The SU&SD Effect

As I write, Bargain Basement Bathysphere is at #1 in the BGG Hotness list, ahead of Wingspan, Gloomhaven, Ankh, The Crew, etc.

5 Likes

I always check this site where they show how the top 100 boardgames on BBG fluctuate. It is always fun to see if SU&SD managed to promote some game to a higher a place.

The rise of Brass Birmingham for example coincides somewhat with their review. Another quick rising star the reviewed was Nemesis, but here it is obvious (looking at the timeline) that they rather jumped on the bandwagon than getting it to move.

2 Likes

Yes, it has been remarked upon. I think there was a link somewhere to their effect on sales figures…

1 Like

I remember when this was first the Tabletop effect, as Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop show on Geek & Sundry was always followed by a burst of sales for the game featured that week. This was before I was on BGG, or even really watched any SU&SD. That of course petered out as the show ended after 4 seasons, and there were long months between seasons with nothing new.

5 Likes

Indeed. My perception was that Tabletop went downhill quite sharply in season 3 (perhaps because of the infamously punishing ten-day production schedule), but I have history getting annoyed with Wil’s smug expression (by most accounts he’s very pleasant in person) and once I started finding it irksome I couldn’t really stop. 3 was also the season when it was made quite clear that the choices were “games the producers were offered” rather than “games Wil likes”.

I gather there was a disagreement between Wil and the new owners of Geek & Sundry, which is why they haven’t made any more. They are still doing occasional Game the Game, with even more minor celebrities than Tabletop could manage; but at the very least they have good rules explanations.

But fortunately by then I’d found Starlit Citadel, less a review channel and more of a demo pitch but they did a good job of saying “here’s why you might like/not like this game”; and SU&SD. And now NPI; I really like the thoughtfulness they put into their reviews.

3 Likes

Yeah, you could tell by the rules mistakes they started making that these were not games that Wil or any of the people played regularly. I know some people also soured on it when Wil basically threw someone under the bus, blaming them for the egregious rules errors, which true or false could have been handled better. I do miss the show though, as it was entertaining for the most part and did show off a number of games that interested me and I eventually picked up.

I can honestly say that I would not be the board game aficionado I am today if not for Tabletop.

2 Likes

Same here, Tabletop got me into the hobby, as many others. Titansgrave (the RPG show Wil hosted) also got me into TTRPGs. I understand he’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I think it was consistently enjoyable if you didn’t look at the comments :stuck_out_tongue: I would still love it to come back under some other name someday, but until that time (and even after) I’ll enjoy the Brit boys reviewing games.

3 Likes

Yeah, I thought the first two seasons of Tabletop were great, and they certainly guided my primary game-acquisition phase.

1 Like

BGG Hot

Guess what two games have been today on SUSD News…

4 Likes

Fair point, but I think they were already on the pointless hot list

1 Like

That Hot List is like the most exaggeratedly hyped list in the world, isn’t it?

4 Likes

I like to call it the Hypeness List for that exact reason. When I was less into boardgames (than I feel I am now) I would look at the Hotness list and check out the games on it and I didn’t know it only represented recent clicks due to someone talking about it…

3 Likes

I have thought about this before: the temptation for SUSD to do sponsored reviews and write-ups on games must be significant. I realize that a major part of the reason why the site has so much influence is because readers trust their opinion is unadulterated by publishers but the revenue they could gain from a pivot is likely significant. SUSD should be applauded for sticking to their values amidst their success

4 Likes

Welcome @monkeyFunk!

(I feel there should be music?)

Su&SD have gone the Kickstarter/Shux route, and I feel that means they could never be sponsored.

2 Likes

I think, presented with dire circumstances, they have the capacity to “sell out” but that would be the first step in “cashing out” the brand - it would be a downward spiral afterwards as their audience lost interest in what would turn to shilling.

The fact that they could and they don’t is the most important thing to me. Journalistic ethics and integrity are rare these days and SU&SD never seem to lose sight of that.

3 Likes

Indeed. I often disagree with their opinions and analyses, but I have some idea of where they are coming from: they like X and dislike Y so as a result they like game Z more than I will.

When I see someone like UndeadViking on a Kickstarter page these days it puts me off the campaign. Yeah, we know he’ll praise anything you send him. So… you’re hoping your buyers are people who don’t know that? You just wanted to fill in the bit in the template where it said “videos go here”?

2 Likes

This was one of the many factors that has put me off backing stuff on Kickstarter. The hundredth time you see the same 2 or 3 YouTuber Apparatchiks pushing a huge campaigns from someone you’ve never heard of then the whole thing starts to loose it’s attraction.

I do kind of worry that with the likely cancellation or massive reduction of SHUX it’s going to make things uncomfortable tight. I hope that they either go with another Kickstarter later in the year or maybe go the Patreon route like NPI have done.

5 Likes

I have no idea about the “facts” of the matter (I’m not the type of person who usually bothers with fiddly things like that!), but it is my impression that most conventions are essentially “break-even” affairs. They rarely (if ever) are net-positive gain income for the organizers; typically any ‘profits’ would be set aside to front next-year’s expenses.

4 Likes

Certainly the main concern among the fannish convention organisers I know has been how to cancel without the venue keeping the fees while the organisers have to offer refunds - thus the delays while venue and organisers attempt to out-wait each other.

1 Like