As the pandemic took hold and people were forced to stay home, many families shook off the dust from those old-fashioned board games at the back of the closet and sat around the table to play them once more.
It passed the time. It brought the family together again. It added a touch of nostalgia. The board games were real-life one-on-one social activity rather than playing on the phone or computer against an invisible opponent.Read More »
The result was a surge in the popularity of board games.
Today the new love affair with board games shows no signs of letting up, in spite of vigorous competition from online games and a wide variety of digital entertainment.
If anything, board games are gaining in popularity.
Supply chain disruptions
Even as the hobby becomes increasingly popular, disruptions in the supply chain and closures of retail outlets have hampered sales. Nevertheless, online sales are growing strongly.
The growth is so strong that global sales of board games are estimated to reach $30 billion by 2026, representing an annual growth rate of 13 percent from 2021, according to Arizton Advisory & Intelligence.
Many of the games are those that the whole family can play whereas others are suitable mainly for children, for teens or for adults. Similarly, there are games for beginners, for only two players, for families, and some even just for one person.
Here’s a look at how segments of the market line up, according to Arizton:
• Puzzles remain the most popular board games. Their popularity is growing partly because they are seen as containing educational merit for children across a variety of age groups.
• Educational games became more popular among parents as a result of the closure of schools, pushing online sales up 18 percent around the world.
• Strategy and war games have become increasingly sought-after among enthusiasts who have found their leisure time growing during the pandemic. People playing at home are the major source of rising demand for these games.
Sales to players who are members of a game-playing community, however, have slowed as a result of social distancing and restrictions on the movement of people.
• Miniature games are becoming more and more in demand as a result of the popularity of a variety of TV series, such as the Marvel characters and Big Bang Theory. The display of cartoon characters on multi-media channels also is fueling the demand for miniature games.
Surge in new games
A wide variety of new board games that are colorful, absorbing, and offer new types of strategy are being released every month. So much so that the number of board games available is becoming difficult to keep up with.
The number and variety are so great that websites that outline the best games differ widely in their selection. Few games feature in more than one of the lists.
Some board games are complex, demanding a thorough understanding of the rules and require intense strategy to play. Others are simple to understand and easy to play. Yet others fall between the two extremes.
Cost also has been a driving factor in the variety of new games being produced. The development of board games takes far less money than their digital counterparts do.
Among the popular games are those that are straightforward to play, such as Azul: Summer Pavilion that involves laying tiles on the board to make matching color wheels.
Then there are board games that draw on enduring themes, such as Robinson Crusoe: The Book of Adventures.
A number of games are built on modern concepts of adventure, such as On Mars: Surviving Mars—Cooperative Expansion or Terraforming Mars: The Dice Game.
Others draw on political themes, such as Weimar: The Fight for Democracy or Clash of Cultures: Monumental Edition.
Many involve ancient societies such as 7 Wonders, Tabannusi: Builders of Ur, or Hadrian’s Wall.
Still others carry economic themes, such as Coffee Traders or Carnegie.
Trivia games continue to be popular, such as Articulate!.
Some games have been developed specially for children, such as Spot It! or Baby Dinosaur Rescue Board Game
Puzzle board games include a crossword game that is based on colors called Azul.
Popular board games
Here’s a closer look at a few of the board games that are proving to be popular:
Although this game existed before COVID-19, clearly it has taken on considerably more relevance as a result of the times in which we are living.
In this game you move around fighting a disease that is overrunning the world. You treat disease, find cures and build research facilities. More disease keeps cropping up as you try to fight outbreaks.
Children can enjoy the game as well as adults, particularly when they work in teams.
The game is said to be challenging and tense.
The game comes in a variety of versions, the most recent being a miniature version named Pandemic: Hot Zone—North America that can be played in fewer than 30 minutes. It is suitable for travel.
This game is an update of the original Horrified: Universal Monsters in which players work to defeat six monsters that are roaming the village and to protect fellow villagers as well. This new game replaces Universal’s monsters such as the Bride of Frankenstein, with cryptids and urban legends. Players work together to stop Mothman, Big Foot, and the Jersey Devil, among others.
This is a game in which you try to guess how another player rates an object on a scale between hard and soft. It involves trying to asses what values another player sets on the objects and so is a mixture of guessing and understanding how other people think.
In this game you try to attract as many varieties of birds as you can to your nature preserve. Because there is no direct competition, players find this a relaxing game that is enjoyable whether you lose or win.
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