I picked up Fantasy Flight Games’ Imperial Assault after hearing one of my good friends staying hyped about it.
It occurred to me that there’s been a rush of these sorts of games, and how they effectively cut out a section of the tabletop market much in the same way Arkham Horror does Call of Cthulhu.
Of course, the idea that minis based short tactical boardgames would fill a niche of minis-based tactical RPG play isn’t as far of a jump as a boardgame taking over for simulationist play. Short play, with a few minutes prep, clear objectives, clear goals, and balanced scenarios are all things that these boardgames have that you can often find lacking in RPGs that aim for similar gamist goals.
I suspect this is also why the dungeoncrawling crowd of tabletop games ends up pushing hard on things like custom maps, custom rules, and rules that focus more on creative input – the space for games that don’t highlight the value of a living, creative person in front of you is taken between videogames and dungeoncrawl boardgames.