Board games haven't always seemed like a good investment, but there are some pretty straightforward facts that say otherwise. All you need is a little research, and you could end up making some good money.
Board games are a good investment thanks to crowd-funding platforms like Kickstarter and online marketplaces like eBay and Amazon. By purchasing a limited print game when it comes out and reselling on a marketplace, you could double your investment in as little as 2 years.
Knowing where to look for the right games that will make a return on your investment can make all the difference. Keep reading to understand all the ways your investment into a board game can pay off.
Technology hasn’t been all bad to board games.
There is a side of the technology that helps the genre continue to grow and even gain momentum.
With the creation of online crowd-funding platforms like Kickstarter, investing in a board game has become incredibly easy.
And instead of seeing that return on your investment over the period of 20-30 years, you can see your return within 2-3 years.
You also don’t need to have the most exclusive and rare copy of a board game to see that investment.
Many of the newer games that are being funded are seeing a quick turnaround in their investments.
An example is the board game Blood Rage.
Released in 2015, the game was originally being sold on Kickstarter for $75, and it included exclusive content you wouldn't get in any retail release.
In 2017 that price jumped up to $500 for the same game and same exclusive content.
That’s a turnaround of 2 years and an increase in your return of almost 700%.
Research shows which types of investments have been made on Kickstarter since its inception in 2009 till May of 2016 show gaming at the top of the list.
This is not an uncommon scenario for the world of board games.
Crowd-funding allows bigger companies who wouldn't usually make a game of these types to enjoy benefits that help board games get made.
As long as crowd-funding growth continues, the market of board games should continue to rise as well.
Below are some of the biggest competitors in the space of board games.
With recent events, people are spending more time in their homes than the world has seen in decades.
The more time people are spending indoors, the more they are needing to find ways to self-entertain.
The global market size of board games was a whopping 13.1 billion dollars in 2019. It’s also projected to grow at a rate of 9% from 2019-2025.
With North America being the largest share of the 13.1 billion, it makes sense that the demand for investments is getting higher.
Board games can be separated into the following categories:
Table-top games like Monopoly or Catan still reign as king of the industry, with Monopoly as the highest market share at 30%.
Board games and jigsaw puzzles have seen a considerable increase over the past few years and have continued to see an increase in market share and revenue.
Since 2016, global games and puzzles have seen a steady increase, and in 2015 alone, the US saw a 29% growth in the industry.
In March of 2020, puzzles saw an increase of 229% because of the need to stay at home and still find ways to entertain.
The fact is that the market is growing and continues to grow year over year.
That means that the games you invest in today have a great chance to get higher returns than when you purchased.
And it doesn’t have to be a Kickstarter, unknown game that you invest in.
Many of the board games that are printed today are limited runs.
The makers of the games already have a set of pre-orders they are printing for ,and when they sell their inventory, they don't want to run the risk of a reprint.
This could end up causing a loss from holding too many games in warehouses as backstock.
So buying a board game at your local toys-r-us could double its price within a year or two if that game is no longer available.
A great example is Mansions of Madness, which sold out within two years and the only available copies were being sold on eBay for double their original amount.
But to make a smart investment, you need to become knowledgeable about the industry.
Mansions of Madness did end up printing a second run which made many of the offers online obsolete.
The short answer to this question is yes, you can.
If you end up purchasing a board game of any kind without even selling it then you will have essentially lost your investment.
But you’ll be happy to know that it doesn’t work like the stock market or other, modern video games where you purchase and could potentially keep losing money the longer you play.
With board games, the initial investment is all you need to make and the longer you keep your game, the more you dilute your investment.
As mentioned above, board games have the ability to give you more than monetary returns.
This makes them potentially worth more than what you paid for them, but you won't be able to measure this level of return.
So when making your investment, it will be important to identify the type of return you are looking to get.
Do you want a very specific monetary return where you will need to do research in order to sell your board game?
Or do you want to enjoy playing the game and create memories that can last you and your friends or family a lifetime?
Just like any other investment there are ways you can avoid making a mistake and putting money into a game you'll never see a return.
If you’ve determined your main goal from the game is to get money back at some point then you will need to do your research.
Look into the production of the game and see how many games the makers are planning on making.
