Board games are one of the most popular hobbies in the world, with an estimated billions of players worldwide.
From classic card games to modern favorites, gamers enjoy many different types of games, either on their own or with their friends. For lots of gamers, board games are a social activity, while for others, they’re a chance to escape modern technology for old-fashioned fun.
Below, we’ve shared 25 statistics about board games, board gamers and the board gaming industry.
The Board Game Market Produced $2.93 Billion in Revenue in 2022
Board games are a big business. According to research published by consumer survey data source Statistica, the global market for board games produced an estimated $2.93 billion in revenue in 2022.
If you’re interested in creating a board game, this means you’re entering a large market with plenty of potential to reach a wide audience.
Board Game Revenue is Growing at Nearly 10% Per Year
Even more promising, the board game market is growing rapidly, with revenue expanding by almost 10 percent annually.
Also according to Statistica, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the board gaming market is 9.31 percent. This means that by 2027, the board game market is projected to have approximately $4.84 billion in annual revenue.
The US is the World’s Largest Market for Board Games
Although board games are a worldwide phenomenon, the United States is by far the world’s largest market for board games.
According to data from Statistica, the US accounted for $1.75 billion in board game industry revenue in 2022, which is more than half of the total revenue generated by the board game industry.
If you’re a board game creator, this makes it vital to target the United States as part of your marketing strategy. As a large market, the US can give your board game a steady supply of sales and help make sure it’s a hit.
Most Hobby Board Gamers Are 25-54 Years of Age
Board gaming is a hobby that people of all ages can enjoy, and research suggests that all ages are well represented.
According to data from Meeple Mountain, the majority of hobbyist board gamers are between 25 and 54 years of age, with 35 to 44 the largest demographic. However, there are plenty of board gamers in all age groups, including people under 24 and over 65.
One thing to note is that it’s possible that board game demographics are slightly older than data suggests, as many older gamers may not be accessible for surveys carried out online.
So, what does this data mean? If you’re interested in creating a board game, there’s a market in every age group, whether you’re designing a game for the very young, the very old, or the larger market of gamers between 25 and 54.
Board Games Are Roughly Equally Popular WIth Men and Women
Some hobbies are more popular with one sex than the other. Board games are an exception. In a survey published by the Statistica Research Department, a total of 74 percent of women and 70 percent of men reported enjoying board games.
Most Gamers Socialize Through Board Games
Board games are more than just fun — for many people, they’re also an important social activity that helps them form friendships and lasting bonds.
According to Meeple Mountain, most hobbyist gamers have a regular or irregular play session with their friends as their main way to participate in games. Many others attend conventions, take part in local gaming groups, and teach games, with only a small fraction of gamers playing solo.
Puzzle Games Account for 27.7% of the Most Popular Board Games
Puzzle-solving games are eternally popular for plenty of reasons. Not only are they fun, but they tend to resist trends and appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds interested in testing their critical thinking skills.
As such, it’s not surprising that puzzle games account for many of the most popular board game products on the market. In fact, according to digital trends data blog Gitnux, puzzle games make up 27% of the most popular board games available today.
Catan is By Far the Most Popular “Gateway” Game
Settlers of Catan — or just Catan, as it’s now known — is a modern classic.Since it first appeared on the market in 1995, it’s sold more than 32 million copies worldwide in 40 different languages, making it one of the most popular board games of all time.
It’s also by far the most popular gateway into serious board games, with many gamers reporting that Catan was the game that cemented board games as one of their favorite hobbies.
According to Meeple Mountain, Catan was the game players mentioned as their gateway game the most, followed by games such as Ticket to Ride, Monopoly, Carcassonne, Pandemic, Risk, Dominion, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Dungeons and Dragons, and Magic: The Gathering.
The Board Game Market Grew Rapidly During the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic caused a lot of activities that can be enjoyable from home to become more popular, and board games were no exception.
According to Deutsche Welle, the market for board games grew by 20% in the year 2020 alone, with people turning to tabletop board games as a way to have fun at home while taking a break from digital devices like phones, computers and TV.
