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Svarog's Den - Board Games

A Breather Ahead of SPIEL ’23

by W. Eric Martin

With SPIEL ’23 opening in less than three weeks, I wanted to drop a few notes about what’s going on behind the scenes:

• I’ve been publishing posts continually the past two weeks, but most of that material was written before the end of August as a non-work project required total devotion for eleven days in early September. Somehow I made it through repeated 12+ hour workdays and will now resume normal activity here.

• Except it’s not normal at all since (taps sign) SPIEL ’23 opens in less than three weeks. We have 40+ surveys that await attention, and my inbox has also been ballooning with updates to current listings on the SPIEL ’23 Preview, along with initial outreach from folks who didn’t receive our SPIEL ’23 survey.

• Speaking of our SPIEL ’23 Preview, we currently list 953 titles, and I’d guess another 150-ish titles await in those aforementioned surveys and emails. I used to know every title on the preview since I did it all myself, but fellow BGG admin Stephen Cordell is assisting with the surveys, so now titles appear on the list and I don’t see them until some time later — or possibly never. Feels weird to be in the dark like this, but I can’t see everything.

• Related point: Several publishers have told me that the market has slowed since its Covid peak, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that publishers are releasing fewer games. They might just produce fewer copies so that they can sell through more quickly. After all, the buzz on certain titles comes and goes so quickly you might want something new to talk about to ride the hype wave.

• I’ve avoided that wave so far this month as I’ve played only The Game: Extreme twice and Circus Flohcati once — introducing the latter title to a family, then beating them, then discovering it’s not in the print in the U.S., so they can’t buy a copy to play again. Boo.

Maybe I can find a copy of Circus Flohcati in the used vendor stalls at SPIEL ’23 and mail it to them, but sheesh, why is that title not a mainstay on the U.S. market? It’s such a classic minimalist design that game stores should be selling left and right. Maybe it’s the name. Perhaps the Czech version of this design would go over better…

• I am aware of many game announcements and news happenings that I want to cover in this space, and next week will be catch-up time on these items while also crunching on SPIEL info.

• You might also notice a plethora of designer diaries over the next few weeks. Lots of folks have been reaching out at the (kind of) last minute to talk about a SPIEL ’23 debut, and I’d like to give more info to chew on for those who have been considering the titles covered. Also, I just like reading about the creative process, so I’m happy to publish more diaries since I read them all during editing.

• BoardGameGeek now has a Bluesky account, so please follow us there to see the stuff that I used to post on the BGG Twitter account. (We’re still posting on Twitter right now, but hoo boy, I feel pretty much done with that site.)

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