The Washington Post noted in a September 7th feature article that board game sales always increase during economic downswings due, of course, to their inexpensive and reusable nature. The recent period of economic unrest is no exception; however, the games that players crave today are more complicated and require more strategy than Monopoly, which became a big hit during the Great Depression.
The Washington Post noted specifically that the game Puerto Rico has sold over 20,000 copies in just over a year. Puerto Rico, licensed from Alea Games (one of Germany's largest gaming companies) by New Mexico-based Rio Grande Games, is described by the prestigious paper as more closely resembling 'an international summit than a lap around the family Monopoly board.'
Games such as Puerto Rico and Settlers of Catan are much more sophisticated than prior family games, and are making even competing manufacturers take note. Hasbro senior director of product design Michael Gray is quoted as saying of the Euro-games, 'These are the games we are playing at home at night.'
The Post offers several reasons for the trend toward more complex games, from a backlash against single player computer games to the concept that decades of research in the gaming arena have finally led designers to board games that are complex enough to hold players' attention through unlimited plays.