Tabletop gaming has been an exciting and intriguing concept since its genesis in the early seventies. It has always been a means of escape, a means of social interaction, and a means of interactive entertainment. Esports has seen the scope for gaming expand exponentially, leading to all new realms of fandom.
There is an allure of eSports, a competitive gaming scene that draws in hundreds of thousands of fans, it makes us feel adventurous and gives us a feeling of belonging to a greater community. Competitive multiplayer games allow the best players globally to gather together and compete for huge prize pots, and the crowds in attendance often rival major sports matches. It’s truly a sign of the times.
Entering The Inner Circle
The core collective of eSports titles has always been a tough nut to crack. Developers have to create a game that truly stands head and shoulders above its rivals to even be considered for a spot amongst the eSports elite. Just look at the innovative nature of Rocket League, Fall Guys, or Valorant for example. So with this in mind, it would almost be unthinkable that tabletop games would have a spot in this roster. Yet thanks to a demand for more cerebral eSports experiences, they might just crash the party.
Games such as Hearthstone, Gwent from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links have brought tabletop card game formats back into fashion. Offering a much more methodical but no less intense experience to the gaming population. So with this change in impetus, we pose the question, is there a spot for more conventional tabletop games at these events in the future?
In recent years the wonderful activity of tabletop games has only grown in popularity and become a more mainstream pastime. If you need evidence of that then you need only look at the laundry list of streaming channels, podcasts, conventions, and TV shows all dedicated to JUST Dungeons & Dragons. Tabletop gaming is an untapped market with enormous room for movement & potential. And it’s finally coming into the gaming spotlight and inviting the world in for a healthy dose of dice rolling, turn-based fun.
This swing in fortunes has us asking the question. ‘When will tabletop games be a part of the eSports community?’ If you think about it, they have all the key components needed to fit into the roster seamlessly. They are all competitive, nuanced, require skill and strategy and for even those watching the action, there is plenty of fun to be had. The only thing that’s missing is a technology that can harness the power of a tabletop community with the digital space.
A New Age Of Tabletop Gaming
Plenty of game developers are embracing the tabletop gaming format and coming up with titles that aim to cross the barrier between physical tabletop gaming and digital tabletop gaming. Auroch Digital released Mars Horizon: Blast Off, a game that leans heavily into the tabletop gaming culture, yet does so in a way that will feel natural to the casual gamer that picks up this title.
Developers such as Nomad Games and Direwolf Games have been producing digital tabletop crossovers with great success. The experience feels fluid, the key aspects of a classic tabletop affair are not lost in translation and most importantly, the games are varied and fun.
Battling For Supremacy
The key issue holding back the tabletop craze from becoming a part of the mainstream esports collective is simple. The digital versions of these games are just scratching the surface of their true potential. Developers are trying to finesse the formula and create a comprehensive experience that can rival the triple-A titles out there at the moment.
Then of course, you have the games that aim to provide an experience similar to D&D through combining this approach with that of the classic 90’s RPG format. Crowdfunded games such as Wasteland or Pillars of Eternity serve as great examples of games bringing tabletop tropes into the gaming landscape seamlessly.
An Advocate For Change
While many developers would be happy dipping their toes into the tabletop gaming ring, not all are happy with the current state of tabletop gaming. There are companies and individuals out there that want to challenge the marquee video games for their respective spots in the esports roster. It is clear that tabletop gaming has the potential to stand amongst the other titles in this field. The issue is the infrastructure around the games available. It is difficult for players to come together online and play these titles with as much ease and convenience, as say, a popular FPS. Well, that’s where Gameboard steps in.
This device offers a one-stop shop for all things tabletop gaming. You will find a marketplace jam-packed with all the best examples of digital tabletop gaming. Plus, you’ll have access to the dedicated community of players that they have garnered, so you can play online with all these loyal tabletop fans with no need for intense organization or admin to do so. Just jump into the game of your choice, bring along your pals, and prepare for a brilliant tabletop experience with a one board fits all approach.
The Start Of Something Beautiful
Developers are finally starting to embrace tabletop games. Devices such as Gameboard are offering a platform for fans to use, gather, and socialize. Overall, the phenomenon of digital tabletop gaming needs to naturally ease its way into the eSports sphere. So keep your eyes peeled, tabletop gaming is coming to mainstream gaming, just wait and see.
So that is our rundown on the viability of tabletop gaming in eSports. What do you think? Do you think tabletop games have a place on the esports roster? What tabletop games do you think translate best to the digital format? Let us know in the comments below and as always, thank you for reading.
Shail Mehta — CEO & Founder The Last Gameboard