CMON Feature Friday: Gaming Around the World

Board Gaming is quickly becoming a global pastime. So for this week’s CMON Feature Friday, we decided to look at the gaming cultures in different parts of the world. We talked to some experts in the hobby and got their opinions on what makes their gaming scene special and how it has evolved over the years in their part of the world. 

Melbourne, Australia 

Phoebe Wild has been board gaming most of her life, but you may have seen her most recently as a correspondent for Board Game Geek at major conventions and as the host of her review site: Cardboard Vault. She’s currently based out of Melbourne, but also has lived in Sydney and has experience with the board game scene in both cities. 

“Board games are my passion, so I take every opportunity to be involved in the community. I’m a regular player, am a member of many gaming groups that meet in or around the city, and attend as many local gaming cons as I’m able to,” said Wild.  

Australians are as ardent gaming fans as you’ll find anywhere, but because of the fact that most major publishers are on the other side of the world, it can be a pricey hobby. For board game fans down under, it’s necessitated some creativity in the way they get their games. 

Wild explains, “We have Facebook groups solely dedicated to organizing group Kickstarter pledges to make shipping just that bit more affordable (for reference, a standard big box game like Ticket to Ride sells for $90 AUD or $65 USD). If there’s anything unique about the gaming scene here, it’s probably that. From what I can tell, Australia is one of the most expensive countries to ship to.” 

None of that has dampened the enthusiasm of Australian gamers. If anything, it strengthens their resolve to game, in general. 

“The board game community in Australia is passionate and (for the most part) welcoming. People love playing games, sharing that time with friends, and introducing new players to the hobby. We have cons being run throughout the year, and people travelling from one end of Australia to the other just to attend. The cons are starting to sell out, and passionate gamers are starting up more of them each year,” 

The signs of a thriving industry are engaged consumers and new businesses opening up, and Australia is definitely trending in the right direction on both counts. 

 “More people are getting introduced to the hobby, and you can see the market’s increasing just from the number of new stores that are opening. Melbourne’s CBD has five stores within a few blocks of each other, and more online retailers are opening, as well, to meet the demand,” said Wild. 

“There’s also been huge growth in board game publishing and designing. Over the last few years, a handful of small Australian publishers have started up. Last year, one of the largest chains of stores and distributors (Good Games) opened a publishing branch as well.” added Wild. 

While Australia is still a small market in comparison to North America and Europe, it’s growing, and the positive sign is that the growth seems to be driven by the passion of the fans. 

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