You may remember that not long ago I commented on the apparent insanity of certain minimum ages as printed on game boxes. Specifically in this case the fact that there is no way I would reckon Citadels needs to be played by 14+ year olds.
Well, Miss B and I had a very pleasant detour to the excellent Gameskeeper shop on Cowley Road, Oxford (I haven’t been there for something like a decade and am somewhat embarrassed about that because it is such a good shop) and as part of a chat with the lovely Carol, she imparted some information on this matter. There are loads of rules about safety and suitability of toy and game components, and it would appear that some of these are such that making it clear that the product is not suitable for under-14s will make some of the testing and certification either less onerous or not necessary. (Apologies to Carol if I am misrepresenting her — any inaccuracies are almost certainly my fault.)
This sounds sadly plausible. I guess that if this means that manufacturers can get better value games to us, that is great, but the recommended ages for games are often shaky anyway, so devaluing their usefulness even more is a pretty poor show. After all, not all shoppers check The Geek (or even know about its existence) for more information before purchasing or have an expert sitting in the shop to give you advice. Perhaps we should campaign for some way to give better information to prospective buyers.
That said, I don’t have many ideas myself…