Every other week Scott Jon Siegel contributes Off the Grid, a column on gaming away from the television screen or monitor.
Oh Barnes & Noble, what happened to you? Less than a year ago, your halls were flush with all the greatest board games, in honor of National Games Week. You carried Carcassonne. You sold Settlers of Catan. You retailed Robo Rally. Now, any semblance of that respect for the non-digital medium has gone out the window. Pictured above, witness the horror that is the Barnes & Noble "board game" selection.
The larger Barnes and Noble locations have always been more than happy to stock a few shelves with board games. The problem is that they're wary to stray from what will absolutely, positively sell. The result is an odd mix of familiar faces: Monopoly, Sorry!, Scrabble, Life, but also Spiderman, Transformers, Shrek, Friends, Grey's Anatomy. It's the worst kind of franchising: the kind that leads to an utter homogeny. It's clear that Barnes & Noble needs a gaming enema. Let's dig a little deeper to figure out hot to do it.