How Big is the Board Game Industry Exploring Its True Size, people playing a board game on the floor

How Big is the Board Game Industry? Exploring Its True Size

The board game industry has experienced remarkable growth over the years, captivating players of all ages and backgrounds.

With its rich history, diverse genres, and the rise of technological advancements, the industry has become a significant part of the entertainment landscape.

In this article, we will explore the size and impact of the board game industry, uncovering the factors driving its growth and the challenges it faces.

Key takeaways:

  • The board game industry has grown to a value of over $12 billion.
  • Board games offer offline entertainment, social interaction, and nostalgia.
  • Popular genres include strategy, party, cooperative, and deck-building games.
  • Factors driving industry growth include social interaction, innovation, and expanding demographics.
  • Technology has both challenged and provided opportunities for the industry.
  • Key players include Hasbro, Asmodee Group, and Ravensburger.
  • Challenges include competition from digital games, production costs, and intellectual property protection.
  • Opportunities include new markets, collaborations, and technology integration.
  • Board games promote social interaction, teamwork, and relationship building.
  • Future trends include hybrid games, customization, sustainability, and cross-media integration.

Definition of the Board Game Industry

The board game industry encompasses the creation, production, distribution, and sale of board games.

It includes both traditional tabletop games and their digital counterparts.

Board games typically involve players engaging with a physical board, cards, dice, or other components, with the objective of achieving a specific goal or outperforming opponents.

Historical Overview

The origins of board games can be traced back thousands of years, with ancient civilizations like the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans engaging in various board game activities.

The advent of chess in the 6th century revolutionized the concept of board games, setting the stage for the development of more complex and strategic gameplay.

Fast forward to the 20th century, and board games gained widespread popularity among families and friends, serving as a form of recreational entertainment.

Monopoly, introduced in 1935, became an instant hit and paved the way for other classic games like Clue and Risk.

However, the board game industry faced challenges with the rise of digital gaming in the late 20th century.

Growth and Size of the Board Game Industry

Despite initial setbacks, the board game industry experienced a resurgence in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

This resurgence can be attributed to several factors, including a renewed interest in nostalgic gameplay experiences and a desire for face-to-face social interaction in an increasingly digital world.

According to industry reports, the global board game market is projected to reach a value of over $12 billion by 2023.

This growth is fueled by the increasing demand for board games across different age groups and demographics.

The industry has also witnessed a surge in crowdfunding platforms, allowing independent designers to bring their creative visions to life.

Popular Board Game Genres

The board game industry boasts a wide range of genres, catering to diverse interests and preferences.

Some of the most popular genres include:

1. Strategy Games

Strategy games emphasize strategic thinking, decision-making, and long-term planning.

Examples include:

  • Risk
  • Settlers of Catan
  • Terraforming Mars

2. Party Games

Party games focus on social interaction and light-hearted fun, often involving large groups of players.

Titles that have gained widespread popularity in this genre include:

  • Cards Against Humanity
  • Telestrations

3. Cooperative Games

Cooperative games encourage players to work together towards a common goal, fostering teamwork and collaboration.

Notable examples of cooperative gameplay include:

  • Pandemic
  • Forbidden Island

4. Deck-Building Games

Deck-building games involve players constructing and optimizing their own decks of cards throughout the game.

Prominent examples of this genre include:

  • Dominion
  • Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game

Factors Driving the Growth of the Board Game Industry

Several factors contribute to the growth of the board game industry:

1. Social Interaction and Offline Entertainment

In an increasingly digital world, board games offer a unique opportunity for face-to-face interaction and offline entertainment.

People crave social connections and immersive experiences, making board games an appealing choice for gatherings and social events.

2. Nostalgia and Retro Appeal

Board games evoke a sense of nostalgia for many individuals, reminding them of simpler times and cherished memories.

The resurgence of classic titles and vintage aesthetics has captivated both new and old players alike.

3. Innovation and Creativity

The board game industry has seen a surge in innovative and creative game designs, pushing the boundaries of gameplay mechanics and storytelling.

This innovation attracts players seeking fresh and engaging experiences.

4. Expansion of Target Demographics

Board games are no longer limited to a specific age group or demographic.

With the introduction of family-friendly titles, educational games, and sophisticated strategic experiences, the industry appeals to a broad range of players.

Impact of Technology on the Board Game Industry

The board game industry has been significantly impacted by technology, shaping various aspects of the industry and presenting both challenges and opportunities. Let’s explore the key areas of impact:

1. Distribution and Access

  • Digital platforms and online marketplaces have provided new avenues for game distribution.
  • Board game designers and publishers can reach a wider audience through online channels.
  • Online marketplaces make it easier for players to discover and purchase board games, expanding access to a diverse range of titles.

2. Gameplay Experiences

  • Integration of digital components, such as companion apps, has enhanced gameplay mechanics.
  • Companion apps offer interactive tutorials, score tracking, and immersive storytelling elements.
  • Digital integrations provide a new layer of interactivity, allowing players to dive deeper into the game world and enhancing overall engagement.

3. Community and Connectivity

  • Technology has facilitated the creation of online communities and platforms for board game enthusiasts.
  • Online gaming platforms and forums provide opportunities for virtual gameplay sessions and discussions.
  • Players can participate in online tournaments and share their experiences with fellow enthusiasts from different regions.

