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Changing family values impact on the board games market

Attacks on traditional board games are coming thick and fast. First in the early nineties came onslaught from Nintendo and Sega video games. Then came the PC and computer games. Now there’s a whole online environment packed full of games. Yet whilst this might sound like bad news for the traditional board game, it’s actually our morals that are to blame. For as society gradually drifts away from the traditional family unit, so the leisure requirements of the family change.

In the eighties there was the trivia games boom. It was fashionable for a group or family to gather around a table and bombard each other with trivial questions. But now ?

Now with rising divorce rates, the family unit is being redefined. Where once a family would be gathered together around a table playing a board game, the chances are that they won’t even be in the same room together now. They will be spread around the house, watching TV, surfing the Internet and most likely, all doing it in separate rooms. So there’s less opportunity for board games to enter family life – so is this the death knell for board games ?

Not according to William Maclean, founder of board games distributor dirtycheats.com: “We specialize in non-electronic games and business is pretty steady. There has been a lot more interest in two player games and these were out of fashion a decade ago. People still buy party games and group games around the Christmas period but I believe the  future lies in games that can be played by a smaller number of people. For all the big marketing hype that surrounds the new media games, they lack the most basic ingredient – interaction (related info). Whatever the attractions might be of playing backgammon online against an opponent on the other side of the world, it’s not the same as playing someone face-to-face. It never will be. So the market for board games might well change but it won’t die, that’s certain”.


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