There's tough competition in the board game industry. And while the vast majority of games released each year flies under your radar, there are the top performers that come into the limelight and grab everyone's attention. Still, I personally find it impossible to keep up with even just these games. So I put together a video that will give you a (relatively) quick reminder of the industry trends starting from 2014. I've also summarized below some info that you may be interested in before watching the video. If you're not interested, you can find the video on the bottom of the article.
Where did I get the data?
The video is based on traffic data I've gathered from Board Game Atlas and Board Game Prices using Google Analytics (for those who aren't aware, we acquired BGP in October 2019). While BGA is more of a well-rounded website that provides community discussion, game data, price comparison, and other features, we've only been around starting 2019. BGP, on the other hand, launched in 2007 and started gaining major traction in 2014 as one of the go-to places for finding the best board game prices.
Unlike BGA, BGP doesn't have pages for games that haven't gone to retail. This means that many of the Kickstarter games you might expect to see will only show up in the timeline after/during fulfillment and retail release (e.g. Root and Nemesis).
As mentioned earlier, both BGA and BGP's history don't go far enough for me to present the trends prior to 2014. BGP was around before 2014 but the traffic patterns on its game pages was too erratic its early years and not suitable for capturing trends.
How did I make the video?
I used Flourish to create my racing bar chart. It's a neat tool, for sure, but I found it odd that it doesn't allow a convenient way to export to video format or YouTube. I ended up recording my screen and editing afterwards. This made the final version slightly pixelated, but my biggest complaint was with its wonky caption system that lags the video, and its limited formatting/positioning options. Hope you don't mind too much!
Quick thoughts and future video plans
- I hope you don't find the changes too abrupt. I tried to achieve the right balance of having a shorter video for you to watch vs. making it easily "readable". Let me know you feel about the pacing/video length and I'll try to adjust for future videos.
- The traffic data seems to adequately capture the right trends (see next section).
- I want to take this data and create more videos with a slight twist. For example, should I sort the data and make a video that highlights specific genres? Or mehanics? Or designers/publishers? There are plenty of ways to go with this and I'll be more than happy to listen to your suggestions!
Lastly, here are some of the trends that I noticed right away. Can you spot anything else?
- 2019 - Year of Wingspan
- Some noticeable uptick for Spiel des Jahres and Kennerspiel des Jahres winners
- Burst of traffic on popular Kickstarter games after fulfillment (e.g. Root and Nemesis)
- Impact of Shut Up & Sit Down's reviews - A while back, I did a deep dive into our Google Analytics to see exactly how much their coverage creates popular trends. Based on my findings, SUSD is perhaps the most impactful when it comes to digging out a game from obscurity and placing it onto the top most viewed game pages.
Enjoy the video!