Sales stats of popular board games


Found another interesting list on boardgamegeek today.  This one shows the sales of over 200 board games including uber-popular ones like Monopoly and Yahtzee.  I was surprised to see how high some sales were and how low other sales were.  I see that many of the stats are out of date – but they still are a good indicator.  Follow this link to check out the list.

While Monopoly boggles the brain with its sales of over 275 million units, one of my favourite games, Entdecker, has sold only 25,000.  There’s a direct correlation between the complexity of the game and its sales – with most of the top sellers being party or family games.  There are some exceptions of course, as Settlers of Catan as sold over 15 million units – with an interesting side note that Mayfair plans to sell one million a year in the near future.

So while there are the few breakouts, they are few and far between.  Hopefully this will answer the question I get from people when they find out I design board games: “Oh, are you going to be rich soon?”

-Jay Cormier

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3 thoughts on “Sales stats of popular board games

  1. I don’t know that I would say that complexity and sales are related. Monopoly itself, while easy to play, gets bogged down in complexity fairly quickly. I found out about Monopoly Deal, and have had my kids play that, because they can’t bring themselves to finish a game (nor I do have them finish).

    Famous games sell because they are famous, as with Catan, but I think that there is also something to be said about the veneer of a game having to do with its sales. A game like Elder Sign might sell a lot because it is Lovecraftian, but it will also turn a whole lot of people off of it for that same reason. I think that there is a lot to consider here outside of complexity.

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  2. Oh for sure there are many variables that impact the sales of board games. I think there is some correlation between a game’s complexity and its mass appeal potential. To have mass appeal it needs to be less complex and grok-able.

    Even games like Pandemic -which has sold probably in the realm of 100,000 units lifetime (total guess – could be off!) – can’t match the unit sales of games like Apples to Apples or Cranium. Apples to Apples has probably sold around 5 million units (again a total guess – but 5 years ago they said they had sold 3 million units right on the cover of their box).

    That said – making a non-complex game doesn’t mean you’re going to have a huge breakout hit either! 🙂 I wish it was that easy! But I do think that if you want to make a game that will have mass appeal – then you can’t make it too complex – otherwise you’re only going to be satisfying a niche audience.

    Thanks for chiming in!

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  3. Pingback: La Apología de Monopoly | #tabletopgt

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