Board games see a boost in sales as families try to find a way to have fun without leaving home

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LITTLETON, Colo. — While many businesses are struggling to keep their doors open during the coronavirus pandemic, board game shops are seeing a big boost in business.

Toy maker Hasbro reported a 21% bump in board game sales as families try to find a way to pass the time at home.

At It’s Your Move in the Park Meadows Mall, manager Crystal Aitken says since reopening, they’ve seen a steady stream of people coming in to buy board games and puzzles.

“Believe it or not even though we’re dealing with the pandemic everybody is coming in and they’re looking for that stay at home thing that they can do with their family,” Aitken said.

It’s Your Move is a family-owned, Colorado store with four locations that has been open since 1976.

When it first reopened after the statewide shutdown, Aitken says puzzles were popular at first but now many are turning to board games.

“I’ll have a lot of people coming in who don’t normally game who are looking to get into it just because they’re wanting to do something with their family and they’ve watched all of Netflix,” she said. “People are coming in and they are buying bulk board games.”

With so many people working or attending school remotely, Aitken says board games can be a much-needed break from the screen.

However, as technology changes, some games actually incorporate apps on people’s phones to enhance the overall experience. The apps can serve as timers or add mood music or clues.

“I would say the board gaming is coming back because of technology more so instead of in spite of it,” Aitken said.

University of Denver Marketing associate professor Melissa Akaka keeps an eye on consumer trends and says in recent years, the gifts people are buying one another have evolved.

“People were giving a lot of gifts to events and spending money on trips,” Akaka said.

These days, though, with the pandemic spreading and traveling being tough, families are looking for other ways to create memories through gifts and using board games as the new experience.

“How can we re-create these types of experiences in the safety of our own homes? How do we turn our regular, what has sort of become routine, into non-routine events?” Akaka said. “We’re almost taking advantage of the fact that we’re kind of stuck at home and thinking, how can we create memorable experiences for loved ones in these spaces so that when everything returns and we go back into the world as we used to, we have these memories that we can hold on to?”

Some of the more traditional games also add a nostalgic value for parents to remember their own childhoods and try to recreate those beloved memories with their own families.

Back at It’s Your Move, Aitken says they’re getting ready for the holiday rush and even offering people a buy one, get one 20% off deal on Black Friday, hoping families will use the board games to find their own escape during a trying time.

“There’s a board game for everyone out there,” Aitken said.