Board Game Blowups

Remember staying up because you just had to find out who the murderer was? Mrs. Peacock with the wrench in the study? Or maybe it was Colonel Mustard with the candlestick? And if Clue wasn't your game of choice, maybe it was growing a settlement in The Settlers of Catan, or even just owning all the railroads in an intense game of Monopoly.

Board and card games have been around for a long time, and they don't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Monopoly may have launched in 1935, but it has sold over 250 million sets and been played by over half a billion people worldwide.

We surveyed 1,000 Americans to find out which generations of adults are still playing board and card games, which games are taken way too seriously, and which ones are worth fighting over. Curious how serious a game of Scrabble can get compared to a round of Cards Against Humanity? Continue reading to find out.

Big Kids Playing Games

Average number of games played each year by relationship status

If you thought the only games millennials play are the digital kind, think again. Our survey revealed millennials play more board and card games than any other generation surveyed. In fact, millennials may be so enamored with board games that they're helping drive their resurgence in the U.S. Interestingly, people of all ages were more likely to play board and card games if they were in a relationship.

While single millennials played games an average of 15 times each year, millennials in relationships played 19 times, on average. Still, millennials weren't the only generation getting back to the basics with their gaming hobbies. Gen Xers were more likely than baby boomers to play these games, with single respondents playing 11 times each year, and those in relationships playing 17 times a year, on average.

Is it all fun and games, though? Not really. More than 91% of respondents said they have gotten into disagreements with friends or family because of a board or card game.

You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry

Which game is most likely to cause a disagreement?

Being sent to jail? Don't pass go, don't collect $200? Or worse yet, did someone else at the table buy up Park Place right after you started building on the Boardwalk? You're not alone. Nearly half of Americans said Monopoly was the game most likely to get them into trouble with their fellow players.

And whom exactly are players arguing with? Over 2 in 5 people said it was with the friends they happened to be playing with, while more than a third said they argued with their siblings most. Thankfully, while board and card games may be a popular outside-the-box activity for date nights, only 6% said playing with their significant other caused them to argue.

We aren't just talking about little arguments, either. More than half of respondents said getting into disagreements over game hurt their feelings, while over 41% went so far as to flip the game over or throw game pieces. And the most likely game to end up on the floor? Monopoly.

Just Play Already

Most common reasons for board game disagreements

If you're willing to start throwing pieces around, it's probably about something pretty serious. For nearly three-quarters of Americans surveyed, their arguments weren't about who was winning or losing – they were about the rules of the game.

Over 40% argued with their fellow game players over cheating (knights don't move like that), while nearly a third got frustrated that someone else was taking too long to make a move. You might feel like the clock is ticking away waiting for someone to decide whether they should invest in Atlantic Avenue, but imagine this: The longest game of Monopoly on record lasted 70 straight days.

If you're playing Cards Against Humanity, the odds are your beef is with someone taking too long to choose a card to play, or bragging because they think they really are that hilarious. If the argument is about rules, the odds are someone is confused about Scattergories, and if it's cheating that's got you bothered, you're probably playing one of two all-time classics: chess or Monopoly.

Bonding Time

Board games most likely to bring people together

Board and card games aren't all about bloodshed, though. The time we spend sitting around them, connecting, communicating, or even laughing brings people closer together. Of the people polled, 26% told us nothing brought the table together quite like Monopoly. And while it may be raunchier than most other table games, more than 15% of people said playing Cards Against Humanity made them feel closer to the friends and family they played with – even if it also exposed their twisted sense of humor.

Nearly 23% kept an ongoing scorecard to monitor the wins and losses of several different games. Games where a loss is most likely to haunt you the longest? Scrabble, Monopoly, and Uno.

Play to Your Strengths

Sometimes it's how you play the game that counts, but when you're playing with friends, siblings, or even another couple, it's really about who gets the satisfaction of winning. Even though many Americans said players who take too long to make a move or didn't seem to grasp the rules got under their skin, certain games had the power to bring people even closer together.

Methodology

We surveyed more than 1,000 Americans about their board and card game preferences, disagreements, and habbits. 

Fair use statement

Liked reading about games and want to share? We grant permission to use any of the information or images above for noncommercial purposes. We only ask that you cite the authors and link back to this page when you do.