Many Gamers Use Board Games to Improve Their Mental Health
Many people use board games and card games to improve their mental wellbeing. In a survey conducted by Meeple Mountain, gamers reported using board games to combat anxiety, teach and practice social skills, and overcome issues related to autism.
Globally, the Board Game Market is Worth Around $19 Billion
Globally, the market for board games is truly gigantic, with a total value of approximately $19 million as of 2022, according to data from Arizton.
Like everything else related to board games, the total size of the market is growing constantly as new games come out, new gamers discover this hobby and sales of board games increase around the world.
In fact, by 2028, the worldwide board game market is projected to have a total value of $39.99 billion.
Quick, Simple Games Dominate the Bestseller List on Amazon
Although more complicated card games and Eurogames tend to be favorites of board game enthusiasts, when it comes to mass market games, quick and simple games almost always dominate the best seller lists.
On Amazon, Connect 4, Sequence, Yahtzee, Codenames and Checkers are the top-selling board games, with Candy Land, Tapple, Zingo, Sorry and Trouble not far behind in terms of overall sales.
Games like Exploding Kittens, the Goliath games, That Sound Game, Sabobatage, and others are also reliable sellers built around simple, player-friendly gameplay mechanics.
As a board game creator, keeping it simple is important if you’re aiming to reach the widest possible audience with your game.
Chess is Still the Most Popular Game
Chess has been around for almost 1,500 years, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down in terms of popularity.
According to the New York Times, chess is booming in popularity again, reaching levels that haven’t been seen since the iconic 1972 World Chess Championship between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky.
Part of this increase in chess gaming can be attributed to the extremely popular Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit, but another part is also due to how accessible chess is today.
This gets to the caveat of chess as a board game — these days, a lot of chess games are held online, rather than over a physical table.
Still, it’s impressive — and somewhat amazing, given the sophistication of many modern board and card games — that chess remains so popular with gaming enthusiasts of all ages, cultures and backgrounds.
Gamers’ Opinions Are Mixed on Board Games That Use Digital Apps
App-assisted board games have grown more popular over the last few years, but gamers are divided on whether or not they’re as good as conventional board games.
According to Meeple Mountain, most players report neither liking nor disliking games that use digital apps as part of their gameplay mechanics, with slightly more players reporting that they like these games “somewhat” than dislike them.
Asia-Pacific is the Fastest-Growing Board Game Market
The Asia-Pacific region is the fastest-growing market for board games, largely as a result of rising disposable incomes and a growing interest in board games in big countries like China, India and smaller nations throughout Southeast Asia.
Highly developed countries in Asia, such as Japan, are also increasingly interested in board games and tabletop gaming.
If you’re a board game creator, it’s important not to overlook the importance of fast-growing markets outside North America and Europe.
You can reach customers in China through marketplaces such as Taobao, while Indian customers are readable via Flipkart and Amazon India.
Throughout Southeast Asia, many customers buy board games from marketplaces such as Shopee, Lazada and Tokopedia.
Selling in these countries at a large scale often requires translating your board game into a range of languages. However, the rewards may be worth it, especially if your board game is designed so that people from any culture and society can enjoy it.
By 2025, the Chinese Board Game Market Will Be Worth $1.67 Billion
China is famous for traditional board games, with Xiangqi (Chinese chess), Wei Qi (Go), and Mahjong some of the most popular. These days, China is quickly becoming a large market for modern board games, card games and collectible games.
According to Allied Market Research, the Chinese board game and card game market had a value of $583.8 million in 2018, with its value projected to grow to $1.67 billion by 2025. This gives it a growth rate of 16.3% — one of the highest in the world.
At the moment, most of this growth is from simple family games, although hobby games are also developing in popularity throughout China.
Collectible Card Games Have Grown Really Fast
While all types of board games and card games are increasing in popularity, collectible card games are growing particularly fast.
According to research from NPD Group published in the Washington Post, card games like Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering increased in popularity by 208 percent from 2019 until 2022.
