This is an excerpt from my ebook, How to Design Card Games.

The following are common themes for tabletop games, derived from BoardGameGeek‘s categories. Pages shows the number of pages of games with this theme (out of date now, but intended as a relative indicator of popularity).

Pages Theme Game Examples
50+ Economic Terra Mystica Caverna Through the Ages
50+ Educational 1775: Rebellion Freedom: The Underground Railroad Evolution
50+ Fantasy Terra Mystica Caverna Mage Knight
50+ Fighting Mage Knight Star Wars: Imperial Assault Eclipse
50+ Movie / TV / Radio Star Wars: Imperial Assault Battlestar Galactica Legendary Encounters
50+ Science Fiction Twilight Imperium Star Wars: Imperial Assault Android: Netrunner
50+ Trivia Wits & Wagers Fauna Timeline
50+ Wargame Twilight Struggle Twilight Imperium Star Wars: Imperial Assault
43 Sports Blood Bowl PitchCar Formula D
42 Animals Caverna Agricola Dominant Species
41 World War II Combat Commander: Europe Memoir ‘44 Advanced Squad Leader
39 Racing RoboRally PitchCar Formula D
36 Humor Dixit Quest Dungeon Petz Galaxy Trucker
28 Adventure Mage Knight Board Game Star Wars: Imperial Assault War of the Ring
28 Word Game Codenames Paperback Beyond Balderdash
24 Medieval Dominion The Castles of Burgundy Caylus
23 Deduction Codenames Battlestar Galactica The Resistance
19 Horror Dead of Winter Eldritch Horror Legendary Encounters
18 Ancient 7 Wonders: Duel Tzolk’n Tigris & Euphrates
18 Exploration Mage Knight Robinson Crusoe Descent
18 Nautical Dominion: Seaside Le Havre Keyflower
17 Novel-based War of the Ring Robinson Crusoe Eldritch Horror
15 Political Twilight Struggle Twilight Imperium Battlestar Galactica
14 Travel Ticket to Ride The Voyages of Marco Polo Orleans
13 Math Sleeping Queens Utopia Engine Zeus on the Loose
13 Transportation Brass Ticket to Ride Galaxy Trucker
12 Aviation/Flight Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures The Manhattan Project Airlines Europe
12 Modern Warfare Twilight Struggle Labyrinth: The War on Terror Fire in the Lake
11 Comic Book Legendary Sentinels of the Multiverse Marvel Dice Masters
10 City Building Puerto Rico Lords of Waterdeep Le Havre
10 Trains Ticket to Ride Russian Railroads Railways of the World
9 Murder / Mystery Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective Letters from Whitechapel Mysterium
9 Napoleonic Commands & Colors: Napoleonics Napoleon’s Triumph Manoeuvre
9 Pirates Merchants & Marauders Libertalia Friday
9 Religious Ora et Labora Orleans Here I Stand
9 Space Exploration Twilight Imperium Eclipse Race for the Galaxy
8 American West Lewis & Clark Carson City Shadows of Brimstone
8 Book Warmachine Infinity Warhammer
8 Civilization Terra Mystica Twilight Imperium Through the Ages
8 Mythology Tzolk’in Blood Rage Five Tribes
8 Zombies Dead of Winter Earth Reborn Zombicide
7 American Civil War Freedom: The Underground Railroad Battle Cry For the People
7 Environmental Pandemic Legacy Dominant Species Takenoko
7 Industry/Manufacturing Power Grid Brass Le Havre
7 World War I Paths of Glory The Grizzled Wings of War
6 Farming Caverna Puerto Rico Agricola
6 Maze Ricochet Robots Dungeon Twister Burgle Bros.
6 Music Opera Rock the Beat Schrille Stille
6 Spies / Secret Agents Codenames Battlestar Galactica Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective
6 Video Game Railways of the World Age of Empires III Sid Meier’s Civilization
5 Renaissance Keyflower El Grande Goa
4 Mafia Ca$h ‘n Gun$ Nothing Personal Junta
4 Prehistoric Dominant Species Stone Age Evolution
3 Age of Reason A Few Acres of Snow Maria Saint Petersburg
3 American Revolutionary War 1775: Rebellion Washington’s War We the People
3 Civil War (in general) Sekigahara Pax Porfiriana Julius Caesar
3 Medical Pandemic Infection Zombie State
2 American Indian Wars A Few Acres of Snow 1775: Rebellion Washington’s War
2 Arabian Five Tribes Tales of the Arabian Nights Yspahan
2 Pike and Shot Virgin Queen Hamburgum Unhappy King Charles
2 Post-Napoleonic Castles of Mad King Ludwig Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective Letters from Whitechapel
2 Vietnam War Fire in the Lake Fields of Fire Phantom Leader
1 Korean War Fields of Fire The Korean War Korea: The Forgotten War