Short, limited runs will ultimately yield the highest returns, so you will want to target those specific games.
Larger games like Monopoly or Catan will never give you a return on your investment because of the number of prints these games have.
If you had a themed version of these games with a limited print, you could make a significant return.
You also want to go into forums to see how others perceive the game and if the hype matches the product.
After all, you could buy a game at a great price, but if no one ever wants to play it, or values it, then you'll never get your money back.
Once you buy a game, you'll need to make sure there are no additional prints planning on being released.
Expansion packs are ok because they won’t devalue the actual game itself, and they could even add to the value if resold at a later time.
But if the makers plan on another printing, you'll have to wait even longer to resell, and your initial investment will be devalued slightly because there will be more games available.
If you don’t plan on getting a monetary return from your investment but don’t want to get ripped off on a bad game, you'll need to check the reviews.
If the game has been released, then read what others say about it or make a thread in a forum about the game asking for others' experience.
If the game hasn't been released, there is no way to know if you'll be able to get what you expect from it.
There isn't a set time period you can wait on in order to get your money back or make a profit from your board game.
Some games can have a fairly quick turnaround, and you could see your money double in as little as 2 years.
This is more common with new games you can invest in using Kickstarter or Indiegogo.
This is a drastic improvement from the days of old where it could take 2-3 decades for you to be able to see your investment have a significant return.
There is the possibility that a board game is hiding in your parent’s or grandparents’ attic.
All you would need to do in that case is gain ownership, and you could easily resell in an online marketplace and make a pure profit.
Another option would be to go to a second-hand store or a garage sale and purchase a game for a significantly lower amount and immediately resell.
But if you aren't that lucky, then you will need to wait till you see your investment bring anything back.
The market is projected to continue to grow through 2025.
As long as crowd-funding and other online marketplaces continue to have popularity, then there is no real reason why the industry shouldn’t continue to grow.
After 2025 the market is projected to slow down so that growth won’t be as large as it has been for the past 5-10 years.
So, if you are thinking of investing in board games and want to make some money while doing so, there has never been a better time.
Although the market is projected to slow down, the enthusiasm for board games will continue in small circles, and the need for buyers and sellers will also continue.
So just because you might miss the absolute heyday of board game investing, it doesn't mean that the boat has completely sailed.
Board games are a good investment for many reasons. They are timeless and their popularity doesn’t fade with time.
A board game can have some of the same upsell opportunities as apps that you play on your phone.
The only difference is that with an app, you will constantly get bombarded by opportunities to spend more money.
With board games, if you’re lucky, you’ll get a chance to purchase an expansion pack that might come out once a year.
With this pack, it expands the game's possibilities, and you can continue to play the same game in a completely new way.
These expansion packs can also become rare when you purchase them because they are often sold in a limited print.
As we’ve talked about before, these limited prints become very desired by others who can’t find the pack anywhere in stores.
That’s when you can eventually end up charging more for the pack than you originally bought it for and you could make a significant amount of margin on the sale.
And if you choose not to sell then your expansion pack continues to bring new light to the same game you’ve probably been playing for months, if not years.
Compared to the various devices and software you need to play some of today’s most popular games, board games are physical. And there are benefits to board games:
Just set up the board and the pieces and you could play for however long you and your friends are interested. This is one of the reasons that makes board games so appealing as an investment.
Unlike the other, modern games, board games will never become obsolete because of an outdated system or version that you are playing.
Once you purchase the game, you can play it for decades without needing to buy anything else.
There are board games that have been passed down for generations playing on the exact same set as when it was purchased.
While there are many technology games that are portable these days, none of them compare to the portability and reliability of board games.
Typically, there are no batteries involved with board games that you have to charge when running low.
There is also no reason to be connected to the internet so you could play with friends.
Some of the more popular board games even have miniature sets that you can purchase if you plan on using them for a road trip or while going camping.
You could take your board game on a plane without needing to check it through security.
Because board games don't require any electricity and they aren't limited to connecting to the internet, you could literally bring them anywhere you want.
You could bring your game into a deep cave and play by candlelight if needed, and there wouldn't be any issues.
The idea that these types of games can be played at any time and in any place makes them a solid investment.
You can get a lot more use out of a board game because of this reason and you can rely on it to always perform the same without any glitches or technological flaws.