The Average Board Game Takes 1-2 Hours to Play
Most board games take between one and two hours to play, according to data published by Gitnux. It’s worth noting that this figure can vary significantly from one game to another — a game for kids might only take a few minutes, while others can take hours per game.
If you’re designing your game for large-scale appeal, you’ll want to aim for a game time that makes it easily accessible, while still allowing players to get involved and engaged.
For a children’s game, you’ll want to shorten the game and focus on simplicity to account for shorter attention spans.
Most Gamers Still Buy Their Board Games Offline
It’s easier than ever to buy board games online, but many gamers still prefer to support board game and hobby stores in their local area.
In a survey conducted by PrintNinja, 482 out of 545 respondents, or about 88% of the survey audience, said they shop for games locally. In contrast, only 323 out of the 545 respondents reported buying games through Amazon.
This means that it’s still important to reach out to local distributors if you’re aiming to maximize sales of your board game.
43% of Gamers Own 25+ Board and Card Games
Board gamers can be grouped into two major categories — casual gamers who enjoy a game every now and then, and board game enthusiasts who own and play a much larger variety of different games.
According to data published by PrintNinja, most people own fewer than 25 board games. It’s quite common for gamers to have a larger collection, however, with 43% of gamers reporting that they own more than 25 board and/or card games.
Many “Small” Board Games Sell Extremely Well
We’re all familiar with the immense success of games like Catan and Ticket to Ride. However, not all board games sell tens of millions of copies, nor do they necessarily need to in order to achieve commercial success.
On Amazon, many board games outside the top 500 still sell hundreds of copies every month, allowing them to succeed commercially even without a massive audience.
In other words, there’s a lucrative long tail for niche board games that can make your game a long-term success, even if it’s never a top seller.
59% of Board Gamers Spend $400+ Per Year on New Games
Most gamers spend a reasonable amount on their hobby each year, but only a small few spend lavishly on new board games.
According to data from PrintNinja, 16% of board and card gamers spend $400 to $599 per year on new games. 21% spend $600 to $1,000, and 22% of gamers spend more than $1,000 each year on games.
As for more frugal gamers, six percent reported spending less than $100 per year, with 15% of respondents reporting annual board game spending of $100 to $199, and 19% reporting annual spending of $200 to $399.
41% of Gamers Buy Board Games Through Kickstarter
According to PrintNinja, 41% of board game enthusiasts have purchased one or more games through Kickstarter.
Kickstarter is one of the largest sources of funding for game makers — a fact we’ve discussed more below — and it’s helped thousands of game designers access both funding and excited, eager audiences for their games over the years.
Our crowdfunding resources can help you make sure your Kickstarter campaign is a success, from working out your price structure to marketing your campaign.
Tabletop Games Have Made More Than $1.5 Billion on Kickstarter
Kickstarter surpassed $7 billion in total funds raised in late 2022. According to an article from DiceBreaker, $1.5 billion of that amount went towards tabletop games — around 20% of funds raised in Kickstarter in total.
In total, board game and card game creators have launched more than 36,000 projects using kickstarter, with around two thirds of the projects funded successfully.
Interestingly, tabletop games appear to be more successful on Kickstarter than other projects, which only have a 40%, or two-out-of-five, successful fundraising rate.
The Tabletop Gaming Cafe Industry is Growing at 6.3% Per Year
Many board gaming enthusiasts visit cafes to find new games, make new friends and take part in board games as a social activity. As such, it’s no surprise that the board game cafe market is growing at a steady pace as board gaming becomes more popular.
According to Gitnux, the board gaming cafe industry is growing at 6.3% per year, making it one of several fields adjacent to board games to have benefited from their increasing popularity.
Learn More About Making Board Games
Interested in learning more about board games? Our guide to making a board game covers all of the essentials, from coming up with a good game concept to designing game mechanics, art, manufacturing and more.
You can also contact us to talk to our expert design and manufacturing team about making your board game idea a reality.