Are Board games making a comeback?

Are they more popular then ever?

Why are more and more games being produced each year?

When do I start talking about board games and its rise in popularity one comment that gets made a fair bit every time is really like monopoly or scrabble those types of board games?

I can’t think of anything worse!

— Everybody thats never played a modern board game

To which I quickly answer no not like that at all and try to explain the nuances of modern board games with the hope that their eyes don’t roll into the back of there head.

Maybe just maybe they will listen and discover a whole new world.

This rarely happens however and we usually move on quickly only for them to come back to me 6 months to 5 years later and tell me about this amazing game “codenames/insert popular game published after 1950 here” they played last night at a party.

So with this in mind, I hope you would take a moment to explore and answer a question with me are board game making a comeback and is it worth exploring some of these new games?

Today’s Question: Are Board Games Making a Comeback?

So Data Time.

In 2019 Board Game Sales in North America have reported having risen from 920M in 2014 to 1.68B Source

Now for any industry to be making 920m is a lot but to nearly double it.

It’s a staggering number when you take the time to think about it, the amount of board games sold has nearly doubled in 5 years.

Something interesting is really happening in the board game industry if people are buying more stuff.


So I think it’s worth spending some time to explore some of the interesting stuff that has happened over the last few years in the board game industry and why I think that board games might be making a comeback.

The Games are Changing

The North American sales figures become even more staggering when you add this theory and think about the fact that most people will only ever buy a single board game once, maybe twice if you have young children.

That’s a lot of new games sold and that’s because the board game industry is constantly full of new exciting games.

Nobody will disagree with the idea that since 1995 when Settlers of Catan was released and the introduction of Ticket to Ride in 2004 the Board Game industry has been changing.

Let’s call this the Catan Effect Because it doesn’t really have a name. Also, it sounds cool and Kristen bell likes Catan so it must be cool right?

The Catan Effect

The Increase for Board Game demand has only seen growth over the last few years with a study out of Europe finding that board games and puzzles grew in revenue from $9.3 billion in 2013 to $9.6 billion by 2016.

This adds to the existing North Amerian figures and helps me establish my point about growth.

Thanks, Europe!

The growth in Europe, however, isn’t just stopping there, as board games and puzzles are expected to yield a 1 per cent sales growth rate year-over-year. Source Euromonitor International

This Figure has also been influenced by the number of games being produced each year something for the illustrating of this I will call the Catan Effect.

Data From Authors Website
The Catan Effect

The days of Monopoly and Candyland dominating the board game industry are fading and new games are being released more than ever before.

The games have changed and the medium for publishing along with it.

Board games are dominating Kickstarter campaigns releasing record-breaking games like exploding kittens With 219,382 backers, this game became the most-backed Kickstarter project of all time! It more than doubled the previous record of 105,857, held by its predecessor Reading Rainbow. Source

The days of board games like Monopoly and Candyland dominating the board game industry are slowly fading and a new group of board games have been trickling into the mainstream consciousness setting a higher standard for the board game industry with more games being released each year than ever before.

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The Board Game Data Chat

We can even go back further all the way to 1975 to see that the amount of games produced in this era has increased to nearly 5 times the amount based on 2013 data.

Given that Video games stared there rise to fame in the early 1970s the popular narrative is that they have been destroying the board game industry since there arrival.

However, this shows a different story and one of coexistence and a change in the industry for the better leading to more growth.

Read more about the history of Video Games Here Source How Stuff Works

This shakeup is changing everything from the size of board games and moving them from a children’s activity to an entertainment medium with elements for everybody of all ages to enjoy.

Pandemic Increases sales

The Pandemic in 2020 has only increased the worlds general awareness of this changing trend that has been happening quietly for the last 25 years.

With many people now home with there families more than ever before, people are finally digging out our favourite games and discovering new games to try to find activities for the home.

Forbes Reported that the Sales of board games, card games and puzzles are soaring right now Source with the number of people now staying at home, experts expect that trend to continue.

This board game resurgence is not a pandemic driven hype however even tho some people and media outlets have only been made aware of the growth in the board game industry due to the pandemic.

It’s clear that this has been happening for a while now and the dramatic shift is only beginning to shift into the mainstream community.

The Medical Benefits for Dementia

The desire for board gaming is not just found in younger demographics and people stuck at home however with the benefits of playing board games in old age having recently been medically proven.

This last and biggest shift and comeback is the one that I think we should focus on the most and is deeply personal for me.

With a study among 3675 non-demented participants in France.

This study with the Paquid cohort found that the risk of dementia was 15% lower in board game players than in non-players.

with the Key Message Being.

Using the Paquid cohort data with 20 years of follow-up, we now show that board game players have a 15% lower risk of developing dementia than non-players.

Check Out the Study Here

Now, this kind of medical opinion is way over my head as I have no formal training in this area but the study is an exciting look into how board games can be a positive addition to my life for the future.

As one of my grandparents lived with dementia later in life until she passed last year I know how terrible this disease can be and will advocate for anything that can help people avoid this.

This study is not a cure obviously but an inside how something like board games can be beneficial for us long term not only for connection but our health.

So what do you think?

So I am going to leave this up to you as the reader to decide.

My opinion is board games are making a comeback and if anything they are more and more active in my lifestyle then ever before.

If you are interested in getting started I have written a guide you can check out here with a bunch of great games that you will hopefully love?

The Beginner Board Gamer Guide

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