One thing that has changed in my experiences with design contests as that I have to make sure I download any files I want to look at before the contest is over.
That’s because more and more often, files get taken done so the designer can pursue monetizing their game one way or another. And, while I’m out for all the free files I can get my grubby little hands on., I can’t complain :D
It is their intellectual property after all. And getting published has to be the dream of most game designers. And, while I might have to pay Kris attention to contest dates, I think the overall quality of the games is going up, which makes paying attention worth it.
Looking back, the first design contest I seriously looked at was the 2015 18-Card Contest. A format that I don’t even think exists any more. And I’d say there has been noticeable shifts in the overall PnP culture since then.
I think straight up digitally selling PnP files has become a stronger business model. And in particular, Roll and Write PnPs have gotten bigger market share. Don’t get me wrong, PnP is still a niche but it has grown as a niche.
When I first looked at PnP at all (which was longer ago than 2015), my vague memories were that that a lot of what was for sale was war games and 18XX kits. Either one of those is a big crafting production.
Compared to that, a lot of Roll and Writes are print out a sheet and add dice. I could be entirely wrong but I feel PnP has attracted a more casual audience.
And since I’m more of a casual audience member, that works for me.