When you’re playing a video game of today’s standards, it's easy to become almost zombie-like when playing.
That’s because most of the games today are built to give you immediate satisfaction when playing so that you always want to come back.
It doesn’t take a lot of critical thinking but instead just requires you to put in the time and energy.
But with board games, there is a level of intelligence that you need to strategically win against your opponent.
It’s not enough to roll a die and move through the emotions.
You need to understand what that move will mean in the long term, and there are often alternate routes to winning.
This means that everyone has a chance to win, but it will take the smartest in the room to get the job done.
This level of gaming requires investment to continue its success and ensure that more people keep playing.
By investing in board games you aren't just getting a good game; you can play anywhere you want at any time.
You are investing in the future of gaming itself.
You’re investing in how kids continue to spend their time and mental energy.
Some of the earlier board games had limited print runs which means there was only a specific amount of them printed.
If you think about sports cards and how the more rare a card is the more expensive it can be, the same can be applied to board games.
Milton Bradley printed a game called Hero’s Quest in the 1990s and had a limited print run.
The game was originally priced between $25-$35 but is now being sold at online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay for anywhere between $100-$400.
These types of stories are somewhat common in the board game industry.
eBay had an item for auction in 2017 for a game called Diplomacy that was originally made in 1959.
The inventor of the game was the one putting the item for sale on eBay and his copy was #1 out of 500 that were printed.
In 1959 the cost for Diplomacy was $6.59 and in today’s money that would equal about $70.
But after all was said and done the board game ended up selling for $5234.
That is one of the higher investments you could make for a board game, but this is what's possible when you make the buying and selling of board games seriously.
Nowadays, kids will connect with each other over a network so that they can all play the same game together.
But when the internet is out or there is a problem with the game, that option becomes obsolete and the individual has to play solo.
With board games, group play is inherently built into the game and you couldn’t play without others being in the same room.
It takes several people to show up at a specific time in a specific place in order to play the game.
That level of commitment and social interaction is unheard of in many online games today.
Although there might still be a community aspect, and you can even talk to others in the same game, you can't be with any of them.
That’s what makes board games so special as an investment.
You’re investing in spending time with others in an intimate and fun setting.
It might not be a monetary return on your investment, but the memories that live on after board game nights can last with you forever.
When you’re playing a board game with others and having a good time there is inevitably a memory or two that sticks with you.
You might even talk about it for the next day or week following. Remembering how good a time it was or how much it made you laugh.
Almost every time we play board games, these situations arise, and they become memories we can potentially keep for the rest of our lives.
When thinking about investing in a board game, it's important to remember this inherent value that the games can provide.
Ultimately, this is why you invest in a game in the first place. Whether it be a new game or an old game.
You are looking to be entertained, but even more than that, you are looking to create memories you can hold on to for the rest of your life.
And it’s not just your memories you’re giving.
Everyone involved in the game starts to create their memories and the board game that was a simple purchase begins to take on a whole new meaning.
You could even start to make a ritual out of playing the game every week at the same time.
The game can become integrated into your life and will start to shape your experiences.
These are the types of returns that are immeasurable for your investment but that take on a deeper meaning for your life.
Below is a list of somewhat popular board games that can get you to start thinking about investing possibilities.
And these are just a few of the games that people are enjoying now but the quality and quantity of board games continue to increase every year.
As many in the US have experienced, board games can be passed down from generation to generation.
More often than not, parents and grandparents have board games stored away in some old closet when dinner parties were more common.
As we age, we pass on these games to anyone who might want them in the family.
If they aren’t given to family, they are given to Goodwill or some other second-hand store.
People can then purchase these at a discount and enjoy the same games people played decades ago and experience the same fun.
These types of investments become priceless in what they can potentially provide for your family but also for someone else’s.
Not only does a board game potentially provide a monetary return on your investment but being able to keep a family game to your children and children’s children can take on a return of its own.
Board games have various reasons that make them a smart investment for anyone willing to do a little research. You can make a profit from your investment quicker than has ever been possible, thanks to crowd-funding and online marketplaces.
More than money, you could create memories with friends and family that you'll take with you forever. Make sure you know which games have the potential to bring a return, and you can invest with little risk.
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