Humanity was obsessed with board games for several thousands of years by now, and during this time we have managed to invent thousands of different ways to entertain. However, the true age of board games is the 20th century, when the public demand for this kind of pastime became as big as never before. With the popularization of plastic as a versatile and durable material and the invention of new polygraph methods, table games also became as affordable as never before.
In the current blog I would like to talk about the most popular table games ever released. The current list will be based solely on the number of sold copies, and no personal preferences are involved. I guess that this list will be interesting for most table game geeks around here because you can never know what other people play. You have your own preferences, and it may be surprising to know that your tastes are so far from the popular opinion or vice versa. In any case, here is the list of the most commercially successful table games ever released. Enjoy!
#10. Game of Life
Oh, irony – even when it comes to the table games created to help you forget about the occasionally tense life routines, humans tend to get back to the core of life routines! The original Game of Life was released in 1860 by Milton Bradley, American lithographer and board game inventor. The game offers players to travel across the field with squares that feature different life events like going to college, marriage, divorce, the birth of children, etc. The player’s primary goal is to score at least 100 points to “ensure a happy retirement.”
#9. Candy Island
This simple racing board game was developed in 1948 for children who have to stay in hospital. It is very easy to play, it is colorful and, for reasons unknown, it is very popular among children.
Yeah, Battleship is one of the most popular table games ever released, and it is probably one of the most internationally recognized ones. The battleship was mostly popular as a pen-and-pencil game in the first half of the 20th century until the Milton Bradley company (yeah, the very same Milton Bradley) decided to release it as a table game that features real models of battleships and battlefields for each player.
#7. Trivial Pursuit
The game was inspired by popular Quiz TV shows, and it mainly imitates the general principles of such programs. In Trivial pursuit the players (normally 2-6 people) have to answer the general knowledge questions, and each time they give the right answer, the player moves his or her playing figure closer to the winning line.
Clue or Cluedo is probably the most popular murder mystery game ever released. To be more exact, it can be easily called the game that actually pioneered this genre when it was released in 1949. The game can be played by 2-6 players who have to solve a murder mystery relying on the clues and facts they can collect. The game grew into a great franchise which released its own movie, gameshow, books, and, of course, many varieties of Cluedo game.
This game probably needs no introduction because there’s hardly anyone who hasn’t played scrabble at least a couple of times in their life. Nowadays, it has been translated into more than 30 languages, and more than 150 million copies of Scrabble were sold worldwide.
Since Monopoly was invented in 1903, more than 250 million copies were sold worldwide. And this is only the official statistics that do not include all the pirate copies and replicas, which were always numerous. And did you know that Monopoly was created by feminist and educator Lizzie Magie who wanted to explain the economic theories of Henry George, which appealed to her? Actually, Monopoly was her second board game patent after The Landlord’s Game, which also dealt with the issues of economy and taxation but wasn’t as successful as its successor game.
The first known backgammon game was discovered in Mesopotamia, and the expert archeologists believe that this world’s oldest Backgammon is about 5,000 years old. As you understand, it will be hard to count how many copies of the game were sold during the last five millennials, but we sincerely believe that there were quite a lot!
Checkers are not so old as backgammon – most historians believe that the game was invented about 3,000 years ago. However, the simplicity of checkers and the variety of different strategies you can apply to win over the opponent make it one of the most entertaining table games ever.
Want it or not, but it looks like chess will always top this list because its popularity is only growing bigger and bigger. Chess is the only table game that is recognized as an Olympic sport since 1999. It is absolutely impossible to come up with any reliable statistics on the number of chess sets that were sold. Still, most table game experts agree that chess is probably the most widely copied game ever invented by human society.