Most Sold Board Games of All Time

by Staff & Contributors

Best Selling Board Games

What’s better than a great night in with a board game together with friends and/or family? Or as a solitary pursuit? They range from simple childhood ones like Tic Tac Toe and Snakes and Ladders to complex board games such as chess and Go. Some modern board games simulate traditional games such as Monopoly and Cluedo (Clue).

Many people began their love for board games by playing classics such as chess, which has been around since the 6th century BC. The pieces for this early game were thought to be religious idols until players used them in war during the time of Genghis Khan. The rules of this ancient game have not changed much over millennia, but it is now widely considered an intellectual game where players must plan to move their pieces into a ‘checkmate’ position.



Checkers is another ancient game that has been around for over 2000 years and was initially called Aon-Ga-Wee, meaning “one on the ground”. The rules of checkers is like its predecessors, but require players to jump rather than move their pieces diagonally, as in chess.

Other board games, such as backgammon, were created by imitating tactical battle actions during the war, so some of the rules are still very difficult for new players to understand. Some might say these early board games were derivative. Still, they served an essential purpose in society back then, as people used them not only for entertainment but also for improving strategic thinking skills, which later grew into a life-long love for board games.



In the 1920s, game designers created early iterations of modern board games, from traditional ones that used to be played on a tabletop, including Monopoly and Cluedo (Clue). Although these two popular games didn’t gain much popularity at first, they have now been adapted into many forms since then, including online versions.


Chess and Go

The next wave of new board games was in the 1970s and 1980s when abstract strategy games such as Go were invented. These games are now played for money at tournaments. However,  the most famous one is still the World Chess Championship, which has been running since 1886.


Othello (Reversi)

Another popular game that uses similar rules but is played on a hexagonal board, is Othello (Reversi), which was created in Japan in the 1870s by an Englishman called S. L. Gone who later renamed it after one of his employees, Taki Seiyojo.

More modern versions of traditional board games were invented, including Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, and Pictionary. Although these were all sold as family games, they became extremely popular with college students looking to challenge their friends with wordplay, trivia knowledge, and quick sketches, which is why adults still play them to this day.


Best selling games

The best-selling commercial board game in history is Monopoly, which has sold over 200 million copies since 1935. It was created by Charles Darrow, who sold it to the Parker Brothers company. People have criticized its creator for being too simplistic in its design compared with other complex board games out there.

It has been reported that only 10% of players manage to win the game, which means 90% must lose, and most players hate playing this game because of how long it takes to finish.

Despite this, Monopoly‘s popularity grew exponentially during the Great Depression era due to instructions on how they could sell their possessions if things got desperate enough, something everyone wanted to avoid at all costs.


Cards Against Humanity

One of the most profitable board games in recent years is Cards Against Humanity, which was invented in 2010 in Chicago by a group of friends who wanted to make fun of serious topics.

The rules are simple to understand, but they can be played with up to 20 players at once, thanks to its large deck of cards containing different categories and fill-in-the-blank statements. Because it can be played online or face-to-face, this game has become popular with both adults and teenagers worldwide, making it the best-selling party game that doesn’t require any skill except being funny.


Trivial Pursuit

Another successful board game that relies on chance rather than strategy is Trivial Pursuit, one of the best-selling games across many different formats. Two Canadian journalists invented this game in 1979. They wanted to make a trivia board game that everyone could play, not just school-educated people.

The original version contained six categories with 600 questions, but now the most popular format is the modern one with six different categories and 1,400 questions. It is reported that more than 50 million Trivial Pursuit games have been sold worldwide, making it the bestselling licensed board game in history.


The future of board games

The future of traditional board games looks uncertain because they are expensive to produce, take up a lot of room, and can easily be damaged over time if not taken care of properly.

Although these issues can happen with other types of games such as social card games like Cards Against Humanity, the fact they are sold as physical copies, means the company that owns them can sell them to a new generation of board gamers.

Despite this, more and more games like Cards Against Humanity and Codenames continue to be produced, making it very hard for traditional board games to compete with their popularity.


Settlers Of Catan

The most popular digital board game in recent years is Settlers Of Catan, which was created in Germany by Klaus Teuber in 1995.  It has a simple objective: use your dice rolls to collect resources such as wood, brick, and wheat so you can build roads, settlements, and cities for victory points between players.

Settlers Of Catan is a tile-based strategy game that has been so successful that many different versions appeared on various platforms, including online apps for iPhone and Android, allowing players in the same room to play together

SOC game is notable for being one of the first board games that attracted a modding game scene, where players could create entirely new maps, rules, and scenarios depending on their preferences. These modders have also created tabletop versions and forums to discuss the pros and cons of board games.

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