Why Are Board Games So Popular With Families?


As a child, you probably grew up playing with a selection of board games. If not, it is likely that you adventured yourself with them during your adolescence or even discovered in it a hobby as a grown-up. From the simplest to the most thematic ones, board games are a part of many people’s lives, creating fun moments and pleasant family memories. Board games, therefore, have become a tradition for many families, keeping the hype alive over the years.

The game industry has been working hard to entertain players with diverse features, resulting in many novelties available in the market. Moreover, board games hold an important place in consumers’ minds. So, let’s dive into the reasons behind the popularity of board games and why they make great customer rewards in retail loyalty campaigns.


A playful opportunity for grocery retailers to connect with families

From a marketing perspective, board games are an amazing opportunity for grocery retailers to get closer to their customers. They can be powerful rewards in a loyalty campaign. By offering customers such a desired item, retailers allow them to create memories with their loved ones, which they will associate with the supermarket for many years.


The "Have Fun With Hasbro Games" campaign at Magnit, Russia

Let’s use “Have Fun With Hasbro Games” as an example. With this redemption campaign co-designed by UNGA and Hasbro, the Russian retailer Magnit invited families to a playful winter. Customers could collect stamps at their local supermarket to redeem five of the most popular games, and the special Monopoly Junior | Magnit Edition—specially designed for the campaign—completely won the hearts of families. A no-brainer considering that Monopoly is the world’s most popular board game.

So, board games clearly offer a unique experience and appeal to families, but what makes them so popular?

Board games introduce family time

Parents are always looking to spend quality family time with their children, and board games turn out to be a great activity to do together. According to Kids Insights, the popularity of board games among families almost doubled across the UK, Italy, Spain, Germany and the US in 2020. Board games indeed have the power to bring people together and facilitate human interaction. Moreover, due to their diversity, every family can find the perfect match for their interests and passions. They can even choose games that will stimulate learning among children.

Besides being a timeless play, board games also bridge generational gaps. They initiate play among grandparents, uncles, aunts, parents, and children, and they lead to traditions that create memories, connecting people through the power of play.

Those memories last a lifetime. So, when board games are somehow connected to a retailer, families also associate these moments with their favorite retailers caring for their community of families. A great step to building a long-lasting relationship.


Board games are an alternative to screen time

A lot has been said about the disadvantages of spending too much time in front of screens. Researchers (1) found out that in addition to obesity, diabetes and sleep problems, excessive screen time can lead to psychological problems in kids and teens. Parents have therefore been trying to come up with fun solutions to the challenge of keeping their little ones entertained without their phones, tablets or video games.

The popularity of board games among families can also be explained by the fact that they are a good alternative for kids to have fun while reducing screen time. Most children are already familiar with the mechanics of games, which makes learning how to play board games even more exciting. Plus, there is a huge variety of styles, themes and challenges within board games. Enough to keep every kid interested.

The endless possibilities of games also mean that retailers can introduce families to new hobbies and meaningful activities. Besides, customers increasingly care about leading healthier lifestyles, and many retailers want to support families in that mission. So, board-game-themed loyalty campaigns perfectly resonate with their strategy.


Board games help kids to develop essential skills

Board games entertain children, and they are also essential tools for learning. They are often used in schools and child therapy to gain knowledge and develop essential skills. In fact, researchers (2) emphasize that board games stimulate various cognitive, social and emotional competencies.

Just like that, board games are a fun way for parents to support their children’s development through play. This is an important message that retailers can communicate while offering board games as customer rewards. Why? Because just as retailers want to be there for families, they can also help parents to be there for their children, almost becoming a part of the family.

Sources: (1) An inquiry into the factors that impact on consumer appreciation of a board game – d’Astous, A. & Gagnon, K. (2007).
(2) Board games on emotional competences for school-age children – Dell’angela, L., Zaharia, A., Lobel, A., Begara, O. V., Sander, D., & Samson, A. C. (2020).

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