The Cult of the New: Preferences for New Board Games

The “cult of the new” is the obsession with new titles, which makes hobbyist gaming much like the movie industry. The online site, Yucata.de, offers free online games with human players. Here are the plays averaged across 111 games, relative to when each game was first introduced to the community. You can see that a new game peaks in 3 months, then gradually declines to half its peak after 2 years, dropping only slightly after that for the next 3 to 5 years.

Plays of Tabletop Games on Yucata.de In First Months of Release

Year Month Plays
0 1 394
0 2 1252
0 3 1434
0 4 1265
0 5 1137
0 6 1043
0 7 980
0 8 933
0 9 894
0 10 935
0 11 877

Plays of Tabletop Games on Yucata.de In First Years of Release

Year Month Plays
1 12 847
2 24 716
3 36 671
4 48 665
5 60 596
6 72 618
7 84 571
8 96 617

Source: Analysis of Yucata.de Play Data

Because new games are made available at once to all players, this data from Yucata removes the delay of the adoption curve typical of selling games through retail. In the real world, people have to learn about the game, read reviews, play it with friends, then buy it, then find time to play it. Yucata presents a clearer picture of the embrace and abandonment of games.

This cult of the new makes it hard for new games to breakthrough and sell on an ongoing basis.

To supplement this behavioral data, Researchscape surveyed online consumers to ask whether they preferred to play a game they had played before or one new to them. About a quarter of respondents had no preference, regardless of type of game. However, the least novelty was desired in card games, the most in video games: 3.4 times as many consumers want to play a familiar card game as a new card game, 2.6 times for a familiar board game vs. a new on, and just 1.4 times for video games.

Which card/board/video game would you prefer to play, one that you had played before or one new to you?

Card game Board game Video game
Familiar : New 3.4 2.6 1.4
One played before 38% 32% 13%
One new to me 11% 13% 9%
No preference 25% 26% 24%
Don’t play card/board/video games 25% 29% 54%

Sample Size: One-Question Polls; 115-262 responses; weighted by age,
gender, and/or region

This is an excerpt from a free Researchscape ebook, which you can download now: “Boardgame Concepts to Crowdfund: Dynamics of Tabletop Games”.

Last Game Played – Board Game Survey Results

Researchscape conducted a series of one-question polls as background research to its survey of Kickstarter backers.

In a poll conducted March 23, 2016, half the U.S. online consumers interviewed had played a game this year: 18% in the past week, 17% within the past month, and 16% earlier in the year. The other half had played in 2015 or earlier or couldn’t recall.

How long has it been since you played a card game or board game? (In real life, not on an electronic device.)

Option

Response
%

Cumulative
%

Within past week

18%

18%

Within past month

17%

35%

Earlier this year

16%

50%

2015

9%

59%

2014

3%

62%

2013 or earlier

7%

69%

Don’t know

31%

100%

Sample: Poll; 418; weighted by age, gender

When asked in a separate poll to distinguish whether their last game played was a card game or board game (an admittedly fuzzy distinction), 46% of players had played a card game, 25% a board game, and 29% couldn’t recall.

What is the last game that you’ve played? (In real life, not on an electronic device.)

Option

Response
%

Cumulative
%

Card game

46%

46%

Board game

25%

71%

Don’t know

29%

100%

Sample: Poll; 407; weighted by age, gender

The most commonly played card game is poker, played by 12.6% of respondents (not counting the 1.6% who named Texas Holdem). Uno is a distant second, at 9.4%. The family of rummy games was third in popularity, mentioned by 6.4% of respondents (variants mentioned included Gin Rummy, Progressive Rummy, Aggravation Rummy, and 500 Rummy).

The most commonly played board game is Monopoly, dominating its category at 33.2% of respondents. A distant second is The Game of Life, at 5.8%, followed by Scrabble at 5.2%.

What is the last card game that you’ve played? (In real life, not on an electronic device.)

Rank

Option

Response

1

Poker

12.6%

2

Uno

9.4%

3

Rummy

6.4%

4

Spades

5.4%

5

Solitaire

5.2%

6

Blackjack

5.0%

7

Cards Against Humanity

3.8%

8

Go Fish

3.2%

9

Euchre

3.0%

10

Hearts

2.4%

11

Pitch

2.2%

12

Cribbage

1.8%

12

Phase 10

1.8%

14

Texas Holdem

1.6%

15

War

1.4%

16

Canasta

1.2%

17

Apples to Apples

0.8%

17

Magic: The Gathering

0.8%

17

Rook

0.8%

17

Skip Bo

0.8%

17

Spoons

0.8%

22

Bridge

0.6%

22

King

0.6%

22

Old Maid

0.6%

22

Speed

0.6%

Never played cards

4.2%

Sample: Poll; 599

What is the last board game that you’ve played? (In real life, not on an electronic device.)

Rank

Option

Response

1

Monopoly

33.2%

2

The Game of Life

5.8%

3

Scrabble

5.2%

4

Candyland

3.5%

5

Catan

3.3%

5

Sorry

3.3%

7

Chess

3.2%

8

Checkers

2.7%

9

Risk

2.5%

10

Trivial Pursuit

1.7%

11

Apples to Apples

1.5%

11

Cards Against Humanity

1.5%

11

Yahtzee

1.5%

13

Clue

1.2%

14

Trouble

1.0%

15

Ticket to Ride

0.8%

15

Uno

0.8%

17

Pictionary

0.7%

17

Rummikub

0.7%

17

Sequence

0.7%

20

Backgammon

0.5%

20

Battleship

0.5%

20

Chutes and Ladders

0.5%

20

Cranium

0.5%

20

Cribbage

0.5%

Never played a board game

5.8%

Sample: Poll; 599

Despite the proliferation of brand tie-ins and thematic knock offs, the classic, original edition of Monopoly is the primary version of Monopoly played, by 70.4% of respondents. The most popular tie-ins were Star Wars (mentioned by 2.1%) and Disney (mentioned by 1.1%). Monopoly Electronic Banking was the only specialty edition mentioned by at least 1% of respondents (1.1%). Over 40 editions were mentioned, including opoly games (not licensed from Hasbro).

Monopoly Editions Played

Back To The Future Millionaire
Beach Body Monopoly Cards
Bible Monopoly City
Buildings Monopoly Millionaire
Christmas NFL
Cleveland Nintendo
Deal Pokemon
Disney Red Sox
Doctor Who Rolling Stones
Dogopoly Satanism
Dr. Who Simpsons
Electronic Banking Soccer
Girl Monopoly SpongeBob
Hard Rock Star Trek
Harry Potter Star Wars
Horses Steelers
Irish Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle
Las Vegas The Nightmare Before Christmas
Marvel Comics Toy Story
Michigan Vegas

Sample: Poll; 378

This is an excerpt from a free Researchscape ebook, which you can download now: “Boardgame Concepts to Crowdfund: Dynamics of Tabletop Games”.