How To Create A Best-Selling Board Game
There is no easy way to create a top selling board game. Statistics are against you as much as anything else. Due to the low barriers to entry in the board games business there is an ever-increasing proliferation of games in the market. To put this in context, the average board games company looks at somewhere between 400-600 new game ideas each year to launch anywhere between 1 to 10 new games each year, some review as many as 2000 new games each year. Consumers of board games products have an exceptionally large choice – a quick search on Amazon reveals more than 10,000 board games (this is without looking at cards games, dice games and other formats of games).
Therefore, you are very unlikely to create the next best-selling board game. However, there are some ways to increase your chances:
- Be Prolific – very few people ever got far on one game. There are of course some very notable exceptions, but our team knows dozens of professional board game creators, and nearly all of them are prolific. Over the course of time originators could be expected to create more than 100 board game concepts and gameplays. Clearly most games created don’t get any traction, even if they get to market they are unlikely to stay in the market for long, so the most effective way to give yourself a chance of creating a best-selling game is to be prolific.
- Be Great At Selling – this is an obvious factor, but nevertheless critical. If creators spent as long refining their selling skills as they do tweaking the finer points of gameplay then more of them would have best selling games in their portfolios.
- Jump On Trends At The Right Time – the most obvious example of this would be What Do You Meme, which has been remarkably successful. Memes had been around for some time when this game was launched, but that’s actually the key success factor – trend based games need to be carefully timed to be fresh and new while also being in the minds of enough people as a relevant trend. Go too early on a trend and it does not click with enough people, go to late and the market is already full. Cultural trends grow at different rates, so it is rarely possible to predict when is the right time. So again, repetition will deliver the best chance of launching the right game at the right time at some point in an originator’s career.
- Gameplay Is King – while trends and themes can drive strong upfront sales, what propels a game ahead and establishes it as a top selling perennial classic is gameplay experience. You need players to want to really push the game on their friends and to want to play with new people all the time. This organic growth is by far the strongest underlying factor in building top selling games. Perhaps the most powerful example of this in recent times is Dobble from Asmodee. It seems so simple, but if you watch the energy levels of a group of people when they play this game you can see why so many people are so actively passing the game on to friends and families, which in turn explains why Dobble is now one of the best-selling games.
- Stand Out From The Crowd – one of the most fundamental changes in the board games business over the past few years has been the increased volume of new games on the market each year. Therefore, each new game has to fight for attention and shelf space alongside an ever-growing number of perennial classic games. Sometimes achieving standout is about the game concept or theme, it can also be around a celebrity or influencer co-operation, but there needs to be something about your game and the way it is launched that contributes to standing out, otherwise regardless of how good your game is you are likely to be trampled underfoot by the volume of competition scrabbling for attention.
Nobody said it would be easy! Our team knows people working for decades to try to launch a new best-selling game without ever achieving it but following these 5 points should help to increase your chances.
We run a Consultancy business helping board games companies to grow. We have experience of most major board games markets around the world and our team has developed more than 200 board games including versions of classic games like Monopoly, Clue/do, Risk, Game of Life etc. For more information on our services (including our Export sales Consultancy) please just click here: https://www.kidsbrandinsight.com/services/
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