Most Popular Board Games and Reasons Why

Some of the most popular board games were invented years ago and continue to be the answer to the question of “What game do you want to play?”

Walking down the game aisle of any large discount store will illustrate which board games are considered the most popular today.  They not only can be found on almost any store’s game shelf but they can also be found on almost any game shelf in a home.  The following board games are only some of the most popular.  And although they probably don’t need an explanation, a brief one is given.

  • Clue– Clue was produced by Parker Brothers in 1949.  It is a game which involves players seeking answers from each other while trying to solve a murder mystery.
  • Life by Milton Bradley.  The Game of Life which is widely known today was inspired by the original Checkered Game of Life of the 1860’s. Life is a board game which players spin the wheel and take a make believe (but similar) journey through life.
  • Monopoly is a real estate collecting and building wealth game.  With a slow start during the 1930’s, it soon became the most sold game of all time.
  • Scrabble was produced in the late 1940’s and grew to become one of the best known word games.
  • Sorry! by Parker Brothers provides players with a race to the finish along with enough obstacles and options to keep the players thinking.

So what continues to make these particular games so popular?  It is not because they are all the most strategic or even the easiest.  Or even the shortest or the longest.  So what is it?  Taking a glance at each one, considering the time period in which they were produced, and understanding why people play games to begin with may offer some more clues.

Monopoly has become a household name and is one of the most widely produced board games of all time.  One of its initial draws was one in which players were able to imagine themselves becoming millionaires off of owning and developing real estate.  The game was first produced during a time of financial stress for many families and playing the game offered a release from their economic troubles.

Once it became popular families continued to buy it for others and since children grew up playing the game they then bought it for their own families.  The familiarity and fond memories of enjoying a game during stressful times created an attraction for the game.  And even though Monopoly is often considered ‘too long’ and ‘tiresome’ for a family game today, the allure continues.

Life is another game which offers much of the same appeal.  The game is a drive through life.  Imitating actions of a person’s real life a player chooses a career, gets married, buys a house, has children, and strives to retire successfully.  Games are great at relieving the pressures and trials of real life.  They leisurely take a player along a path which may have bumps or setbacks in it, but if they keep spinning, they will finish one way or another.

Games can also provide adventure.  Clue has players representing detectives trying to solve a crime.  Meandering through a mansion filled with secret passageways, weapons, and suspects, the players have fun while accusing each other and discovering who killed Mr. Boddy, with what, and where, by just the right amount of logical deduction.

The game of Scrabble allows players of both word and math skills to compete.  And yet the instructions are simple.  When a family wants to sit down and play a game that is what they want to do; play the game.  They don’t want to take half an hour on learning how to play.  Sorry is another game which is quickly understood but offers obstacles to add to the fun.

So some of the reasons for why these board games became the most popular are because of their emotional elements, familiarity, quick instructions, and simple play with a few strategic elements involved.  All of them create a friendly and relaxing atmosphere for which to gather in.

Social interaction during games is one of the most important reasons why people enjoy playing them.  These games allow players to talk, joke, or reminisce with each other while playing.  Children playing with their parents often love the time being spent solely on playing a game with them.   Parents or adults take pleasure in just having fun.  The most popular games offer simply that; fun.

Jenny Kile

Admin. of All About Fun and Games. Along with being an avid collector and player of table top games, I am a writer, researcher, treasure hunter, and Founder of Kardtects ( ) I believe fun is everywhere and you are welcome to visit my other sites: (which explores mystery, adventure and the search for treasures) and (which takes building card houses to completely new levels. Kardtects is the next generation of card house building!) Email:

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