4. Challenges and Competition

  • The rise of digital gaming and mobile applications has created competition for board games.
  • Digital games offer convenience, accessibility, and cutting-edge graphics, posing a challenge to traditional board games.
  • The industry has had to differentiate itself by emphasizing the unique aspects of physical board games, such as social interaction and face-to-face gameplay experiences.

5. Opportunities for Innovation

  • Technology opens up opportunities for innovative game designs that combine physical and digital elements.
  • Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) can enhance immersion and gameplay experiences.
  • Integrating technology into board games allows for personalized and dynamic gameplay scenarios.

In summary, technology has revolutionized the board game industry, impacting distribution, gameplay experiences, community engagement and presenting both challenges and opportunities. By embracing technology while preserving the unique aspects of traditional board games, the industry can continue to evolve and thrive in a digitally-driven world.

Board Games vs. Digital Games

While digital games have gained immense popularity, board games continue to hold a unique appeal.

Unlike digital games, board games offer tangible components, physical interaction, and the joy of gathering around a table with friends and family.

The tactile nature of board games enhances the immersive experience and fosters a sense of connection and camaraderie.

Key Players in the Board Game Industry

The board game industry is home to a diverse range of publishers, independent designers, and distributors.

Some key players include:

  1. Hasbro Inc.
  2. Asmodee Group
  3. Ravensburger AG
  4. Fantasy Flight Games
  5. Z-Man Games
  6. Days of Wonder
  7. Stonemaier Games
  8. Indie Boards and Cards
  9. CMON Limited
  10. Cephalofair Games

These companies have made significant contributions to the industry, creating innovative and memorable board game experiences.

Challenges and Opportunities in the Board Game Industry

While the board game industry has witnessed substantial growth, it also faces challenges and opportunities.

Some key challenges include:

  1. Competition from Digital Games: Digital gaming continues to dominate the entertainment industry, posing a competitive challenge to traditional board games.
  2. Production and Distribution Costs: Designing, producing, and distributing physical board games can be costly, particularly for independent designers and small publishers.
  3. Intellectual Property Protection: The industry grapples with protecting intellectual property rights, as ideas and designs can easily be replicated or imitated.

Despite these challenges, the board game industry presents several opportunities:

  1. Expansion into New Markets: With the global reach of the internet and crowdfunding platforms, board game designers can tap into new markets and reach a wider audience.
  2. Collaborations and Licensing: Collaborations with popular franchises and licensing opportunities can provide unique and recognizable themes, attracting fans from different communities.
  3. Integration of Technology: Embracing technology can enhance gameplay experiences, with augmented reality, companion apps, and digital integration adding new layers of immersion and interactivity.

Board Games and Social Interaction

One of the defining features of board games is their ability to foster social interaction.

Board games bring people together, encouraging communication, cooperation, and healthy competition.

They provide a platform for building relationships, strengthening bonds, and creating lasting memories.

Board Game Cafes and Communities

Board game cafes and dedicated community spaces have emerged as vibrant hubs for board game enthusiasts.

These establishments provide a welcoming environment for players to gather, enjoy a wide selection of games, and connect with like-minded individuals.

Board game cafes often offer food and drinks, creating a cozy atmosphere that enhances the overall gaming experience.

Future Trends in the Board Game Industry

The board game industry is poised for continued growth and evolution. Some future trends include:

  1. Hybrid Games: Combining elements of traditional board games and digital technology, hybrid games offer unique and immersive experiences that bridge the gap between physical and digital gameplay.
  2. Personalized and Modular Games: Game designs that allow for customization and modularity, enabling players to tailor the experience to their preferences and gameplay styles.
  3. Sustainability and Eco-Friendly Practices: With increased environmental consciousness, the industry is moving towards more sustainable production methods and materials.
  4. Cross-Media Integration: Board games that tie into other forms of media, such as books, movies, or video games, creating cohesive storytelling experiences across different platforms.


The board game industry has experienced a significant resurgence, capturing the hearts and minds of players worldwide.

With their diverse genres, focus on social interaction and innovation in game design; board games continue to thrive.

Despite challenges from the digital gaming landscape, the unique appeal of physical gameplay and the joy of face-to-face interaction ensure that the board game industry remains a beloved and growing part of the entertainment industry.


Are board games only for children?

No, board games cater to players of all ages.

There are board games specifically designed for children, families, adults, and even complex strategy games for seasoned gamers.

Can I play board games alone?

While many board games are designed for multiple players, there are also solo-play options available.

Solo board games offer engaging experiences tailored for a single player.

Can I create my own board game?


The board game industry embraces creativity and welcomes independent designers.

With passion, dedication, and a strong concept, you can bring your own board game to life.

Where can I buy board games? 

Board games can be purchased from a variety of sources, including local game stores, online retailers, and crowdfunding platforms.

Additionally, board game conventions and events often feature a wide selection of games for purchase.

How can I introduce board games to my friends and family? 

Introducing board games to friends and family can be an enjoyable experience.

Start with games suitable for beginners, clearly explain the rules, and create a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.

Board game cafes or community events can also provide a great introduction to the world of board games.