At 2M Reddit Subscribers—Are Board Games Mainstream?

9 points

On June 25, over 7 years after it was created, the subreddit r/boardgames hit 2 million subscribers, ranking the community as the 89th most subscribed subreddit. To put this in perspective, the subreddit of the popular mobile game Pokemon Go is currently ranked 92nd with 1,930,850 subscribers and r/soccer at 114th with 1,533,062. r/boardgames is currently ahead of r/BikiniBottomTwitter and right behind r/Unexpected but has a higher growth rate than them both at 0.18%/24 hours (versus r/BikiniBottomTwitter’s 0.11%/24 hours and r/Unexpected’s 0.06%/24 hours), which means the subreddit shows no sign of slowing down.

Seven years may seem like a long time for 2 million people to show interest in the medium on one of the internet’s largest websites, but the subreddit’s growth rate has been far from consistent and a recent boom in the community’s growth rate may indicate a shift from board games being a specialized interest to a more mainstream one.

r/boardgames

With approximately 330 million users and over 130,000 active communities, Reddit has made it possible for individuals to find others with similar interests, no matter how hyper-specific or unusual. These communities, called subreddits, serve as a place for reddit users, labeled “redditors,” to discuss and share content. The number of subscribers a subreddit has can give insight on how popular a topic is, both online and in the “real world.”

r/boardgames was created on March 28, 2012 and it took 5 years, 9 months, and 11 days (or 2112 days) for the subreddit to reach 500,000 subscribers on January 7, 2018. Looking at such a slow growth rate, no one would expect the subreddit to reach 1 million subscribers any time soon. But it did, doubling in size after only 300 days while boasting a 604% increase in its growth rate. These numbers may sound insane, but it gets even crazier after the community doubled AGAIN, reaching 2 million subscribers in a mere 236 days.

What 2 Million Means for The Future

One clear speculation we can make looking at this massive growth rate is that more and more people are showing interested in the medium of tabletop gaming. This can be contributed to many factors, such as the increasing creativity and variety of creators, a growing number of board game cafes across the globe, and various new marketing opportunities online for board games to be discovered.

As Amazon’s growth into a marketplace superpower marks a shift towards people relying more and more on online shopping, 2 million people joining the online board game community may reveal that people are looking to the internet to find their next board game purchase rather than browsing at retail stores. It also makes it clear that the medium is far from outdated and is still going strong (183,008 more subscribers stronger than the broader subreddit of r/games in fact).

Above all, r/boardgames should be proud of their growth and community they’ve created around the love of enjoying compelling and creative strategical games in the company of friends and family. But if that brings no pride in their hearts…

They can brag that they’re ranked above r/rarepuppers (111th at 1,543,983 subscribers). I mean, look at this quality content. This is what they beat, who wouldn’t be proud. 

9 points by Isaiah Kim - updated 19 days ago | 7 comments | report

trentellingsen 26 days ago | 6 points

That chart is pretty cool to see. Such a fast increase in subscribers. I love how many people are getting into the hobby!

zerotozero 24 days ago | 3 points

I would say they are coming back in. I think a lot of people that had family couch time with video games and shows are finding board games can bring that back. Add in some stuff like CAH and such opened a lot of peoples eyes to there being a lot more new games around and not just the old classics.

philryuh 24 days ago | 3 points

Nice article! Makes me curious what percentage of the 2M users are actually active daily/weekly on the subreddit. It'd be interesting to see if this % has also increased over the years. Or maybe even a comparison graph with some of the other subreddits mentioned.

raptore39 24 days ago | 3 points

Knowing Reddit, this is probably information we can mine

1nf1n1ty 24 days ago | 3 points

I think it is getting there. Board games are appearing in other media consistently more. Settler's of Catan is known by more non-gamer communities. But I agree with Roland, I don't think it is quite mainstream yet. 

To clarify, I think that is 'our' type of boardgames, not Monopoly. Monopoly, Scrabble, Chess, checkers. Those are clearly mainstream Americana. 

I have noticed a huge uptick in Dungeons and Dragons. Players at our weekly gaming event have gone up by 300-500 percent in just the last year or two. This also has happened at the high-school level. I am amazed at how many players there are at my son's school. I don't know if Stranger Things was a cause, but it has grown exponentially in just the last 24 months.

R0land1199 25 days ago | 3 points

Whether or not something is mainstream likely leaves a lot up to opinion.  I'd probably say it's out of the niche category but not quite up to mainstream yet.

philryuh 19 days ago | 2 points

Ever since getting into the hobby, I sometimes forget that it's actually not mainstream and get surprised when people don't know certain things that seem "normal" or "obvious". For example, most people have no idea that certain board games get $1M+ on Kickstarters, have never heard of BGG, and have not had exposure to most of the modern board games.