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Sat May 18, 2019, 05:57 PM

Trump's trade war with China is causing major concerns in the tabletop game industry

President Donald Trump’s trade war with China is causing a panic inside the board game industry. A list of tariffs on Chinese imports proposed by the United States trade representative would raise the cost of virtually everything needed to produce modern tabletop games. John Stacy, executive director of the Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA), says that tariffs could dramatically reduce the number of new games in production in the United States. Even worse, they could cost workers and business owners their livelihoods.

GAMA is a non-profit organization that represents more than 1,000 companies in the hobby games industry. That industry includes board games, card games, dice, role-playing games, and miniatures games. It’s a sector that has seen remarkable growth over the last decade thanks to a number of factors. Among them is the birth of crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, but also a modern renaissance in board game design. Meanwhile the tabletop RPG sector, lead by Dungeons & Dragons and made viral by actual-play experiences, is more popular than ever before.

In total, Stacy says that hobby games now produce as much as $5 billion annually for the U.S. economy. But that number is now at risk thanks to Trump’s proposed tariffs.

“We’re very concerned about it,” Stacy told Polygon. “There’s been a lot of conversation among our members in the last two days about the impact of this and how it’s going. It’s potentially a 25 percent increase on the costs of importing products from China. We’d pass those increases on to the retailers, who would pass them on to consumers. And so there’s definitely this ripple effect in the economy.”


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