Thursday, March 31, 2011

LDS themed games not catching on

8:36 AM by Mike ·
A recent post on the BYU Universe website (here) talks about the fact that LDS-inspired games are not catching on. Daphna (the author) talks about the Wilkinson Student Center at BYU and how students are able to check games out (for FREE!). The library at the student center does not contain a single LDS-themed game (I better get them a copy of Hagoth).

Some choice quotes, talking about LDS-themed games, from the article:

Joy Hopkins (one of the employee who works in the Wilkinson Student Center) said: “Some people here embrace corny Mormon things. Some people don’t. Not enough people think it’s cool or fun.”

Jacob Mecham (a sophomore at BYU studying music) said: “I think they’re copouts. I just think we shouldn’t buy games just because they’re Mormon-themed.”

Patrick O'Sullivan (owner of Games People Play in the University Mall) said: “Board games are competitive. You have to have a plan to win. That’s what people like best. People perceive Mormon board games as not as competitive or great strategy games, more educational about scriptures and skewed to a younger audience.”

This displays for us a clear perception, held by many people, that LDS-themed games are corny, poorly designed/conceived, non-competitive, and usually made for a younger audience. Why are there not more good, quality LDS-themed board games?

I agree with the points from the article. Most LDS-themed games have been remakes of already published games. A lot of them are rather corny or sometimes childish. I've also seen a lot of trivia based games, not that trivia games don't have their place, but it's like Patrick said, "more educational about scriptures." When I see an LDS-themed trivia game, I think to myself, "this game is just trying to teach me about the scriptures."

What, if anything, can be done to help change this state of affairs? Is there a way that this perception can be transformed into something different, even better?

What do you think?


Xerron said...
March 31, 2011 at 10:14 AM

I can certainly see the point. In casual observation, I have also seen re-makes from already well established games. The thought is interesting, but the effort is not all there. Again, from a casual standpoint, copy-cat games are not as appealing as the originals.

Mike said...
March 31, 2011 at 10:22 AM

I agree. I have thoughts about why it is that copy-cats are made, for instance, it's easier, all you have to do is figure out how to retheme it and then get artwork done.

Is the market just not big enough? Is that why not many have dedicated effort to producing original LDS-themed games? I would have to say that that is not the case, I mean, several LDS-themed games have sold over 10,000 copies. That's a success in board games for sure.

Dannon Loveland said...
March 31, 2011 at 10:52 AM

It seems that people buy LDS-themed media (movies, books, music, etc.) because they are perceived as being wholesome and uplifting. Board games don't have a negative connotation, so if people are going to purchase a board game there is no need to search out one that is LDS-themed.

Mike said...
March 31, 2011 at 10:54 AM

Very interesting thought Dannon. I think I would tend to agree with you. Maybe that is why the more "childish" or games aimed at kids are what the LDS games are perceived to be because parents are more likely to buy for their kids than seek out an LDS-themed game for themselves.

Mark Hansen, LDS games said...
April 5, 2011 at 7:04 PM

Mike has seen this before, but I thought it would make a good additional comment here. A long, long time ago, I posted a blog about this very topic:

As one who has attempted to create LDS-themed games, it's not easy. There are a lot of constraints, and it's tough to invest the required money at such a risk.

Anonymous said...
March 22, 2012 at 5:21 PM

hi, i live in australia and am always on the search for lds themed board games and want to know where to get them...i have downloaded games for my grandchildren onto my i-pad but like hard sets to take camping etc...thanks for talking about this

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