Importance of narratives in table top gaming
A steady rise has begun in table top gaming, which can be linked to the increased awareness of gaming through online forums and social media. There has become a larger sense of community in being able to discuss a personal engagement with particular games. I would argue that part of this has been the increase in narrative style table top games, both those being released by large corporations such as the Arkham Horror and Betrayal at House on the Hill style games, but also smaller kickstarters and independent games, such as the beautiful Dreamwell, and smaller games like Stuff and Nonsense. Narratives do not need to be complete directed stories, but also the invitation to engage in story telling, such as in the Fiasco style games. Regardless of type part of their success is that there is a narrative in place, it takes it from being something very generic into becoming an immersive experience.
It would be interesting to discuss what are some of the latest trends in narrative styles or content, what are the most popular types of narratives that have endured and where we think narratives in games is heading next.
Co-operative gaming has changed the face of table top games
With the increased market share of Euro Style table top games (TTG), which typically emphasize collaborative and strategy based game play, a mainstreaming of TTG has occurred. The success of launching independent or related games through crowd founding sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo indeed appear to support that a tangible popularity in TTG can be mapped financially and through social media. This can also be seen in the rise in popularity of streaming shows such as ‘Table Top’ hosted by Wil Wheton, which rather than more niche gaming such as RPGs has placed an emphasis on "family" appropriate and collaborative game play. Even low level concept games such as ‘Cards Against Humanity’ have become known as "gateway games" that encourage non-gamers into becoming avid TTGs. However, is the rise due to this increased popularity of collaborative gaming or simply due to the social media format of sharing in common activities? Have co-operative games really changed the face of TTG or is this just a fad?