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All kinds of games are taking off, including the old-fashioned kind that are based on cardboard, not pixels.

Market researcher ICv2 said today that the hobby game market in North America hit $700 million at retail in 2013 — thanks in part to board games that have mobile app counterparts.

Board games at Supercell

Above: Board games at mobile game developer Supercell.

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

The company estimated that collectible games were the largest segment at $450 million. Miniatures were second at $125 million. Board games were third at $75 million, and card and dice games were fourth at $35 million. Role-playing games were $5 million. Such “hobby games” are defined as those produced for gamers and sold most often in the online hobby channels or game and card specialty stores.

We’re pretty sure that Dan “Shoe” Hsu, editor-in-chief of GamesBeat, spent about $1 million of his own money on board games last year, followed close behind by GamesBeat managing editor Jason Wilson.


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Board games have seen a resurgence in part because of the growth of indie game makers and the crowdfunding of board games on platforms such as Kickstarter. They’re also benefiting from publicity from mobile apps, which are often digital versions of board games. These help sell the cardboard boxed versions. Still, the North American video game market remains much larger, with revenues measured in the billions of dollars.

“A $700 million market is a significant geek culture market segment. With the growth it’s been experiencing, a billion dollar market is within reach in the next few years, and hopefully this kind of industry analysis will help us get there,”Milton Griepp, the CEO of Madison, Wis.-based ICv2, said. “I cannot thank enough the industry insiders who helped us compile these estimates. Without their willingness to speak frankly with us about their own estimates of market size and the reasoning behind them, we would have been unable to complete this project.”

In collectible games, WizKids’ Dice Masters was the hard-to-find item due to high demand. Magic: The Gathering led the pack, but not as strongly as previous years. Board games continued to grow with support from hardcore gamers and an influx of mainstream gamers coming over from other markets. The sales in the miniatures category came from Star Wars: X-Wing and Star Trek: Attack Wing, with any extra space filled by anticipation of the new edition of Warhammer 40K.

“The big news in the card and dice game category was high interest and quick sell-out of both Boss Monster [read about it here on GamesBeat] and Adventure Time Card Wars,” Griepp said. “The largest change overall in the RPG category was the failure of Dungeons & Dragons to hit the Top 5 list for spring, before the release of the new edition. This change is a first in ICv2’s decade-long history of sales reporting on the hobby game industry.”



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