - Future World!

I am a poor prognosticator. Being averse to change to a fault, I am perhaps too optimistic about things remaining as they are. If it ain't broke, et cetera. And in niche markets, persistence trumps obsolescence; for example, there is no way I would have predicted that Helloween would have released nine more albums - and counting - after the mega-cheesy Keeper of the Seven Keys (see above). Given the mob mentality of American taste, trends can blindside you like a train barreling out of a painted-over cliff face. Seriously, if you had told me a decade ago that puzzle magazines and books dedicated to Number Place (Sudoku) and Cross Sums (Kakro) would be all the rage, I would have bet big odds against it.

Ten years from now, my daughter will be 12, so I hope to be enjoying a lot of gaming time with her. I want nothing more than the environment to be much like it is today. But, as with all else in my life, there will be plenty of surprises, both pleasant and not. Perhaps these ten changes will be among them:

  • My boldest prediction is that the CCG market will crash. Gaming may still be hot in Europe, but retail stores in the United States that depend on the CCG business to sustain them will be folding. Best side benefit: the FLGS/online debate will be put to rest.
  • Our niche hobby - particularly German games and war games - will not significantly decrease. The bottom line is that most of us like having an excuse to get out of the house (or, in the case of cons, out of town) and hang with our buds. For gaming addicts, the key breakthrough for online gaming will be the quality and ease of integrating voice communication with our online experience. Combined with key graphics improvement, this will make playing boardgames on the 'net feel much like playing face-to-face.
  • In an effort to expand their market, Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition will be greatly streamlined, with many of the items currently in the core book moved to "supplemental" material. The campaign will be hugely successful, if only in the blue states.
  • Gambling laws will be relaxed to allow "professional" poker rooms to run games. The poker craze will grow even more, and at least one prominent nation-wide chain will be established. While the tournament format will be the most popular, there will still be open gaming, although players will have accounts that limit how much they can spend in a given time interval.
  • BGG.CON will continue to grow, eventually to the size and scope of GenCon. It will spawn off a several-day-long extravaganza which will replace Gathering of Friends as the premier gaming event.
  • Fantasy Flight Games will get into the collectible miniatures market. Their first effort will be derived from their Twilight Imperium: Armada game.
  • There will be another Bulge game or two.
  • The Gathering of Engineers crew will create an eponymous multi-day invitational, filling a gap in the Pacific Northwest. Alan Moon will decline the invitation.
  • Tom Vasel will make regular appearances on a big-time show in the U.S. - I'm thinking something like Ellen or Today - but he will still consider himself as not being among the elite.
  • Exactly ten years from now, the #1 game in America will be “Capture the Water Supply”. Shotgun not included.


  • At 1:30 PM, Anonymous Sudoku said…

    I love Sudoku !

  • At 2:36 PM, Blogger Dug said…

    4th ed D&D? Bit of an optimist, aren't you?

    I was thinking more like Version 5.6, myself. Too much money to be made revving (as White Wolf discovered with V:tM sourcebooks moving to 2nd ed versions within a year of original publication). To be fair, software is moving quickly toward charging for upgrades that primarily contain bug fixes, so there you go.

  • At 3:05 PM, Blogger dave said…

    Well, to be fair, the QotM wording was "over the next 10 years".

    Looking at the wikipedia entry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Editions_of_Dungeons_%26_Dragons):

    v1(DD): 1974
    v1(ADD): 1977
    v2: 1989
    v3: 2000
    v3.5: 2003

    I don't think this extrapolates to a v5 in 2016, let alone a revision to that. But it certainly isn't out of question, especially after the smash success of the streamlined 4th edition. ;->

  • At 4:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I though FFG had already announced a CMG?

  • At 5:17 PM, Blogger dave said…

    You mean "The Mutant Chronicles Collectible Miniatures Game"?

    Ha! One down, nine to go. ;->


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