Gaming Goldmine

Phalgun Polepalli, DICE Toy Labs
Board games in India are on a path to epic growth, and there are many factors paving the way.

The Indian games market is fuelled by the growing middle class and their purchasing power is growing too. A quarter of the Indian population is between three to 12 years of age, and with both Gen-Z and Millennials getting a lot of exposure to pop culture, board games are finding their way onto the table in many homes.

Designers are also finding there is infinite content yet to be tapped when it comes to bringing Indian culture and stories to life in board games and a few have embraced self-publishing.

The wider board gaming community is also growing, with many cafes and gaming groups popping up all over India, and a noticeable rise in social-media content based around the playing and designing of games.

Well, you might be wondering, then: what’s the roadblock for a country-wide adoption of games? If the target market is there, why isn’t India a major player on the world stage when it comes to board games, and game design?

The game design community itself is growing rapidly in India. We’re seeing graduates from design schools across the country embrace game design, and anyone that’s passionate about the craft are being welcomed into the community every day.

At DICE Toy Labs, we’re among only a handful of companies designing and publishing games in India. We’ve found the four main things that are holding India back are: a lack of games, a lack of suppliers for games, a lack of publishers and a lack of knowledge and contacts for budding designers.

We have found solutions for some of these, and some we’ve already implemented, but we know that the Indian design scene needs support to reach its full potential.

So, what are the key factors that we think can fuel board game consumption in India? Simply put: we need more board game publishers. We think we need at least 10 here in India to help fuel noticeable growth in this sector.

We have lots of game designers creating lots of concepts, but someone has to pick these concepts up and push them into the market. For this, we need international publishers – both hobby and mass market – to look to India for new concepts; engage with Indian game designers, give them access to wishlists and other useful material and be open to pitches from this community. It will make a huge difference.

International publishers could kick-start relationships by engaging with board game events in India, like MeepleCon. Awareness on the tabletop side could also be improved by producing and publishing Spiel De Jahres-winning games in India.

In short, India is a goldmine when it comes to great game ideas and talented designers… We’re here and we’re ready to connect!

The Indian board game consumer…

Here’s a small note to international publishers interested in engaging with the Indian market:

• Indian families want a good family game that plays for 60 minutes at a minimum and boasts a fun theme.

• Games with player interaction, strategy, problem-solving and engine building mechanisms are popular, like Ticket to Ride, Splendor and Azul.

• India is not like other countries; Indians prefer their content to be in English. There is a common misconception that games should be in Hindi to be launched successfully in India, but Gen-Z and Millennials are very fluent in English, and in many cases English has become their first language.

• As well as mass-market opportunities, the hobby gaming community is also growing rapidly. This community, however, relies on getting games brought over from abroad with the help of friends or family. Why? Customs is very high, hence the suggestion to produce locally.

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