Once upon a time, you had to nag a nearby nerd to play a board game like Dungeons & Dragons with you in person.
Last year, that ease of connectivity meant that D&D had its biggest sales year since its launch in 1974.
You thought Fortnite streams were popular?
Then look at board games. Even chess has become a livestreaming hit.
On Twitch, chess streaming has close to doubled every month this year — and everyone from The Mountain from Game of Thrones (164k+ followers) to pros like Hikaru Nakamura (528k+) have amassed huge audiences.
Welcome to the digital board-game boom
Many of these games are played in person, then streamed out to a wider audience. But a bunch of startups are trying to make remote gameplay seamless:
- The Vorpal Board lets you scan your cards into a virtual board that you share with remote players.
- CardBoard.Live is trying to turn board games into a tournament-style experience that lets passive viewers snoop through each player’s card deck.
- The Last Gameboard calls itself an “unlimited” tabletop game: It’s a long, thin tablet that can adapt into any game you want.
It’s about time that being a nerd paid off.