French board games to smash records this Christmas

Board games are becoming increasingly popular in a world that relies more and more on screens

Traditional board games are set to sell in record-breaking numbers this Christmas, according to a new study.

The market in France is the biggest in the world, and is predicted to smash the €400 million barrier for the first time this year, according to a study by market analysts the NPD Group and reported by French news source 20 Minutes today.

Board games (known in French as jeux de société), are - paradoxically - becoming increasingly popular in a world that relies more and more on electronic entertainment, and it is thought this could be because they offer something completely different, away from the glare of screens.

Sales of the games - such as Monopoly, Cluedo, Connect 4, and Scrabble - have increased by 7% since January this year, and this is expected to rise further. They made up 13.5% of all toy sales in 2016.

The popularity goes beyond the simple classics, however, and is also moving towards newer games designed to be funny or thrilling.

One such example in France is the Déliro Toilettes game by Hasbro, in which players must wind up a toilet paper roll without getting splashed by a surprise water jet. There is also Pie Face (Hasbro), which throws cream tarts at players.

These games have gained in popularity thanks to users’ propensity to post funny videos of themselves playing them, online on social media or video sharing platform YouTube.

“YouTubers have become buying influencers, and manufacturers are noticing them more and more,” explains Frédérique Tutt, toy market expert at the NPD Group, speaking to 20 Minutes.

Other popular options include games based on thrill or suspense - such as Escape Game (Dujardin) or Mission Escape (Goliath), which allow children and adults to solve riddles and puzzles to allow themselves to “escape” peril.

Another similar game, Chrono Bomb, sold out completely in 2014 when it was released, and this year is hoping to do the same with its newly-released nighttime version.

Games that use senses or actions are also popular: the Djingle (JouéClub) asks players to guess an audio sound as quickly as possible, while Time’s Up (Asmodée) asks participants to describe famous people or films, so their team can guess the name, within a limited time.

And of course, games that tie in with famous TV shows or movies - such as the US hit series Game of Thrones - are almost guaranteed to sell well.

Even many classic games have received updates to keep up with the trend: the latest version of Monopoly now allows players to pay their bills and fines with a credit card, bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase, ‘putting it on plastic’.

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