Now that the first decade of the new century & millennium is past, Dave & I reflected on what that ten-year span meant for boardgames. Back in late 2007 he & I recorded a "decade+1" retrospective for episode #75, but that had a little different focus. For that earlier show, we tried to talk about our own introduction and growth in the hobby, like what games we first learned about & played, how we used rec.games.board for scraps of information, the importance of Sumo magazine and The Game Cabinet website, etc.
For this show now, we're talking about a different time period (somewhat), and about the games themselves that are notable. What do the titles that were successful in the "oughts" tell us about the direction the hobby is going? Sales figures might be the most important data for this sort of discussion, but those aren't available. Instead, I drew from critical & popular reaction, as evidenced by Boardgamegeek ratings and boardgame awards (especially Spiel des Jahre).
I came away thinking there was a pattern emerging, especially in the latter half of the decade. I'm seeing a resurgence of some deeper, more analytic and longer duration games that took a back seat while publishers chased the commercial success associated with a family-friendly Spiel des Jahres winner. (I imagine even the games that were nominated for an SdJ get a healthy boost in sales. Don't they still get to put that recommendation sticker from the SdJ jury on their boxes?) Maybe some of the other game awards that reward deeper games have had an influence, or maybe the continued growth of the Spiel at Essen and its increasingly international new publishers can be credited.