Analysing the Versatility of Board Games in the Digital Age

It’s no secret that board games have long been a central part of various global cultures. However, the much-loved pastime suffered something of recent popularity decline following the growth of digital entertainment alternatives. Despite that, a widespread desire to take board games online has revolutionised the sector.   

The Versed states that the social element of board games naturally opened the door to a digital switch, with players now able to immerse themselves in multiplayer gameplay. Not only that, but the report also highlights how streaming platforms like YouTube have brought the pastime back to the forefront of gaming. So, let’s delve into board games’ versatility and consider what the future may hold from an expansion standpoint. 

Global Popularity Highlights Diversity   

Board games are one of the oldest forms of entertainment, with the first of its kind coming back in 3500 B.C. Since the Egyptians created Senet, which features a grid with 30 squares, increasing numbers of captivating board games have hit the mainstream market after the pastime became popular during the late-19th century. To date, however, Senet is still being played today throughout Egypt, with museums and game companies producing modern-day versions of the classic.

It speaks volumes about the popularity of board games that different games are played throughout different cultures. They remain a central part of society throughout other African countries outside of Egypt. For example, Morabaraba is a traditional game that’s reportedly captivated players in South Africa for over 800 years. The two-player strategy game sees players try to form lines of three to eliminate their opponent’s beads. The loser is the first to lose all but two of their beads.

Morabaraba isn’t one of the quickest board games in existence, with an average game taking between 40 and 60 minutes. However, this doesn’t mean that the board game couldn’t become more diverse and filter into the digital world. The online casino sector, for example, could be a goer, with online poker illustrating that there’s a market for long-lasting strategic titles. Although an average poker game lasts between one and three hours, it’s still one of the most popular games within South Africa’s online casino market. This is evident from the fact that the platforms reviewed at host numerous poker lobbies, allowing bettors to compete against thousands of other players from across the world. With stud games and Texas Hold’em on offer, there’s variation to enjoy outside of other highly popular casino opportunities, such as live games and video slots.

Growing Examples of Titles Thriving in the Digital Era

Few can argue that there isn’t a board-game-loving market across the globe. Because of this, increasing numbers of digital variants have come to fruition in recent years. Monopoly, which dates back to 1904, as we wrote at, is the inspiration behind a host of modern-day video games. On Steam, players can enjoy MONOPOLY PLUS, which is an Ubisoft publication that brings the much-loved title to life with customisable rules and unique in-game animations.

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Furthermore, those who enjoy traditional board games like chess and draughts can immerse themselves in accessible online variants within the digital era. Not only that, but some platforms offer real-money versions of each creation. Much like Monopoly, chess has transitioned over to the PC gaming market, with Steam hosting a selection of chess-related titles, including Simply Chess and Ultimate Chess. Moreover, aspiring draughts players can also download Sabec Limited’s Checkers on the PlayStation Store.

It speaks volumes about the pastime’s revival during the digital era that the sector is set to record impressive growth rates over the coming years. According to Intrado, the board games market is forecast to register a compound annual growth figure of 13 per cent between 2021 and 2026. This indicates that, even in an era of next-generation gaming, board games still have a place in society.

Where Do Board Games Go from Here?

The key to ensuring long-term popularity rests in the development of digital crossovers. Platforms like Steam and PlayStation bring much-needed accessibility to the sector, along with opening the door to user-friendly multiplayer gameplay. By targeting the digital market, there’s scope to bring together a global community of board game fanatics.