By Reyne Rice, Toy Trend Expert and Youth Market Specialist
First posted on the YourToyCom.com blog forum and community website serving the toys, games and childrens’ technology industries, on behalf of the Spielwarenmesse. Spielwarenmesse is the leading and largest International ToyFair in the world, held annually in Nuremberg, Germany in early February.
Another Social-Connected trend for gaming is emerging world-wide. A gaming trend I am seeing involves the concept of Everyone Plays Gaming, which ties into the social trend with Face-to-face interactions. Everyone Plays Gaming involves both social and strategic gaming where everyone plays simultaneously. Each player is engaged with the outcome of each turn. These games reduce the “wait time” between turns, provide an intensive game experience, and could involve consensus play, team play, cooperative play, or strategic play.
These games seem to be the especially relevant to the European market and are growing in popularity in the United States.At the Spielwarenmesse 2011 Toy Fair Nurnberg, I spotted some newer examples including Wobble Tilt the board balance and concentration skill game by Identity Games, and the new Boggle People family game from Hasbro.
Most Euro-Games (also called Serious Games) involve strategic play where any player’s turn can affect another’s next gaming move. This year the classic Labyrinth Game (Ravensburger) celebrates its 25th anniversary with a new twist, an electronic book component that makes some of the missions more visible to other players. This will undoubtedly change the dynamic of the game, where the path changes with each turn. Now the placement, blocking and planning of strategic forward-thinking moves may be more visible to your opponents, creating a more intense gaming experience.
Although Euro-Games have been around for centuries, this newer social and “Lite” version of gaming also allows for game interactions and Social Play for quick-play games. This allows families and younger children to engage with their siblings and parents on a more regular basis. In the USA, I know that families often reward children with a family night game-playing experience mid-week, to continue to create bonds for family connectedness.
In these busy times, when both parents are working outside the home, and children are engaged with sports, their studies and other activities, a quick round of gaming that can happen in 30 minutes or less is a welcome breath of fresh family time, in an otherwise busy week. I predict the popularity of these games will rise, as more families introduce these Social Everyone Plays games into their game libraries. There, they can exist alongside the more strategic games, for a full complement to a family’s game-playing experience.