Social Board Games Go Back to the Future

Mark Stephens

When we say that social board games combine the past and the future, it usually means that another old board game you used to play with your family, as a kid, just had its electronic version released (assuming there are any left that haven’t had the “treatment” already.)

However that trend has recently been reversed!

This Christmas, kids (and some bashful adults, probably) were waking up to open their presents, finding an Old Skool board version of Angry Birds, Cityville Monopoly or Words with Friends under the wrapping paper! How strange…


Board Games and the Electronic Boom

Ever since gaming consoles and PCs became “big” in the 90s, the traditional, popular board games played sitting round a table, have translated well into their electronic versions.

Chess, Draughts, Scrabble, Monopoly, Backgammon, Risk , Cluedo, Trivial Pursuit – you name it, there were PC and console versions to enjoy fairly early on in the piece.

Social gaming has taken that process to a new level with multiple versions of the same games (changed a little to avoid intellectual property challenges, of course) being played on social media platforms, on mobile phones and tablets.

In fact, some of the most popular social games are board-based; games based around Scrabble, like Words with Friends, are hugely popular, for instance.

The Electronic Boom and Board Games!

It’s kind of ironic then, that a board game has been released of Words with Friends which, in itself, is an electronic-based game inspired by an old board game invented in the 1930s. It’s like going back to the future!

It’s part of a trend that game makers are using to cash in on the huge popularity of many of the biggest social media games.

Given that so many scores of millions of people have downloaded and played Angry Birds I guess it’s reasonable to suppose that some would buy a “hard copy” of it (especially with the wonderful title of Angry Birds Mega Smash Game.)

Then there’s the latest version of CityVille – the social city-building simulation online app game. Not a patched upgrade Version 2.2.0 or anything like it! Hasbro has just released Monopoly CityVille, which combines the Monopoly City board game with elements of the CityVille online games.

Other, similar stories can be seen in recently-released board versions of the social games like Elefun, Hungry Hippos, and Logo What am I?

Times like Christmas, especially, show that physical board games, which involve you actually being in the same room as your opponent, are still relevant. And if Hasbro are making them, then there must be a market for them. Not quite everything is virtual yet and it’s kind of heart-warming to know that.

Wonder if, one day, we might see a board version of our game Mindfeud?

This seems like the perfect opportunity for the team at Monkeybin to wish you a real, actual, old board game style Happy New Year and all the very best for 2013. The past year has been very exciting for us and we hope to share the journey again with you in the coming year. Salud!