The Cult of the Old: Board Game Purchases

Researchscape International conducted an online survey of 2,000 U.S. adults aged 18 to 80 years old, quota sampled to reflect the U.S. population by age, gender, region, Hispanicity, and education. The survey was fielded from June 22 to June 24, 2018.

About one in five U.S. consumers had purchased a video game in the past month, compared to one in ten who had purchased a board game and a similar amount who had purchased a card game.

 Which, if any, of the following have you personally bought in the past 30 days?

The most popular game purchased was Monopoly, bought by 90 out of 2,000 consumers. (Just as it is the last game played for a majority of Americans.) As I wrote for Researchscape:

In 1935, the film Mutiny on the Bounty, starring Clark Gable and Charles Laughton, won the U.S. box office movie of the year, and Parker Brothers introduced Monopoly. In some alternate universe, where people embrace movies the way they embrace board games in our universe, Mutiny on the Bounty still dominates the box office but people play a wide variety of board games.

In our universe, however, Monopoly dominates.

Cards Against Humanity is the only game created in the 21st century to make the top 20 games purchased, bought by 11 of 2,000 consumers. (Respondents could list multiple games that they had purchased in the prior month.)

Rank Game Mentions
#1 Monopoly 90
#2 Uno 55
#3 Sorry 23
#4 Clue 19
#5 Candy Land 15
#5 Life 15
#7 Playing cards 13
#7 Scrabble 13
#9 Chess 12
#10 Cards Against Humanity 11
#11 Risk 10
#12 Phase 10 9
#13 Poker set 8
#13 Trouble 8
#15 Connect 4 7
#15 Skip-Bo 7
#17 Catan 6
#17 Battleship 6
#17 Dominoes 6
#20 Chutes and Ladders 5
#20 Yahtzee 5

Seven out of ten consumers who had purchased a game in the prior month had purchased it for themselves, while three out of ten bought it as a gift for someone else.

Was [prior response] a purchase for yourself or as a gift?

While half of consumers have no preference for playing an old or a new game, more than three times as many consumers would rather play a game they had played before than a new one (39% to 12%).

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

Those who had purchased a board game or card game in the past 30 days were twice as likely to be interested in playing a game new to them (25% and 27%, respectively) but still preferred to play a game they had played before (32% and 28%, respectively).

While board game enthusiasts often talk about the “cult of the new”, the majority of Americans who purchase games prefer the cult of the old.

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