In which country is board gaming most popular?

Box of Delights has been running since Feb 2012. In that time the channel has hit nearly 3 million views. Okay, this is nowhere near as many views as a couple of kids dancing to the crazy frog, or a cat falling off a ledge would get, but it is something worth celebrating in our minority hobby.

imageThis prompted me to wonder, just how much of a minority is it, and where in the world is board gaming most popular? 40% of my subscribers are from the US, and 10% from the UK. Surprisingly about 4% are from Brazil. But this is not a good measure. Brazil is the 5th most populous country in the world, so of course it’s going to be high.

imageSo, let’s use a more meaningful statistic, and make the measure “per capita” – i.e. how many gamers are there per head of population. Better than that, let’s calculate how many board gamers there are per 1,000,000 people in each country’s population. That will give us a good figure we can understand the meaning of.

Despite the 3 million views and 13k subscribers to Box of Delights, that is a drop in the ocean as a sample data set. It is heavily slanted towards english-speaking nations, and more so towards UK viewers, since I am a UK content creator, I can’t trust those number. So, let’s find a better data set.

imageWhat better than the log of registered users to Board Game Geek ? This has a massive audience, and a very diverse one. Of course it has its flaws: India is very populous, but a small percentage have internet access to be able to register on BGG. But right now it’s the best data source we have.

Now let’s trim our data set. There may be a very small country with a relatively large number of gamers, and there are a lot of countries. Let’s limit our measure to only those countries that have 2,500+ registered users.

imageWho do you imagine will come top? The US, Germany, the UK? It’s none of those. I was very surrprised by the result for Germany. German games are synonomous with Euro-games, what with their annual “Game of the Year” award (the Spiel des Jahres), and the Essen Spiel convention has more visitors over its gaming weekend than any other. But Germany falls to a lowly 20th spot, with 217 gamers per 1M. The UK takes spot number 8, with 705 out of a million of us registered on BGG.

Is it the U.S. that takes the number 1 spot ? No, but it does come in at a respectable 3rd place, with 961 gamers in every one million people.

imageInteresting is the dominance of the Scandinavian countries. Sweden, Finland and Denmark are 5th, 4th and 2nd respectively. Denmark just pips the US at 962 gamers per mil. It must be all those long dark and cold nights that draws friends and families together around a fire and a gaming table.

In 6th and 7th spots are New Zealand and Australia. With cost of living and cost of gaming high there, they must be a pretty dedicated and sociable bunch.

imageAnd what about the dominant Brazil? Did they make the top 30? They did, but down at 24. That’s still over 11,000 gamers on BGG, more than any of the Scandinavian countries. A big population with only 55 in every 1 million people registered to BGG.

imageSo, after all that, which country hit the number 1 spot ? With the cold dark nights of Scandinavia, with the flamboyance of Brazil, and with a humour that rivals the Germans; with the maple syrup of maple syrups, one country is sitting ahead of its neighbour; with 1,250 gamers per 1M of the population, the country with the most gamers per capita is Canada.

I blame Rodney. 

For the full list of the Top 30, visit the google sheet here.