When Hobbies and Collectibles Collide: Tabletop Games are Big Business

Trends run in cycles.  Reserve a moment to note the 80’s and 90’s fashions coming back this spring to complement the looks of the 50s and 60s made current again thanks to network television series and ‘period’ films.


You may have grown-up enjoying games like Life and Risk, board games that filled hours of family time before the genesis of consoles like Sega Genesis, and later, Sony Playstation and the like.  Today, tabletop games are back and it means big business for suppliers.


Price Point


Pretend you’re a mother or father with a few kids.  Spending family time at a professional sporting event can be very expensive.  Consider the price of tickets, parking, food, drinks, and of course a stop at the giftshop for the mandatory home team jersey(s).  Conversely, for a lot less, you can purchase a number of board games online or at a local toy store.  Rather than talking for a few moments at an event, families can have a long discussion hovered around a game of Monopoly.  $20 can grant a family endless hours of gaming fun, while the same amount of money may not cover the expense of parking at a major venue.


Social Media


Media adopts many shapes and forms, but currently, digital platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, steal the interest of young and older citizens alike.  However, despite the “social” aspect of online platforms, people are not engaged with others in person; actually, most social platforms are used in isolation.  However, most board games necessitate the interaction of (at least) two players who must be in the same room.  Aside from the tactile sensation of manipulating game pieces, players actually get to talk in real time while sitting in the same room!


Everything Old is New Again


Traditional games, Monopoly and Risk, have experienced a resurgence in sales, with editions coming off the shelves in recent years.  Respective manufacturers report that revenue increased 10 percent between 2012 and 2013.  Moreover, tech-associated startup site, Kickstarter, has inspired and witnessed a lot of advocacy for card-based and board games.  Recently, custom playing cards featuring lasers and exploding kittens gained millions of dollars worth of backing.  In a digital age with smart watches and a plethora of online gamers, traditional board games are making a return.


Offline and In Style


A Philadelphia-based vendor enjoys a revenue stream from two shops that sell traditional card and board games.  He is staying more than afloat and outpacing competitors like Amazon by creating an ambiance that online suppliers can’t supply.  In addition to selling his products, he provides gamers instant gratification by supplying seating and tables.  Since many card games do not take too long to play, patrons can enjoy a friendly game in the same amount of time that it takes to chat over coffee.


Due to price, tactile experience, and newfound appreciation for something as traditional as sitting down with friends and family, board games have returned to be enjoyed by those of us who remember them the first time around in addition to a whole new generation of younger players who are deciding to put the digital games away for the time being.


Gayle H. Carter is a project manager. She enjoys writing about her experiences to share on the web. You can read her posts mostly on business and marketing sites.


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