What Are The World’s Most Popular Board Games During Lockdown?

 (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
During these restrictive and often boring lockdown measures throughout the coronavirus pandemic, households across the globe have been looking for alternative ways to pass the time over the last few months.
Of course, technology has helped people to stay in touch using WhatsApp and TikTok, but there has also been a huge rise in the popularity of good old-fashioned board games.
According to Google Trends data gathered by Betway, the term ‘board game’ was searched more often on Google in March 2020 than in any other month since Google Trends began in 2004 – and this excludes the run-up to Christmas when present-buying is usually on the up.
That spike in search volume for board games in March was almost double what it was in February before most countries went into lockdown.
Which game has increased in popularity the most?
In an interesting twist, the board game Pandemic has experienced the biggest surge in popularity. This game requires players to eliminate diseases that have broken out in different parts of the world – sound familiar?
Google Keyword Planner reveals that the term ‘Pandemic board game’ received 246,000 searches worldwide in March – more than twice as much as 'Risk board game', which received 90,000 searches.
Only in 2009, during the Swine Flu pandemic did the board game Pandemic close to as many searches, with one-third, to be precise.
Which board games are the most popular?


While Pandemic has been the favorite during COVID-19, the most popular board games are still Scrabble, Monopoly and Ludo.
Google Trends data reveals that Scrabble is the most-searched-for game, and it is most popular in French-speaking countries. French-speaking islands Martinique and Reunion searched it the most, followed by France, Senegal, and Canada.
Francophone Scrabble is the popular French alternative of the game, may explain these numbers. In the last 14 years of the French Scrabble Championships, there have been seven different nationalities of the winner – including Senegalese, Congolese and Ivorian – so its appeal is spread far and wide.
Monopoly, a favorite across Asia and Europe, was a clear second in terms of worldwide popularity, which comes as no surprise considering the game has been reproduced in 103 countries and in 37 different languages.
Today, they’re a lot of versions of monopoly including ones that include pop culture, football teams, and more, so the game shows no signs of growing old.
Ludo, meanwhile, was the third-most-popular of the three leading games worldwide.
The game originates from Pachisi, an Indian game that has routes in the sixth century, so it makes sense that, per capita, 16 of the 17 cities that searched for it the most are in Asia, including 15 in India.
According to Google Keyword Planner, online searches for Ludo board game rose from 1,300 to 6,600 in India from February to March, a jump of more than 400 percent.
Which countries have searched for board games most often?
Since the most popular board games in March were invented by English speakers, it’s little surprise that they are most popular in English-speaking nations.
According to Google Trends, the UK, Canada, Australia, and several smaller English-speaking regions were all among the top 10 searchers of ‘board game’ in March, per capita.
But the USA is still the biggest consumer of board games.
The US accounted for over 50 percent of the total worldwide searches for the Pandemic board game in March and was responsible for over 40 percent of worldwide searches for ‘board game’.
According to Keyword Planner, games such as Life and Sorry! were both among the 10 most commonly-searched worldwide, despite the fact that they are rarely played elsewhere.
Life, also known as The Game of Life, involves playing out a person’s life, from childhood through to adulthood, featuring a school, college, marriage, and retirement. It saw 78.7 percent of its 40,500 searches in March come from the US.
Sorry! was first introduced in the UK in 1929, but quickly grew to prominence across the Atlantic, with the US accounting for 61.3 percent of its 40,500 searches in March.
How do board games compare to other forms of entertainment?
Board games are proving so popular during lockdown that, in some countries, they generated more online searches than Xbox or PS4 games and even more than emergency online products like finance and emergency loans, registrations for Covid-19 tests and foodbanks.
When combining Google searches for Scrabble and the FIFA video game series on Trends in March, the board game received 80 percent of them in Canada and 79 percent of them in France and the USA.
The same happened with the game Ludo in parts of Asia. Sixty-eight percent of the combined Google searches for Ludo and FIFA in March were for the board game in India, with 59 percent of them going the same way in Pakistan.
As restrictions ease around the world, it’s likely that that the surge in popularity for board games will start slowing down.
But in difficult times, people all around the world have found comfort in the charms of these traditional forms of entertainment.