• Por: Márcio Botelho
  • Publicado em: 21 de outubro de 2020

Board Games in Brazil


A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far way…

Sorry, wrong movie.

The board game history in Brazil isn’t too old, maybe a little bit far to Europeans or North Americans, but this trajectory is plenty of action, bold entrepreneurs and huge amounts of creativity.

Come with us!

A new habit

Old school board games, like Monopoly, Game of Life or Risk, are popular in Brazil since the 70’s. In the beginning this hobby was limited to a tiny Brazilian middle class because of the social inequality, several economic crises and a high level of illiteracy.

In the 90’s and in the first decade of 21st Century, We saw a more stable economy and a significant improve of wealth in Brazil. In this scenario the consume habits changed and the Brazilians started to spend more money on entertainment: movies, TV series, comic books and, of course, games.

Famous games like Catan and Carcassonne were launched during this period, but they were a curiosity in comic books store. Most recent games were rare, and probably only found in the house of a friend or a distant cousin who traveled abroad.

The things changed around 2013, when Zombicide, the classic amerigame created by Raphaël Guiton, Jean-Baptiste Lullien and Nicholas Raoult, was launched in Brazil and became an immediate success. The popularity of the theme, the beauty miniatures and a very friendly exchange rate, created a best seller. For many players, businessmen and shopkeepers it was a milestone to Brazilian market.

Seeking the famous games

During the next 3 or 4 years, many publishers, components factory and games shop were born in Brazil. Events, like Board Game São Paulo or Diversão Offline, attracted thousands of people and we saw a great number of YouTube channels, Facebook pages and Instagram Profiles dedicated to review and comment board games.

In the middle of the decade of 2010, Brazilian players received a lot of international launches: Azul, Terraforming Mars, Scythe and many others were launched almost simultaneously with the European and North American market.

Because of that, the level of demand in relation to quality of components, art and mechanics grew up quickly. This high level of demand forced Brazilian Publishers sought opportunities to buy and launch international games in Brazil: great titles with prizes and with proven quality represented a low risk bet in a competitive market.

Competitive game

On the other hand, the Brazilian game designers needed to make products with international quality to attend the demands of players and publishers. It was an unfair situation: European and North American game designers had at least 20 years of experience in board games production, a good time to develop high quality products.

In the beginning it was common some prejudice about Brazilian games, but year after year the game designers insisted in developing and producing. Small editions – with 500 copies or less – , crowdfunding and family or party games were good options to fortify the image of Brazilian games inside the country.

After lots of work, some troubles and much learning, today it’s possible to say: Brazilian market recognizes the talent and creativity of the Brazilian games. Recently, this quality has been noticed by other markets: Tsukiji, Cartographers and other games are great success around the world.

Creativity and oportunities

What is the mark of the Brazilian game design?

In the first place we can see the great creativity of the Brazilian people. Themes and mechanics can be recreated in different and innovative ways. The need to stand out makes our professionals think outside the box. If you play a Brazilian board game be prepared to innovation.

Other characteristic is the diversity of Brazilian culture. Brazil is a huge country made of different peoples: Native Americans, Africans and Europeans all contributed to create a cultural amalgam different of the sum of the parts. In the next years we will probably see a great number of games with this cultural diversity.

If you are a player, I strongly recommend to look carefully to  during I’m sure you won’t regreat it and will have lots of fun. If you are a foreign publisher, try to talk with Brazilian designers and editors, it is a good chance to make a great deal with a high quality and innovative product.

Márcio Botelho

Race: Human. Alignment: Chaotic Good Classes: Historian 6, literary critic 4 and Nerd 10. If you like board games, you've got a friend in me

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