the enthusiasm of the French did not wane
Doctor Maboul, Skyjo, Cuisto Dingo… In 2022 again, board games are popular. And not just for kids. The top 3 of the “kids” – the players from the age of 12 – show on their podium the clever Codenames and the very schoolboys Blanc-manger Coco and Limite Limite. On Monday January 16, the toy industry presents its results for the 2022 season, based on October, November and December.
The Director General of the French Federation of Toy and Childcare Industries, Christophe Drevet, announced a general performance “Slightly down compared to 2020 and 2021”, years marked by a series of incarcerations that caused sales to explode. This ensures that these habits will re-enter and remain in society. “The global game and toy market represents 18.5% of the market”explains Bruno Bokanowski, editorial director of The Toy Review. This means that one in five toys sold is a board game. A particular French, France has been leading the European board game market for several years.
The game hunger and cooperative development
Christophe Drevet noticed the acceleration of the interest of the “children”. “In five years, with the pandemic as an accelerator, the kidult market has doubled. Today, they represent 28% of the total market. » If party games, or “aperitif games” like Blanc-manger Coco first help to relaunch the engine and redefine the execution of the game, “Investigation games, very narrative and cooperative, continue to be chosen”studies Vincent Berry, researcher in the sociology of games at the Experice laboratory in Paris.
“In general, games are a collective activity, but in always, somewhere, an individual feeling with a winner, a loser.said the expert. In cooperative play, we are like a sports team, everyone wins or everyone loses. There is no longer any notion of the enemy. » An interesting game mode in particular “for children who struggle more and are less sure of themselves”, explains Bruno Bokanowski. An approach that matches other popular social trends, such as “Montessori methods that favor no grading, no winner, where people work and play at their own pace”he continued.
The flying screens and the lure of cards
Another effect of the board game, which is reinforced by prisons: the board game reinforces social relations, more than it creates them. “What’s incredible about the evolution of the board game is the diversity of experiences on offeremphasis by Vincent Berry. There are games “for fun”, others where you can challenge yourself, others are more narrative… The game becomes the collective consumption of a story, of an investigation. »
Unlike video games, board games naturally fit into the life of a group (family, friends). And all this without a screen, which undoubtedly contributed to giving the board game a reinforced educational value. “When you are tired of TV, phones and tablets, playing card games can be a real bubble”argues Christophe Drevet. “Board games are often equated with good parenting”researcher Vincent Berry confirmed.
However, screens do get in the way more in games, at least in the early game. Over the years, the role of the “master of the game” – the one who paces the game and pulls the strings – has changed. Publishers, in order to attract a wider audience, are trying to eliminate the long written rules of the game, which constitute one of the main brakes on the interest of players. “Rulebooks are shrinking and the use of explanatory videos has exploded in recent years”, observes Vincent Berry. The researcher also noticed the development of games with inductive rules, ie “a game where the rules are minimal and happen during the game like Andor or Unlock! ». Written rules or “tutorials”, you have to choose. It’s up to you to decide and play.
Containment, an accelerator
According to an August 2021 OpinionWay study for distributor Philibert, 91% of the French said they played board games, half of them at least once a month and a quarter at least once a week. 30% said they have played more games since being confined.
In 2020, the turnover of the sector reached 360 million euros, versus 328 million in 2019, according to the Union of Board Game Publishers. By 2021, 30 million boxes had been sold.
France is the leader in the European market. In 2019, the turnover of the sector reached 240 million euros in the United Kingdom and 237 in Germany.
About 1,500 new products were released in 2022, compared to 200 per year in the 1990s. The sector has around 5,000 professionals in France.