Board game industry expected to reach a massive value in the next few years.

Image of Geek Retreat, board game shelf

According to research more and more people are rolling the dice and playing tabletop board games.

By Jaimie Kay

According to a global forecast from Arizton, the board game industry is expected to reach values of $12Bn by 2023.

In the past 10 years, the board game industry has changed and there is now a huge variety of games available.

The global board games market includes tabletop games, card & dice games, collectible card games, miniature games, and RPG games.

Travelling Man, board game shop in Leeds

Travelling Man is a board game retailer based in the UK

‘I hate Monopoly’

Across the world, traditional gamers are spending less time online and more time face to face in board game cafes.

Andy Morton-Foggon, who opened Geek Retreat in Leeds last year, said:

“Board games are a lot more mainstream and more accepted now due to social media and if you’re not a social butterfly having these spaces can remove that awkwardness and get you out of the house and meeting new friends.”

Geek Retreat welcomes groups and societies who want to get together and play some games on a regular basis.

Geek Retreat, board game cafe in Leeds

Geek Retreat opened last year and is Leeds’s first board game cafe.

In the past, traditional games such as Monopoly and Scrabble seemed a staple of any household cupboard.

Andy said: “A lot of classic games are very arbitrary and not very fun. I hate Monopoly I feel it kills games, it’s just too long and there is a lot of sitting around”

So, why is the industry doing so well?

According to Kareem, a board game enthusiast and YouTuber: “The sharp spike in board game content, as well as the production quality in games, has gained massive attention – as well as the board game invasion of Kickstarter.”

But, Kareem said it has its flaws: “Board games have had their issues with delays, poor quality, and unfulfilled/fraudulent projects but on the whole, a lot of well-respected publishers have adopted the platform to deliver high-quality games, on time.”

However, Jackson Pope, a game maker who self publishes card games wouldn’t have succeeded without it:

“As someone who ran a tabletop games company before Kickstarter KS has made a massive difference to indie publishers’ cashflow and market reach too.”

In 2018, according to statistics, tabletop games on the platform were very popular

  • $165m was pledged to tabletop Kickstarter projects in 2018
  • 3301 of the projects were successful

It toppled video game success, with the average video game campaign receiving $44,886.36. and board games, on average, earned $70,603.33.


Image of games workshop stand at Geek Retreat

Games Workshop was a company that was struggling financially in 2015

Tom Vasel, a board game reviewer and podcaster estimated that there were nearly 4000 new games released in 2017 alone.

Alley Cat Games, a publisher based in Cambridge commented on the waining markets back in 2015:

Arizton’s report showed that one of the reasons that people play tabletop games is for mental engagement.

This included strategy and planning as well as an ability to increase social skills.

It is also used as an outlet for people who don’t want to drink and experience a different form of socialising to what they are maybe used to.

Andy’s cafe is a ‘dry’ venue, meaning there is no alcohol on site.

“When I was younger we didn’t have anything like this, you had to go to a friend’s house or a pub, and when people drink and play games it can get quite heated.”

He stated that having a dry space also creates a safe space, especially for those groups of people who maybe don’t experience a lot of social interaction’

There are more board game cafes opening up across the country. The global games market is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 9% between 2017 and 2023.



About the Author

This article was produced by a student or students on the BA in Journalism at Leeds Beckett University.

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