Wednesday, May 28, 2008

First Look at Tabletop Games Sites and Categorization

I'm doing research on tabletop gaming sites and blogs other than board game sites and blogs. The research is very preliminary, but even now I'm beginning to see new patterns in the tabletop gaming world that I've hitherto only vaguely perceived.

As a general idea, here's what the online tabletop gaming world looks like (sorry for no examples, yet):

- A single classic game, such as Chess and Go. Backgammon and Dominoes are seen as gambling games like poker (see below). These sites cover detailed analysis of played games, online play, tournaments and top players, and sometimes sets and pieces. These sites cross-link only to other sites covering the exact same game.

- A single classic game, such as Mancala or Pachisi. These sites usually give historical information, product overviews and reviews, and occasional tournament information. These sites cross-link to other sites covering the same topic, as well as to general and academic sites regarding abstract games.

- Multiple classic games. These sites give historical and cultural analysis of the games. These sites link to similar sites, historical and academic sites, a few well-known single classic game sites, and a few sites of general board game interest, such as Board Game Geek or the (defunct) Game Cabinet.

- Abstract games, modern and classic. These sites review older and new games. They link to other abstract game sites, and some general sites.

- Multiple modern "Euro" games, such as Settlers of Catan. These sites cover sessions, reviews, analysis of game design, and game industry information. These sites link only to other Euro game sites. Very rarely, they link also to war game or miniature game sites. Very rarely, there is a single Euro game site.

- Multiple mainstream games, such as Monopoly. These sites are nearly all created to make advertising income, have little interesting content and link to no one. A few, even more pathetic single game sites also briefly exist.

- Multiple American style games, such as Axis and Allies. Very few of these exist, and they are similar to Euro game sites. They link to other sites of modern board gaming interest, including Euro game sites, and some war game and miniature sites.

- Single war game genre, such as WWII games; very rarely single war games. These sites detail game sessions, old and new products, conventions, and historical background information. They link to sites and publishers in the same genre, and occasional RPG and miniature sites in the same genre.

- Multiple war game genres. These sites review games and products, contain forums, and link to single game genre sites, other war game sites, and occasionally other board game or miniature sites.

- Single miniature games, such as Warhammer 40k. Miniature sites based around a game include news about the game and company, pictures of the minis, tournament info, and session reports. They link to other sites featuring the same game.

- Multiple miniature products grouped by size, such as 6mm, or 25mm. These sites feature pictures and painting examples, occasionally from the minis in play, but rarely ever about the play itself. They are more about history and artwork. They link to sites in the same size, and general miniature game sites, producers, painters, and distributors.

- Multiple miniature products grouped by genre, such as WWII, scifi, fantasy. The same as multiple miniatures grouped by size, except they link to their own genre.

- A single role playing game product or system, such as Dungeons and Dragons or d20. Posts about the company's products, news, variants, conventions, and session reports. They link to the main product line, and sites in the same space.

- Multiple RPGs grouped by genre, such as fantasy or science fiction. They post about new products, conventions, session reports, and occasional analysis. They link to others in the same space, and occasionally miniature or war games in the same genre.

- Multiple RPGs. They post about news, industry news, analysis, and computer equivalents. They link to other multiple RPG sites and occasionally board or CCG sites.

- Single collectible card game site, such as Magic: the Gathering. These sites pant for new releases and spoilers, analyze cards and deck types, report on conventions and top players, and give session reports. They link to sister and company sites, as well as other CCG sites. They also link to online versions of the game and other games by the same company. There are few multiple CCG sites.

- Single card game sites, such as Texas Hold'em or Bridge. Play analysis, tournaments and top players. They link to similar sites and online play.

- Multiple poker card games (also Backgammon, Dominoes, and dice games). They discuss online sites, tournaments and top players, as well as analysis. They link to online play sites.

- Multiple non-poker card games are few and far between. They discuss rules, variants, and history. They may link to each other.
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