Updated: May 23
If you were there at our first Asian Board Games Festival (ABGF) in Singapore two weeks ago, chances are you played an average of three Asian board games. And that’s a big deal: just like there’s a finite number of meals we can have in one day/month/year/lifetime, there’s a finite number of games we can play before we die. For the Origame team, the Festival showed us three things:
Firstly, as a proof of concept, ABGF revealed a healthy appetite for Asian board games in Singapore. An early concern revolved around turnout. Fresh from TOBEXPO 2019 and the designers we met there, we had a short month to pull together a roster and publicise the event. But would anyone come for a festival focused exclusively on board games designed in Asia?
Secondly, ABGF demonstrated the appeal that Asian board games can have for the young and the old, local gamers and non-gamers alike.
Board games are more than just tools for entertainment. They’re cultural artifacts in their own right that express the social and cultural milieu of their creators. But would people see Asian board games in this light, and show up to experience Asia and Asian-ness through this art form?
Yes and yes.
Finally, ABGF gave us a vision of what next year’s Festival could look like. This year, we had seven design labels from five countries. We could have had more designers participate but given how spontaneously the Festival took shape and its proximity to Essen Spiel happening this week, many others declined for lack of time and resources. Would they come to ABGF next year?
We’ve started planning for a bigger Asian Board Games Festival next year - slated for the later half of 2020 - with more Asian board games, designers, and play areas to try out new releases.
A big thank you to IMPIXEL for sharing your venue space with us, and the good people from Board Game Academy, Saashi & Saashi, The Floor is Adventures, Taiwan Boardgame Design (TBD), and our game-masters for setting a precedent!
If you missed out on the Festival or would like to get your hands on a featured Asian board game from that night, check out the board games from TBD and Saashi & Saashi in our webstore, going at 10% off for the month of October 2019!