This week sees the continued dominance of the Settlers of Catan game and expansions on Amazon.com. In the previous post, Settlers and its expansion occupy 6 of the top 20 selling board games on Amazon, and it is half of the top 10.
The board game industry refers to Settlers as a Gateway game. Meaning that it introduces new players into the board game hobby, allowing them to expand to more complex games after mastering a Gateway game. Other Gateway games include Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne.
The Game Whisperer disagrees with this position. Settlers of Catan has moved beyond the Gateway label and is rapidly moving into the mainstream, becoming a classic game on par with Monopoly, Risk, and Scrabble.
This dominance is also pulling along other board games, but not the board game industry as a whole. Instead, those games that appeal to the same elements as Settlers are attracting the same buyers.
Dominion's presence in the top 10 reflects a different market than Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, and Carcassonne. Dominion, while not being combat or conflict focused, nevertheless, does not create a sense of event gaming. Instead, each person plays their own game with minimal interaction. This type of gaming is more geared toward the male dominated segment of the game market. Oftentimes former Magic:The Gathering players will be attracted to Dominion while Settlers of Catan players will find little to interest them.
Ticket to Ride's movement in the top 20 reflects a steadiness, with the shifting of positioning resulting from the increase or decrease in popularity in other games and little change on the sales success of Ticket to Ride customers. Days of Wonder should continue to be pleased with the steadiness of this game, which succeeds in bringing new players into contact with their other games which appeal to the same kind of buyer and player.