board games

7 Facts That Prove Board Games Are Alive And Thriving

Whether you grew up in the 50s, 90s, or heck, 3000 BC, odds are that you played and enjoyed board games as a child — and quite possibly as an adult, too.

Games are universal, and in spite of the emergence of video and Internet games more recently, physical games continue to thrive, bringing a sense of joy and competition to families and friends of all persuasions.

Here are several reasons physical games aren’t going anywhere.

1. 2,000 – 5,000 new board games are published annually.

A Forbes’ article about Days of Wonder, a boardgames powerhouse begun by ex-software developers, explains how the company raised $600,000 only a year before generating $10 – $20 million in annual revenue.

The company has won several awards at Spiel des Jahres — which is basically the Oscar’s for board games — voted best among the thousands of other games produced each year.

2. Board games have long life cycles and are cost efficient.

Monopoly, which was the best selling board game when it was introduced in 1935, remains a best-seller in 2014. Popular games face less competition than, and are also more versatile than say, movies — and since players don’t always like to learn new rules, recognized games have seen continued success throughout the years.[contextly_auto_sidebar id=”xLaKecrXrx2HEPb84pekLziXEetKZJ0D”]

3. On Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites, $196 million was raised for tabletop games.

Tabletop games raised twice as much as video games in 2015.  On kickstarter alone, over $88 million was successfully raised to fund game projects, with backing from over 500,000 people.

4. In August 2014, Scrabble updated their dictionary to include 5,000 new words.

The inclusion of words like chillax, bromance, frenemy, and mojito is evidence that the popular word game holds popularity and is evolving with time, just like the English language.

5. Board game sales have been rising by about 20 percent each year for the past decade.

According to British game journalist Quinn Smith, in the last decade board game sales have risen 10 – 20 percent every year, attributing the growth to better quality games.

This board game renaissance, as he calls it, was enabled by the teaming up of European and American game makers. The marriage of European (especially German) design ethos and American storytelling, he says, has resulted in an explosion of great new games.

6. Nerdiness and nostalgia give board games a boost.

“Geek Culture” also boosts board game sales, and as nerdiness is becoming mainstream thanks to the popularity of shows like the Big Bang Theory, playing games is likewise embraced.

The same goes for the nostalgic attitudes of older people, along with the more ironic nostalgia of some young people (aka hipsters).

7. Technology complements the growth of board games.

Just as crowd-funding has been good for games, technology such as 3D printing, Internet reviewing, fast shipping, and digital counterparts help popularize games.

Games increasingly are bought and sold in both physical and digital format, for which digital versions actually drive physical sales. Some innovative games even involve mobile companion apps and other digital components.


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Jennifer Markert