The Era of New Age Board Games Has Dawned
by Benjamin Roussey for Gifts for Card Players
Board games are back in vogue and they seem to be more popular than ever before. The interest in tabletop games is on the rise, especially among millennials whose newfound love for socializing has made them embrace games that can be played with a group of friends.
The Resurgence of Board Games
Old school board games like Monopoly, Battleship, and Risk are getting popular with an increasingly large number of millennials, who are eager to discover the joys of playing and spending time with their friends in the flesh, rather than through social media and online game platforms.
This is not to say that board games are exclusively a millennial thing. Even older people have rediscovered their love for tabletop games, mainly due to the nostalgia factor.
Apart from traditional board games, several new games have also become extremely popular. Going by the sales figures, the most popular board game today is Settlers of Catan, which has sold more than 27 million copies to date.
The techies of Silicon Valley particularly seem to be obsessed with the game, so much so that it is called the ‘board game of entrepreneurship’.
Other popular games include Dominion, Puerto Rico, and Pandemic: Legacy, each of which are best-sellers in their own right.
Such is the rise in popularity of board games that cafés and bars that are dedicated for tabletop games can be found in many cities. With shelves stacked with board games and bars stocked with the choicest of beverages, these cafés are the ideal spots for people young and old to hang out with their friends and family and play their favorite games.
As well Meetup Groups have blossomed specificially for game play. And shops that specialize in cards and games are thriving.
To get an idea of the growth in board game popularity over recent years, one need only look at Kickstarter, the platform that helps creators raise funds for their projects. There are currently over 2000 tabletop board game related projects on the platform and in the first six months of 2018 Tabletop Games raised more money than any other category during that period, representing 30% of all the money raised on Kickstarter.
And Gen Con, the largest tabletop-game convention in North America, with 21,000 attendees in 2008 grew to over 61,000 in 2018.
The Reason behind the Resurgence
Board games allow you to spend time with your friends and socialize with your acquaintances. You can meet at a particular place, play your favorite games, chat with each other, and have a great time.
After spending abnormally long hours at work staring at a computer, playing with friends and family can be quite invigorating. It also serves as a form of ‘digital detox’, which is much needed for today’s generation.
For old timers, board games offer a way to relive their childhood memories. It is not an uncommon sight to see 50-something people – some with their friends and some with their families – occupying tables at board game cafés on Friday evenings.
What Makes New Age Board Games Different?
The popularity of old school games notwithstanding, new age board games like Pandemic (a co-operative game) and Puerto Rico (economic theme) have generated a cult-like following among young fans. These games are created for a smarter fan base and require a great deal of strategic thinking and creativity.
They are also difficult to understand and master, which gives the fans a sense of challenge, and when they do manage to master it, a sense of triumph.
In an age where people are putting more value on experiences, board game evenings, parties, and meetups are the perfect fit. How many people are playing board games these days?
James McInnes on Quora tells us: “It’s really impossible to estimate the number of people, however the US board games market in 2016 was $1.2 billion USD. If you figure $40 per game on average, that’s 30 million games sold in 2016.”
Photo by Sheldon Nunes on Unsplash