About a month ago, we shared a survey that we’d hoped could give us a little sample of the diversity of the board gaming hobby. We put it out through Facebook, Boardgamegeek, Reddit, Twitter and hoped it would have a decent reach. We ended up with 2397 responses, wildly more than we had anticipated – thank you to everyone who took the survey and passed it on! (If you would like to see the survey questions, you can see the form here although we are no longer accepting responses.)
Although this is a decent number of responses it must be realized it’s not necessarily representative of the hobby worldwide. The amount of people who answered the survey is about half of the amount of attendees that BGG.con has every year in Texas, and pales in comparison to the 160k+ fans who attend Essen Spiel every year in Germany. In addition to this, there’s a large bias with regards to language which has likely skewed our results towards primarily English speaking countries.
However! We still think the data that almost 2400 board gamers shared with us is fascinating, and we hope you will too. This is the first in a series of us sharing the results, so we’re starting off with the more general and demographic information and next time, we’ll be taking a look at gaming habits with families, partners and on your own.
To summarize the graphical layout:
- Location: While over 56% of survey respondents were from the United States of America, we had people popping up all over the world. From Brazil and Argentina, to Australia and New Zealand. China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Europe was diverse, with gamers in Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, the UK, Germany, Norway and many more. We do show up around the world, regardless of numbers! Again, the language bias and networks via which this was shared did show some bias.
- Language: 82% of respondents reported their primary language as English (most likely due to the language bias of the survey). Others well reported were Dutch, French, German, Spanish, Swedish and Portuguese.
- Marital Status: A whopping 52% of gamers are married, and another 15% are in a relationhip/s. Just over 1/4 are single.
- Race/Ethnicity: While mostly white, there were responses in every category for this question, in particular Chinese (2.1%), Latin American (2.7%), Aboriginal (0.6%) and Filipino (0.7%).
- Age: Although we had respondents under 12 and over 65, there is a curve towards the middle age ranges. 42% of gamers are 25-34, 33% are 35-44. Over 16% are 45+.
- Gender: While most surveyed were male, there’s representation of women (24%), trans (0.6%) and non-binary (1.1%) folks in the hobby, all numbers we hope to see grow.
- Education: Almost 2/3 of gamers have a higher education of some kind (Bachelor’s+) and many others have at some time attended college/university.
There were very small numbers of respondents who chose ‘Prefer not to Answer’ or ‘Other’ in these categories, which is a great showing for the data.
To summarize the graphical layout:
- How long (approximately) have you been playing ‘modern’ board games? The majority is 10+ years, followed by 3-5 years, 6-10 years, 2 years, 1 year, and less than a year.
- Did you play board games of any type when you were a child? Overwhelmingly yes, with 97.8%!
- What got you into the board gaming hobby? Primarily “Friends introduced me to board games” followed closely by “Gateway games”. “Watched a show/YouTube video about board games” was quite prominent above attending conventions with tabletop games, or attending board game cafes which were at the lower end of responses with “Other”.
- What type of games do you generally prefer playing? It turns out people love multi-player competitive the most (72.2%)! Next to that, co-operative and 2-player competitive shined as well. At the lower end of the scale were “1 vs Many” and Solo games – and also the all-encompassing “All of them!” made a great showing with 38% of responses.
We’d love to hear your thoughts, so please let us know what you think in the comments below, or over on Twitter!
Nicole had played a lot of backgammon, Life and Monopoly when younger. She started playing hobby games in University after trying out D&D 3rd edition, and then joining her University game club. After a while she gravitated towards board games as a casual gamer.
After moving to Toronto in 2009 she started gaming more and met her (former) partner Adam through the hobby and hasn't turned back. It's hard for her to pick a favourite game, but if you really stared her down she might pick Castles of Burgundy.
When not gaming, Nicole enjoys cooking/baking, reading comics, watching tv/movies and visiting museums! And cuddling every dog she can.
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That´s a great job! You may be sure that there are a lot of gamers in Brasil that did not fill this survey!
So pleased to know that!
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May I ask, how many African American/people of African descent reported their ethnicity? I am curios, being a black man myself.
Hey Ron! We had about half a dozen people respond to African-American, and also to Black.
Thanks for the response and doing the survey, as I’ve wondered for a long time about these things. I knew it was low, but not THAT low. Interesting.
It’s really rough seeing such low numbers – I mean, this survey isn’t exactly exhausting, but I think it’s fairly representative. – Nicole