Board games have long been looked at from the perspective of well-known names such as Monopoly, Clue, Risk, and Ludo. These were a mandatory part of every child’s toy collection and the first point of contact with the world of board gaming.
However, the board game industry has these days moved away from the classics and continued to evolve further from a niche market into a mainstream pastime, much like video games. Here is a small collection of board game statistics demonstrating just how popular the hobby has gotten over the years.
Fascinating Board Game Facts
- Board game industry trends show that the market will reach around $31 billion by 2028.
- Frosthaven is the highest-funded board game on Kickstarter at $13 million.
- Board games had a record year on Kickstarter in 2021, with $270 million invested by backers.
- 22% of players have between 26 and 50 board games on their shelves.
- In the US, 38% of women really enjoy board games.
- Pandemic was the most searched board game in March 2020.
Board Game Industry Statistics
Board games are an emerging industry showing significant growth that hasn’t been impeded by the COVID-19 pandemic. On the contrary, it continues to grow in acceptance across different demographics. Also, this section will highlight some of the interesting trends in board game design in recent years.
1. The global board game market size is expected to reach $30.93 billion by 2028.
The industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.7% from 2022 to 2028. Researchers have estimated that the global board games market was worth $13.75 billion in 2021. This won’t be surprising to most board gaming enthusiasts active on Kickstarter, as our cardboard entertainment is one of the most popular categories on the platform.
2. With an estimated 34% contribution, the European market is a significant factor in the predicted growth of the tabletop game industry.
With some of the most significant board game events taking place in Europe, it’s no wonder that the industry is so popular there. The market here isn’t expected to grow significantly over the forecast period, as it will in other regions. However, the demand for high-quality strategy-oriented games in Germany, France, and the UK will still be crucial for the projected growth.
Kickstarter Board Game Statistics
New projects in the industry have traditionally found support from Kickstarter audiences. However, new platforms are changing the public crowdfunding landscape, and the NY-based giant isn’t the only place for board gamers to find new gems. For example, Gamefound and BackerKit definitely left an impact on the industry in 2022.
3. With almost $13 million, Frosthaven is the highest-funded Kickstarter gaming project in history.
Nobody doubted Frosthaven’s success, especially since Gloomhaven and Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion were well accepted by the community. Even so, its success was unprecedented, as the game designed by Isaac Childres had more than 83,000 backers, surpassing everything else in the board gaming industry.
If you compare it with the previous Gloomhaven Kickstarter campaign that raised about $386,000, you can see how the interest in well-designed and massive board games has grown since 2020.
4. Kickstarter’s second most funded board game is Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5 at $12.39 million.
The original Kingdom Death: Monster was the first project to shake up the board game sector regarding public funding, but the revised version really brought things to a new level.
5. Tabletop Kickstarter projects earned $270 million in 2021.
2021 was a record-high year for board games on Kickstarter, beating even 2020’s $236.6 million. 2020 and 2021 numbers also show that the COVID-19 pandemic not only didn’t slow the industry down but, in fact, helped it grow even bigger.
The most successful tabletop games in 2021 were Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game by Magpie Games ($9.5 million) and The Witcher: Old World by Go on Board ($8.3 million).
6. Kickstarter funding for tabletop projects decreased by 12.4% in 2022 compared to the year before.
2022 was the first year since 2014 that tabletop games experienced a decline. Jon Ritter-Roderick, Kickstarter’s director of games, blames the global economic situation for such results, as multiple other industries also experienced significant downturns.
Another factor is competition in crowdfunding, as platforms such as Gamefound and BackerKit have also moved into the tabletop gaming industry, taking a portion of the revenue that would otherwise go to Kickstarter.
7. In 2022, there were 4,042 successful tabletop Kickstarter campaigns.
Our kind of cardboard entertainment isn’t losing popularity, despite lower funding. There was an increase of more than 500 funded projects compared to 2021. This can be attributed to a higher number of campaigns and the increased successful funding rate from 72% to 76.2%.
8. Gamefound revenue has increased by 45% in 2022.
Since we, as gamers, apparently love spending money on games that we can’t fit on our shelves anymore, creating a crowdfunding platform just for games makes total sense. Gamefound is a Polish company founded by Awaken Realms, a well-known board game publisher and formerly a painting studio for miniatures.
As a newcomer in the market, launching its platform in 2021, it managed to snag $28.3 million for tabletop projects on its platform. This was short of the company’s goal, but it provided the industry with another avenue for raising funds.
BackerKit is another crowdfunding platform that successfully entered the tabletop industry in 2022. It’s also responsible for grabbing a slice of the revenue from Kickstarter and Gamefound. Having more outlets is excellent news for players, especially after Kickstarter’s fiasco with the proposed blockchain implementation in the future.
How Many Board Games Are There?
You’re likely now looking at your board game shelf or trying to account for your latest shopping spree. We get it – we’ve all been there. If you are as serious about the hobby as us, you either keep a neatly ordered spreadsheet with your collection or rely on an app to keep track of everything. Hopefully, you are not just keeping track of your shelf of shame.
