Board Games

The Growing Market of Board Games in South Africa


While classic, the popularity of board games are surging in South Africa.

Board games have undoubtedly been a part of human life for a very long time. It is said that the oldest board game ever known to exist was found in a prehistoric Egyptian tomb which dates back to around 3500BC, that’s over 5000 years ago! These board games have gradually advanced proportionally to the evolution of man, to keep up with the fast change the world is currently undergoing.

Board games have always and always will be a part of our daily lives, whether we want to challenge ourselves to beat a game to pass some free time or if we want to play with our friends or family and compete to see who the best or luckiest player in the group is.

What is a board game?

A board game is usually a tabletop game which includes pieces or ‘counters’ placed or moved onto a marked surface according to a set of regulations. Some are based mainly on strategy while others contain elements of chance. Board games usually feature a  particular goal which each player aims to achieve. The goal can be reaching a certain point at the board or defeating your opponent in a battle-like scenario. There is a wide variety of different board games, some of which represent real life situations while others can have no particular theme. There are five main types of board games- cards, race, space, chase and games of displacement.

Card Games are a board game which usually features no board or marked surface, just playing cards. These are won by following a set of rules to either strategically get rid of all cards first, get the biggest number of cards at the end of the game or trying to get the best possible hand of cards, like for example Poker.

Race Games are a board game category where the goal is to beat your opponents in a race to the finish line. An example of a race style board game is Snakes and Ladders.

Space Games are a more universal board game category, where the board is an empty checkered table full of empty spaces, where the key to win is filling up these spaces in a certain pattern without being disrupted by the opponent or letting them achieve the pattern before you. For example, Line-Up Four or OXO (noughts & crosses).

Chase Games are played on a checkered or latticed gameboard with two armies of uneven numbers. For example Hnefatafl.

Games of Displacement are board games which are also based on an empty checkerboard, where there are two armies with particular pieces, each featuring their own particular unique moves or abilities battle it out till one of the teams is either completely wiped out or loses their king, like for example, Chess.

The Board Game Industry Nowadays In South Africa

Board games have always been a great way to pass free time for anyone of all ages. This is the main reason why they form one of the biggest, most vast industries in the world. With thousands of games of all kinds to choose from. In South Africa, board games are a great part of every family’s lives. People from all around play board games either to burn extra time or at special dedicated times, where everyone plans to just sit back, relax and enjoy a few hours of intense competition and joy. Nowadays, we see anything that’s currently trending turn into a board game. This is due to the super high demand in new, innovative games to keep us interested and never get bored playing the same thing for too long. The constantly growing and evolving board game market is now also taking its toll on the online gaming industry, where it’s creating opportunities for us to not just go to the shop and buy the board game to play with our friends and family, but to download any board game we want for free and be able to play it with anyone from anywhere around the whole world!

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