Classic board games are making a major comeback in 2023 as Americans look to simpler times and feelings of nostalgia. Despite online games and technology-driven gaming apps… there’s something different about classic board games, and Americans can’t get enough.
A new nationwide survey finds that more than 3 in 4 Americans still play classic board games. With 67% saying technology has made it more difficult to form meaningful relationships – it’s no surprise that a majority of Americans consider board games to be a good icebreaker. In fact, more than half of Americans (62%) say playing classic games helps combat their anxiety – that number jumps to 76% among Gen Z!
Relaxation and Nostalgia
So, what games are Americans turning to for comfort and feelings of nostalgia? Monopoly, Uno, and Scrabble are the most commonly played classic games in 2023. Monopoly is the favorite among Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials, but Gen Z is mixing things up. They’re turning to a sweeter classic, ranking Candy Land their #1 favorite childhood game.
Recent research shows 42% of Gen Z has a diagnosed mental health condition, so whether they’re sick of capitalism or are just opting for a less stressful pick, Gen Z is the first generation to favor more relaxing and less strategy-driven games. The survey also found that 84% of Gen Z misses classic games from their childhood, that’s more than any other generation. So, if you’re, you’re wondering what Gen Z is doing in between therapy sessions – a game of Candy Land might be a good bet.
Analog vs. Digital
New games and gaming apps pop up online all the time. A majority of Americans (71%) say they’re excited to see how AI changes the gaming world, and 41% admit to having a crush on a video game character, but the classics are holding their own in the digital space as well. More than 2 in 5 Americans play online versions of their favorite classic games, the number one reason for doing so: to pass the time. It’s a more financially responsible decision than the 24% who place online bets when they’re bored!
While digital versions offer undeniable convenience and entertainment value, a majority of Americans (64%) still have a soft spot for the traditional analog experience. And why not? There’s something special about gathering around a physical game board, rolling dice, shuffling cards, and feeling the tactile pleasure of moving game pieces. It’s a nostalgic ritual that creates lasting memories. In fact, 83% say playing board games as a child helped strengthen family relationships. It may be time to have a classic game night as a family rather than head to the movie theater!
Yearning for the Past
America’s longing for the games of their childhood is palpable. Roughly 7 in 10 say they miss games from their childhood, and 1 in 3 consider playing classic games to be a hobby of theirs.
The survey also found 17% of Americans and nearly a quarter of millennials collect classic games! About a third have multiple versions of the same game, and the average amount they’d be willing to spend on an exact replica from their childhood is $39.
The Future of Board Games
While classic board games continue to hold a strong presence in our lives, the future may hold some uncertainties. Two in five Americans believe that board games will eventually go out of style. However, there is still a desire for innovation and modernization within the realm of classic games. Monopoly, Battleship, and Life have emerged as the top three games that Americans feel are due for an update, reflecting the need to adapt these beloved classics to better align with the evolving times.
The long-term sustainability of classic board games remains to be seen, but their enduring popularity, along with the nostalgic and anti-anxiety-inducing feelings they bring out among Americans continues to captivate even the youngest generations.