Are board games considered a sport

Are Board Games Considered a Sport?

Here’s whether or not board games are considered a sport:

Board games don’t fit the definition of a sport, thus they’re not considered a sport.

The Oxford Dictionary defines sport as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or a team competes against another or others for entertainment”.

So, if not a sport, then what exactly are board games?

We’ll give you the definitive answer in this article.

Here’s Why Board Games Don’t Qualify as a Sport

The main requirement of a sport is athletic physical prowess or skill set that encourages competition. Considering this point of view, board games differ from mainstream sports in the following manners:

1. Board Games Require Little Physical Exertion

Mainstream sports require a lot of running, jumping, bending, and a host of physical exertions.

The more fit a body is, the better the player becomes. Mainstream sports go on for a limited time but tire out even the most experienced players.

On the other hand, board games, as the name suggests, are played while sitting.

The players, whether individuals or teams, gather around a table and are expected to be relaxed while playing.

In fact, the whole focus is on providing maximum physical comfort to allow players to keep sitting for as long as the game lasts.

2. Board Games are Played In Silence

Board gamers do not like being cheered or booed on while they’re trying to focus on the next move.

Creating a stir might even be considered a violation of rules while watching a professional board game.

Contrarily, professional sports primarily take help from a stadium full of enthusiasts.

They have slogans and chants that seem to pump up the players. Unlike the quiet of board games, the hype seems to be a characteristic of professional sports.

3. Board Games Go On for Too Long

Both professional sports and board games can go on for hours and hours.

However, sports do have frequent ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ moments that keep the audience attracted.

Even test cricket matches that last four days, on average, are fairly popular amongst cricket fans.

Some board games, too, continue for hours.

But there aren’t any predictable or ultimate moves that may keep people hooked to the game. People don’t bother watching others play, that too without a sound, for so long.

Similarly, sports events can be compressed into highlights that are only a few minutes long.

These can be aired at any time and still manage to attract an audience on TV and the Internet.

But since every move in a board game is detrimental to determining the winner and loser, it cannot be made into mere highlights. This doesn’t convince TV channels to bother with airing any board games.

Are Board Games Similar to Mainstream Sports?

Board games are a competitive hobby at their best.

Mastering them requires a lot of strength and years of practice.

They’re played for entertainment and often call for some pretty high bets as well.

They do possess quite a few similarities with professional sports, such as:

1. Board Games Can Be Physically Demanding

If sports make the most use of physical exertion, board games aren’t so relaxing, either.

You have to continually sit in one place with only occasional breaks while playing the game.

If you’re playing games online, your eyes are constantly working, too. This can lead to backaches, migraines, eyesight problems, and even leg stiffness.

Moreover, some sports also don’t require too much physical exertion.

Therefore, we can say that board games aren’t that strictly different from mainstream sports.

2. Both Board Games and Professional Sports Require Mental Skills

Calculative steps are essential in both board games and professional sports.

Average bowling speeds are as crucial for cricket as tile scores are for Scrabble.

In both cases, it takes a great deal of mental strength to anticipate and plan future strategies.

You cannot win if you haven’t mentally prepared yourself for a challenging game.

So, here’s another reason why people often count board games as a sport even though they aren’t.

3. Board Games are Competitive Too

If you feel like football, basketball, tennis, hockey, wrestling, baseball, etc. are popular because of international competitions, board games aren’t any different.

Professional sports have fan clubs, campaigns, and fights between players. All of this prevails in a highly competitive environment, which makes the sport worth watching and playing.

Board games are also extremely competitive and mind-bending. Oftentimes, they’re even more impressive than professional sports.

The competition isn’t loud and noisy, but it’s enough to make you chew off your fingernails.

The nature of competition varies from that of a professional sport, but it’s nonetheless pretty fantastic.

Are Board Games as Popular as Mainstream Sports?

Another question to consider is whether board games are popular enough to be counted as a mainstream sport.

The reason why physical sports have grown globally in the first place is that ordinary people seem to enjoy them.

The large crowd attracts sponsors and turns these simple sports into a money-making business.

This is another reason why board games differ from sports.

1. Board Games are Preferred Among Academics

This isn’t a discriminatory matter, but board games require quite an etiquette and manners in both the players and the audience.

If you’ve seen professional sports, you’ll notice that the players and audience belong to mixed classes of people.

Board games, by comparison, are better understood by those who tend to be relatively more educated.

2. Board Games Do Not Have Sponsors

Since board games don’t have much audience or media coverage, brands hardly bother to sponsor their tournaments.

There might be a few charity or fundraising events now and then, but on the whole, these are strictly limited to private clubs.

Why is Video Gaming Considered a Sport and Board Games Not?

There are three key reasons why eSports are now counted among mainstream sports:

  1. eSports do require energy and physical skills, but these are exhibited on the screen. So, all the physical exertion is evident in a virtual sense. This might sound odd, but so far, this is one of the best explanations for the eSport phenomenon.
  2. eSports have a growing fanbase. Even though board games have been around for much longer than video games, they attract more players. As a result, they attract more sponsors and official sports brands.
  3. eSports are based on the concept of physical sports. You virtually race a car instead of doing it in person. In other words, eSports are physical sports played online.


In conclusion, board games aren’t considered a sport.

They’re not in the same category as standard sports such as football, basketball, tennis etc.

Interestingly, video games (eSports) are actually considered a sport (albeit a virtual one), while board games aren’t.

But this doesn’t mean that they don’t share similarities with mainstream sports.

Over to you now – do you think that board games should be officially classified as a sport or not?

Leave your answer in the comment box below and don’t forget to check our other content!

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