The 21st Show

Board Games Boom In The Digital Age


Steven Senne/Associated Press

Yahtzee! Sorry! Checkmate! Board games are regaining popularity in the digital age: The global sale of board games and puzzles are expected to reach over $21 billion by 2025, according to Bloomberg.

Across the state, game board cafes and design competitions are popping up. Kyle Tomey, owner of Hungry Hippo Board Game Cafe in Decatur, started his cafe to circulate his large game board collection. Today, Tomey said he has more than 500 games available in his cafe.

He said board games are becoming popular because they give face-to-face connection that social media can't. 

"Even though we have all this technology," he said, "secretly, we're kind of yearning for something more personal, and I think that's what games bring to the table." 

Kaity Bequeete, co-chair of the CUDO Plays board game competition, likes that "board games bring people together." 

CUDO Plays is a monthslong game board design competition in Champaign-Urbana. In its seventh year, Bequeete said participants have collectively created hundreds of games. She said some go on to license and sell the games, while others just play among friends and family. 

Regardless, she said the exercise of designing board games calls on people to think about creativity, strategy and user experience. 

"It's just a really neat experiment in being able to take a unique idea, see if you can abstract it to the point of gamification, and then make art and anything that goes along with it to guide people through that experience," Bequette said. 

Guests: Kaity Bequette from CUDO Plays. Kyle Tomey, owner and operator, Hungry Hippo Board Game Cafe in Decatur. 

Produced for web by WILL intern Sidney Madden.

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