Spin Master, a leading global children’s entertainment company, has conducted new research that reveals the resurgence of board games as a social activity that brings families together. 

The Board Games: The Power of Play 2023 Study conducted with TotallyAwesome indicates that in recent years, board games have made a comeback and are now in the top three most popular activities to enjoy on a rainy day, which includes watching movies or TV shows and playing video games.

In Australia, with more than nine out of ten parents expressing concern about the impact of digital media and technology on their own lives, and 83% believing their children are negatively affected by electronic devices, many parents are recognising there are viable alternatives to decrease screen time and encourage social interaction.

These alternative activities such as engaging in face-to-face activities like board games, encourage healthier family interactions and provide opportunities to create more meaningful and fulfilling experiences together which can foster stronger connections.

“We are thrilled to see that board games are making a comeback as a favourite pastime for families. Our research shows that board games are helping families connect, bond and make memories together.  As a company that is dedicated to creating play experiences that inspire joy, we are committed to designing board games that are fun for the whole family and that bring people together in new and exciting ways.”

Geoff Oliver, Spin Master’s Marketing Director.

The power of board games and face-to-face interaction

The Spin Master / TotallyAwesome study reveals that board games are enjoyed by all ages from six years through to 18 years, however, more recently there has been a change with the skew towards older ages.  This trend can be attributed to a number of factors, including the desire for more face-to-face interaction and social connection in an increasingly digital world.

Board games provide an excellent and immersive alternative to digital communication, enabling people to reconnect with one another in a more meaningful manner.  One of the most notable perks of board games is their ability to serve as a family event, bringing people closer together.  The study indicated that a significant majority of children, specifically 95%, prefer it when their parents or caregivers initiate family game time by suggesting board games as an activity. 

Children who participated in the study, expressed that being involved in family board game fun made them feel appreciated and recognised, fostering a sense of belonging and teamwork.  It provided them with an opportunity to engage in friendly competition while also learning about good sportsmanship and the importance of playing by the rules.

Engaging in board games creates a safe space for individuals to connect and nurture relationships. They can be an excellent means of bonding with family members and offer an opportunity for parents to reclaim precious family time.  Spin Master’s study suggests that most people play board games with their family members, with 57% of parents fitting gameplay into their schedules at least every few weeks, emphasising the significance of this form of entertainment in fostering family togetherness.

Emotional intelligence and empathy

Board games offer a chance for individuals of all ages to unplug from screens and engage in conversation, critical thinking, and problem-solving.  This promotes cognitive and social development, benefiting both children and adults.

In fact, the Spin Master / TotallyAwesome study reveals that parents discover new games through a non-linear approach, seamlessly navigating between online and offline sources, highlighting the diverse ways in which these games can be explored and enjoyed.

Playing board games also creates lasting memories, as participants share laughter, triumphs, and even setbacks.  These memorable moments can be cherished for years to come, and often lead to the formation of new traditions within families and social circles.

Escaping digital fatigue

In today’s fast-paced digital world, people are constantly bombarded with information, notifications, and screen time.  This perpetual state of connectedness can lead to a sense of disconnection from the real world. Board games, on the other hand, offer a refreshing escape from this digital overload.  By encouraging interaction, strategic thinking, and teamwork, they provide a unique opportunity to unplug, unwind, and focus on the present moment. 

The benefits of board games extend beyond providing a simple break from screens.  They also foster social connections and promote emotional well-being.  By gathering around a table and engaging with others, players can develop stronger relationships and enjoy a shared sense of camaraderie.  Additionally, the strategic and problem-solving aspects of many board games can help sharpen cognitive abilities, while the friendly competition they promote often boosts mood and self-esteem. 

In an age where digital devices dominate our lives, the humble board game has emerged as a powerful tool for enhancing mental health, strengthening social bonds, and helping people stay grounded in the present moment.

The power of nostalgia

Fun, gameplay for the whole family, and easy to set up are the top three leading factors parents consider when buying games.  The Spin Master / TotallyAwesome study also revealed that almost 10 out of 10 kids play board games, and it evokes positive emotions among them.  Family time, love for competition, and the feel-good factor are the top three reasons kids love playing board games. 

Nostalgia has long been a powerful force in shaping consumer preferences, and the resurgence of board games is no exception.  Many people recall fond memories of playing board games with family and friends, and as a result, they yearn to recreate those experiences and reconnect with their roots.  This desire for nostalgia has driven demand for both classic and modern board games, as players seek to relive the excitement and joy they experienced during childhood.

“We’re passionate about connecting people with board games that ignite nostalgia and capture the excitement of today’s trends.  The classics will always have a place in the family game cupboard, however, incorporating new and exciting games like Hedbanz and Jumanji are what will keep things fresh and kids engaged.  We aim to create memorable experiences for everyone, whether you’re reminiscing about childhood game nights or exploring the world of board games for the first time.  The nostalgia associated with board games serves as a reminder of the meaningful bonds we forged in our youth, and their enduring power to bring people together in a world that is constantly changing,” said Geoff.

The Spin Master / TotallyAwesome study noted the continued popularity of classic games across generations.  However, the research also indicates a rising trend towards interactive options among game players, suggesting a growing desire for more dynamic and engaging gameplay experiences. 

As the board game landscape evolves, participants are increasingly seeking immersive and engaging experiences that foster collaboration, communication, and dynamic interaction. 

Innovative games like Jumanji and Hedbanz are meeting these changing needs, offering captivating gameplay that combines strategy, creativity, and collaboration.  The popularity of these games can be attributed to their ability to provide new and unique experiences while maintaining the social aspects that make board games so appealing, ultimately creating lasting memories with friends and family.

Board games provide something tangible to play while enjoying the company of friends and family, and they can be a great way to escape from the stresses of daily life.  In a world that can sometimes feel overwhelming, board games offer a way to slow down and enjoy the moment.

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