It’s no PAX, but Steam has decided to jump into the online convention trend with the Digital Tabletop Fest
Well, if I had realised this earlier, I probably would have included it with things I was looking forward to this month. That’s right – Steam is holding the Steam Digital Tabletop Fest beginning October 21st.
Lately, I have been playing a lot of digital board games. It’s the only reason why I am even coming close to completing 250 games this year.
The last couple of years, I have been looking at digital board game adaptions become better and better. There have always been some gems that stood out, like Elder Sign: Omens and Potion Explosion. But lately, games like Gloomhaven, Terraforming Mars, Blood Rage, and even Charterstone have come across to the digital world. You can see how much I love Blood Rage here and in its constant appearance in Last Week’s Gaming.
I have really been looking forward to a few digital takes on games, some of which have unfortunately cancelled. One, in particular, was the video game version of Mansions of Madness.
OK, so there are digital board games. What’s new about that?
Not a lot. But what is new is Steam has announced a new online festival targeting these digital board games. Hence, the very descriptive Digital Tabletop Fest.
What makes this event unique is the focus on digital board games, and board games that have implemented video games.
Steam has managed to get some great panels together. There are ‘standard’ panels, such as talking to the Gloomhaven digital developers. Some fun ones are dealing with themes, such as Mars and Cthulhu.
One panel (or possibly series of discussions) I am looking forward to is a panel with members from space agencies talking about games on Mars. It will be great to hear how much effort went into making games like Terraforming Mars ‘accurate’, and what liberties were taken for gameplay.
It doesn’t look like a lot is happening? That’s not much content for five days.
This is a first for Steam (or more accurately Valve), and I expect a few hiccups and false starts. I am not saying this to be critical – I think this is a great idea, and wish it could have happened sooner! But every event has teething issues, and I would love to see Steam continue to support this niche in such ways for years to come.
My understanding (no inside info) is that a lot of this is still being organised behind the scenes. Logically, companies like Asmodee Digital are involved, just nothing is announced yet. It’s also possible such companies are taking a wait and see approach. This is a first for Steam, but also a first to my knowledge for the genre as a whole.
So, with any luck, the Steam Digital Tabletop Fest will be a success and happen again next year. I will definitely be looking with interest.
Until next time,