But how many board games are there in total, and how many people have massive collections like that? Let’s find out.
9. Around 22% of board gamers have between 26 and 50 games in their collection.
The majority (57%) own one to 25 board or card games. That said, a fair few people are very enthusiastic about their board games, which is why 10.1% have between 51 and 100, and 10.9% have over 100 games in their collection.
10. There are more than 140,000 board game titles around.
We should mention that many games listed at BGG are expansions or promos from certain events. That said, even if you account for that and leave room for a margin of error, we still live in a golden age of the board game industry.
11. 22% of board game enthusiasts spend more than $1,000 annually on games.
Our hobby definitely isn’t one of the more expensive ones out there. With the price of an average board game between $25 and $50, around 56% of people add between two and 15 new boxes to their shelves annually.
12. Word-of-mouth is the primary way for discovering new board games for 71% of players.
Besides getting board game recommendations from friends and local board game shops, people also find new titles through online venues like Kickstarter and Amazon.
Board Game History
13. Senet is the oldest known board game.
(University of Waterloo)
Traces of the board game and hieroglyphics were discovered in Egyptian tombs belonging to the First Dynasty (3100 BCE). It’s believed that the game is much older. Several Senet-like items that date back as far as 3500 BCE were discovered, but they couldn’t be linked to the game decisively due to the sustained damage.
14. The Monopoly board game helped POWs escape captivity during WWII.
(War History Online)
During WWII, the British secret service created a Monopoly that contained everything a POW would need to facilitate an escape (compass, money, map, etc.) from German captivity. The board game was delivered to the prisoners as part of humanitarian care packages. As soon as the prisoners identified a board game with such materials, it was quickly taken apart and promptly destroyed to hide its intended purpose.
And here we thought the “get out of jail free” card was the most powerful in the deck.
Board Game Demographics: Who’s Playing?
Board games are a hobby that people of all ages, genders, and demographics can enjoy. The average person that plays board games is still a Caucasian male, but board games and their popularity are slowly getting a more diverse audience, as the following stats will show.
15. 38% of females in the US find board games very enjoyable.
Interestingly enough, only 29% of males in the US experienced the same level of enjoyment from board gaming. Similar rates of males and females found board gaming somewhat enjoyable at 46% and 42%, respectively.
16. 38% of Gen Z and Millenials enjoy playing board games very much.
Board games are a fantastic hobby for bringing together people of various ages. While it’s most popular with Gen Z and Millenials, other generations are also very fond of board gaming, with 34% of Gen X, 31% of Baby Boomers, and 29% of the Silent Generation rating them “very enjoyable.”
17. Around 72% of board gamers are male.
According to Stonemaier Games’ survey conducted back in 2017, only about 8% of participants were female. More recent results show that 26% of those that took the survey were female, and 1.1% identified as other.
Fun Board Game Statistics
18. In 2022, there were more than 1,200 new board games at Essen Spiel.
The popular board game convention SPIEL, held in Essen, Germany, is an excellent spot for anyone interested in discovering new games. Around 150,000 people visited the event in 2022.
19. In March 2020, the board game Pandemic was the most searched game on Google.
(Google Keyword Planner)
The term “Pandemic board game” has seen around 246,000 searches when COVID-19 spread worldwide. This was a record for the game and more than twice the search volume of “Risk board game,” which was second with 90,000.
Funnily enough, “Pandemic” is a popular game to search for in events of global disasters. The last time interest in the game peaked was in 2009, with the outbreak of Swine Flu. Even then, it had a third of the volume it experienced in 2022.
Board game stats clearly reflect how the industry is growing and becoming a hobby for a more diverse audience than ever before. With thousands of new titles released yearly, we expect the global game market and community to continue growing in the coming years.
Consequently, we’ll see further popularization of the hobby, much like Wizards of the Coast has experienced with Dungeons & Dragons 5E. Considering how many games are entering the market and that board game sales statistics are experiencing ongoing positive trends, we are sure that we are entering a golden age for our favorite hobby.
It’s no surprise that the title of the best-selling board game in history belongs to Monopoly. The game has numerous variants and has sold almost 200 million copies to date. Having been patented way back in 1935, it had a massive headstart on the competition, allowing it to live up to its name, putting the competitors to shame in total sales worldwide.
It’s expected that the board game industry revenue will reach $30.93 billion by the year 2028. In 2021, researchers estimated that the market was worth $13 billion, and the upwards trend is expected to continue.
According to board game popularity statistics, the player demographic is rapidly expanding. The average gamer has between one and 25 board games in their home, and the market shows no signs of slowing down. Yearly, more than 1,000 new board games are released, and hundreds of thousands of players flock to board game conventions.
It’s safe to say that board gaming as a hobby is gaining popularity and will see further market expansion in the future
Most hobbyists (around 43%) can attend a few weekly board gaming sessions. More than half of them enjoy playing with friends, but others like to play with strangers at local game stores.
Board game statistics show that around 38% of the Gen Z population really enjoys playing board games. This form of analog entertainment isn’t just reserved for older generations, and more and more tabletop gaming companies are looking to attract younger crowds.