Thursday, July 19, 2012
Board Game Sales Over The Years
Attached is our top 25 board games for each year we've been in business (items in red are no longer available). It's a big chart, so you may have to download it first.
There is a lot of data in this list, if you can see it, Matrix style. You can see the strength of Blokus as it sits at the top of the chart and then crater as it hits the mass market under Mattel. You cans see the importance of Settlers of Catan, always in the top five and number one half the time, despite being in the mass market now.
Stuff you can't see includes the influence of the San Francisco Chronicle's holiday board game review article, which can catapult games into high positions, often only for that year. Finca, Maori, Atlantis, Sherwood Forest, Wasabi, Macao and Qwirkle got their minutes of fame and won't be seen on that chart again (although all are still carried). The 2012 list will be changed significantly by the article.
Also not seen in the chart are card games, especially Dominion which hit hard in 2008 and exploded in 2009 when we sold over 100 copies of the various versions. Also ushered in during that period and filtered out of the data is the sleeve fetish that started during this time. Now there are sleeves for everything.
The Spiel des Jahres and other awards have a modest effect, if you compare that list to ours. 7 Wonders (3rd) in 2011, Dixit (9th in 2010), and Dominion, which I already mentioned for 2009.
As usual, this is just one store. We have a fairly high population base and no real local board game competitors, so the data is pretty clean. There are areas that we just don't do well with, like party games and kids games. My staff is universally indifferent to games to games like Dixit, which has been a huge hit in other stores. Kids games are hard to sell because we don't see enough traffic to gain any real traction. I would dump them (along with classic games like chess), if I didn't feel they were important to round out the store.