Asmodee buys Days of Wonder

News came out this week of Asmodee acquiring Days of Wonder. It should be interesting to see what changes, if any, this heralds for the board game industry. Initial impressions seem that a combined Asmodee/DOW should strengthen Asmodee’s digital capabilities as well as expanding their footprint in North America. Conversely, DOW gets better access (maybe more seamless?) to the European market and a huge catalog of games.

What is harder to say is what this might have to offer gamers. I have spent a lot of time in my careers in industries that have undergone tremendous consolidation over the past several years. In fact, I would be surprised if there are many industries that haven’t. In general though, I have rarely felt that those consolidations trickled down to any real tangible benefit for me.

So I don’t think lower prices should be expected, and I would actually hope that wouldn’t accelerate the DOW publishing schedule. To me, DOW is the Blizzard of board games – slow, deliberate releases but they are always high quality. You could perhaps even extend the analogy further to a similar  emphasis on high quality production and mass market appeal, eschewing high-end geek only products. I like the DOW release schedule – it fits my buying and playing style.

If better logistics makes more Asmodee and more DOW games available to people on both sides of the Atlantic (and around the world), well, that is a clear win for the gamer. I think both the network and perhaps additional capital could help keep more games in print and available and distributed in a manner to get to more of us quicker.

It seem to me, the real meat of the deal though is the digital capability of DOW. Asmodee has to be salivating at the thought of getting access to that experience and know-how. As has been noted many times, DOW is very successful with their digital games (at least in no small part because the games they are based on are good) and that success drives board game sales. Conversely, I am sure I am not the only board gamer who started with the tabletop versions and since purchased the digital as well. Asmodee has a great catalog of print titles and I would expect we’ll start to see more of their offering on app stores soon.

It will take months to even see the beginnings of how this acquisition will impact the land of board games. It will be interesting to watch and see how it develops. Consolidation often takes place in bunches, too. Will we see a handful, or even a rush, of these over the next year? We could wait and see. In the meantime, I think I want to play Ticket to Ride

I first saw this news reported on boardgamegeek.com and VentureBeat has a nice article as well.

Troyes early impressions

Setting up Troyes
Setting up Troyes

We had a great time with our play of Troyes. There were a few rule misinterpretations during the game, but we sorted them out without much trouble. For example, in the first turn, when a player was out of dice in their quarter, they didn’t make any further plays. However, we quickly realized our error and corrected it in subsequent turns.

The game was very strong, and was surprisingly well recieved by the group. I say surprisingly because not all of us are Euro-gamers. The great art and the variety of actions quickly pulled us all in.

Upon some reflection, the theme does feel pasted on. However, that really didn’t detract from the look of the game nor the quality of the gameplay.

An exceptional positive is the depth to this game. As all brand new players, we started to see goals and plays. However, not being familiar with the event, activity, and character cards, the play should deepen quite a bit as players become more familiar with the game. Adding that element of deduction to the game as well as speculating on what activities or events may or may not come up offers tremendous potential to an already strong game.

Nearing the end!
Nearing the end!