Leaving a Mark in the Board Game World

When we released Decrypto, I gave myself the goal to reach the 300th position in the ranking at BoardGameGeek.com. I even dreamt of 200th place, without really believing it. I also told myself that if Decrypto didn’t make it to 500th position, I would give up this whole publishing gig!! Why? Without taking away anything from the other titles in our catalogue, Decrypto had the best potential to connect with the ‘connaisseur’ gamers (notice the quotation marks!) that often visit Board Game Geek, and who play hundreds of games. Our other top-sellers, Monster Chase, and J’te gage que… (I Betcha), don’t appeal to that crowd, despite selling 200,000 and 400,000 copies respectively. If Scorpion Masqué wasn’t able to get Decrypto to 300th place, we would have to be doing something wrong, perhaps without even knowing what… and there’s no room for improvement if we can’t identify our mistakes.

If Scorpion Masqué was born because I wanted to ‘live my passion’ for board games, there was also always an element of wanting more, as I outlined in our manifesto which I wrote in 2006. Amongst other things, I wanted to put Quebec on the board game map, and perhaps even leave a trace in the history of gaming here. You know how it is; all students of literature dream one day of seeing their works in the great literary anthologies that they so often consult…

Québec | Board Game | BoardGameGeek

I was also looking for a certain ‘symbolic capital.’ As cliché as this may sound coming from an idealist who flirted with poetry in the past, money can’t buy you everything. Obviously, achieving critical and popular success is not an easily-attainable dream. In the cultural sphere, the more we respond exactly to demand, the more we risk being quickly forgotten, like a passing fad; and the more we innovate, the more we distance ourselves from ‘the expectation horizon’ of the pubic, and run the risk of only being understood once we are gone, as was the case with some poets. It is along this fine line that I hope to walk. The recent success of Root demonstrates that this is, in fact, possible.

Today, Decrypto is in 2nd place in the list of the best party games (behind the giant Codenames), and in 115th place out of the 111,400 games in the Board Game Geek repertoire. And now I am dreaming of 100th place. And Zombie Kidz: Evolution has risen to first place in the kids’ games list at BGG. That one will have left its trace… You know, a little more of this, and I might even tell you to follow your dreams!

In any case, I’ve just shared with you a small part of my ‘Sociology of Literature’ course, and that is no small thing! :D

Christian Lemay's picture

Posted by Christian Lemay

Founder of Scorpion Masqué and "retired" literature teacher, Christian Lemay loves thinking about the board game medium, its cultural, commerical, and creative dimensions, and to share the fruits of these ruminations with the public.

About Scorpion Masqué

Founded in 2006, Scorpion Masqué is a Montreal board game publisher that offers games that are both simple and original: Zombie Kidz: Evolution, Decrypto, Stay Cool, Monster Chase, J'te gage que ... / Bluff Party, Miss Poutine ... Our games can be found in more than 20 languages, in over forty countries.