To understand the origins of this trend, we took a look at the figures. There were virtually no campaign-based board games before Descent’s The Road to Legend expansion (2008), with some noticeable exceptions: its ancestor Doom (2004), and 1980’s bestsellers Heroquest and Sp…
Au contraire — there have been campaign-based wargames since the late 1960s, in which a series of scenarios covering an entire campaign during a war would be fought in succession, with the starting forces available to the players in each scenario dependent on the outcome of the previous scenario. This enabled players to take an entire unit from, for instance, the beaches of Normandy all the way to crossing the Rhine, or a unit in Napoleon’s army from Italy to Austria to Prussia.
Much like Kickstarter’s idea of crowdfunding and pre-orders, the rest of the board game industry is a few decades late in catching up to the innovations of the wargamers, while simultaneously patting themselves on the back for their false originality.
Wargaming is a niche within a niche, and a small one at that. But it’s been filled for years with smart, innovative, creative, and forward-looking minds that have paved the way for a lot of the design and business ideas that are only just now starting to find wide acceptance. And as usual, the wargamers are ignored because they just aren’t cool enough to get the attention of pop culture aesthetes who think they’ve stumbled onto something “new”.