How Many Board Games are There in the World [Guide], upside down push pins on a map

How Many Board Games are There in the World [Guide]

Board games have been enjoyed by people across cultures and generations, providing a social and interactive experience.

But just how many board games are there in the world?

There is no precise number for how many board games exist in the world as new games are constantly being created and existing ones may go out of production.

Let’s embark on a journey through the history, popularity, and diversity of board games to find out.

Key Takeaways

  1. Board games have a rich history and diverse range of genres, providing entertainment for people worldwide.
  2. The global board game market is growing, with both traditional and modern games gaining popularity.
  3. Board games offer educational benefits, promoting critical thinking, problem-solving, and social skills.
  4. Notable publishers and collectors contribute to the thriving board game community.
  5. Digital adaptations and online platforms have expanded the accessibility and reach of board games.
  6. The future of board games includes technological advancements, increased diversity, and continued market growth.

The Origins of Board Games

Board games have ancient origins, with evidence of early forms found in archaeological discoveries from various civilizations.

Games like Senet in ancient Egypt and Go in ancient China date back thousands of years.

These early board games were often symbolic, reflecting cultural beliefs and practices.

Board Games Through the Ages

Throughout history, board games evolved and spread across different regions.

The Royal Game of Ur, played in Mesopotamia around 2600 BCE, is one of the oldest recorded board games.

Chess, originating in India, gained popularity in the Middle Ages and remains a classic strategic game to this day.

The Popularity of Board Games

In recent years, board games have experienced a resurgence in popularity.

They provide an opportunity for face-to-face interaction in a digital age and offer a break from screens.

Board game cafes, social gatherings, and conventions dedicated to board games have become more common, fostering a vibrant community of enthusiasts.

The Global Board Game Market

The board game industry has seen remarkable growth worldwide.

With the rise of crowdfunding platforms and independent publishers, more unique and niche board games have entered the market.

Board games, also referred to as tabletop games, had a global market worth of approximately 7.2 billion dollars in 2017 and was anticipated to reach 12 billion dollars by the end of 2023.

  • The board game market has witnessed a steady annual growth rate of around 9%.
  • North America and Europe are the largest markets for board games, followed by Asia-Pacific.
  • The market includes a wide range of publishers, from established companies to indie designers.

Traditional vs. Modern Board Games

Traditional board games, such as Chess, Checkers, and Backgammon, have stood the test of time and are still widely played.

However, modern board games offer innovative mechanics, immersive storytelling, and engaging themes.

These newer games often appeal to a wider audience and showcase the evolution of board game design.

  • Traditional games focus on timeless gameplay mechanics and strategies.
  • Modern games emphasize thematic elements, narrative-driven experiences, and innovative mechanics.
  • Both traditional and modern games have dedicated fan bases and offer unique gaming experiences.

Different Categories of Board Games

Board games can be categorized into various genres, including:

  • Strategy games: These games involve tactical decision-making, resource management, and long-term planning. Examples include Risk, Settlers of Catan, and Ticket to Ride.
  • Party games: Designed for large groups and social gatherings, party games prioritize fun and interaction. Examples include Pictionary, Codenames, and Taboo.
  • Cooperative games: In cooperative games, players work together to achieve a common goal, fostering teamwork and collaboration. Examples include Pandemic, Forbidden Island, and Hanabi.
  • Deck-building games: These games revolve around building and customizing a deck of cards to gain advantages and outsmart opponents. Examples include Dominion, Ascension, and Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game.

The Process of Creating a Board Game

Designing a board game involves a creative and iterative process.

Game designers:

  • Brainstorm ideas and concepts for the game.
  • Create prototypes to test and refine gameplay mechanics.
  • Playtest extensively to gather feedback and make improvements.
  • Incorporate artwork, components, and rulebooks into the final product.

Notable Board Game Publishers

Several renowned board game publishers have made significant contributions to the industry.

Some notable publishers include:

  • Hasbro: Known for classics like Monopoly, Clue, and Scrabble.
  • Asmodee: A leading publisher and distributor of both classic and modern board games, including Catan and Ticket to Ride.
  • Ravensburger: Famous for their high-quality puzzles and board games, such as Labyrinth and The Castles of Burgundy.

Collecting Board Games

For some enthusiasts, board games are not just for playing but also for collecting.

Collecting board games involves:

  • Seeking out rare and limited-edition games.
  • Collecting vintage editions and unique variations.
  • Appreciating the artwork, design, and historical significance of board games.

Board Game Cafes and Communities

Board game cafes have become popular gathering places for enthusiasts.

These cafes offer:

  • Curated collections of board games for visitors to play.
  • Comfortable and welcoming spaces for gaming sessions.
  • Knowledgeable staff to assist with rules and recommendations.

Board game communities also thrive online, providing:

  • Forums for discussions and sharing experiences.
  • Game reviews and recommendations.
  • Opportunities to connect with fellow enthusiasts.

The Rise of Digital Board Games

The digital age has brought board games into the virtual realm.

Digital adaptations of board games:

  • Allow players to enjoy their favorite titles on smartphones, tablets, and computers.
  • Offer online multiplayer options, enabling players from around the world to connect and play together.
  • Provide convenient access to a wide range of board games, including both classic and modern titles.

Board Games as Educational Tools

Board games have educational benefits beyond entertainment.


  • Promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Enhance social interaction and communication.
  • Encourage strategic planning and decision-making.
  • Foster teamwork and collaboration.

Many educational institutions and professionals use board games as interactive teaching tools to engage students and make learning enjoyable.

The Future of Board Games

The future of board games looks promising, with constant innovation and a growing global community.

Some trends and possibilities include:

  • Integration of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies into board game experiences.
  • Expansion of cooperative and narrative-driven games.
  • Increased diversity and inclusivity in themes and artwork.
  • Continued growth of the global board game market.


From ancient origins to modern innovations, board games have captivated players of all ages for centuries.

The diversity, creativity, and social aspect of board games make them a beloved form of entertainment worldwide.

Whether you’re a casual player or a dedicated enthusiast, the world of board games has something to offer for everyone.


How many board games are there in the world?

The exact number of board games in the world is difficult to determine due to the constant creation of new games and variations.

However, estimates suggest there are tens of thousands of board games available.

Can board games be educational?

Yes, board games can have educational benefits.

They promote critical thinking, problem-solving, and social skills.

Many educational institutions incorporate board games into their curriculum.

What are some popular board game genres?

Popular board game genres include strategy games, party games, cooperative games, and deck-building games. Each genre offers unique gameplay experiences.

Are there any rare or valuable board games?

Yes, certain board games, particularly limited editions or those with unique features, can become rare and valuable among collectors.

How can I get started in the world of board games?

To get started with board games, consider joining local board game groups, visiting board game cafes, or exploring online communities.

Start with beginner-friendly games and gradually explore different genres based on your interests.