The spoiler warning at the end of my last toot stream is the clue that it didn't happen, however. The window snapped shut, finally, with the creation of at least half a dozen "design houses" at two or three game publishers.
These new publishers are pros. They publish attractive games with both in-house designs and designs purchased from external design houses.
Components are of the highest quality for the genre (which is understandable: they're going to the same factories western companies go to for production). Game designs are getting more "modern" with area movement being favoured over hex movement for larger-scale games, and chit-pull favoured over phased turn for smaller-scale games.
The age of professional wargames publishers and designers has arrived, and it's too late for American publishers to have any meaningful impact any longer.
Because it's not just a matter of quality. DIY gamers were ardent fans of games with low quality pieces, after all. They *prefer*, naturally, to have attractive games, but in the end it's the games that count, right?
No, the real thing that has made American games irrelevant now is that Chinese publishers are publishing games on battles and events of interest to Chinese consumers. They're not just Chinese history (Kiev and Yugoslavia, recall), but they're China's worldview.
Chinese publishers making wargames was inevitable because of this difference of focus, but had American publishers not been so foolishly standoffish, bizarrely telling CHINESE people there was no market for their games in CHINA, they could have had a good ten-year run, likely, of getting free money in co-publishing/translation deals.
Instead they threw it all away, and while *some* American games do get co-published now, they're in the minority. The horse has escaped the barn.
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