Hobby Gaming Sales Continue to Rise in 2011

The latest hobby game retailer survey from industry monitor ICv2.com is in, and the results show that games have continued their steady growth from 2010. Games exhibited strong sales in the first quarter of 2011 with a few notable highlights.

The most biggest change to these rankings is that the board and card game chart from previous quarters has been split into two separate top 10 lists in order to show proper depth of the market and to acknowledge the growing popularity of deck-building card games as an important sub-genre of hobby gaming.

Top Card Games:

1. Dominion / Rio Grande Games

2. Munchkin / Steve Jackson Games

3. Thunderstone / Alderac Entertainment Group

4. Ascension / Gary Games

5. Killer Bunnies / Playroom Entertainment

6. Bang! / daVinci Games

7. Dixit / Asmodee Editions

8. Resident Evil / Bandai America

9. Seven Wonders / Asmodee Editions

10. Guillotine / Wizards of the Coast

These sales rankings prove that the buzz surrounding Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer (which we reviewed last week) as the strongest contender to Dominion and Thunderstone is justified. It is also worth noting that of the top 7, Ascension is the only game that does not have the weight of a multiple-expansion franchise behind it. That will all change this month when the first expansion, Rise of the Fallen, hits store shelves.

Rounding out the top 10 are Asmodee's Spiel des Jahres 2010 winner and 2011 nominee respectively, Dixit and Seven Wonders, both of which gamers should need no further urging to go try out. The Resident Evil deck-building game also makes a surprise showing at number 8. Adapting video game licenses is a risky business venture, but Resident Evil has received strong word of mouth for its solid gameplay.

Top Board Games:

1. Settlers of Catan / Mayfair Games

2. Ticket to Ride / Days of Wonder

3. Carcassonne / Rio Grande Games

4. Cargo Noir / Days of Wonder

5. Mansions of Madness / Fantasy Flight Games

6. Small World / Days of Wonder

7. Survive: Escape from Atlantis

8. Forbidden Island / Gamewright

9. Wrath of Ashardalon / Wizards of the Coast

10. Arkham Horror / Fantasy Flight Games

As expected, the holy trinity of "gateway games" assumed the top three slots. Carcassonne had to jump several slots from Q4 2010 in order to reach #3 though, passing over both Axis & Allies (which had no new products released) and Small World. Perhaps the stellar iPhone adaptation has given Carcassonne the boost it needs to stay atop the charts?

Plenty of new releases made the charts as well. Wrath of Ashardalon continues to show that a gamble on the D&D Adventure series by Wizards of the Coast is paying off. Cargo Noir and Mansions of Madness both rank high as new releases that were met with lukewarm critical reception, proving that the critics are not always right. Finally, Survive makes an appearance as the title that put Stronghold Games on the map, with many more great offerings expected from that company.

Top Roleplaying Games:

1. Dungeons & Dragons / Wizards of the Coast

2. Pathfinder / Paizo Publishing

3. Dark Heresy/Rogue Trader/Deathwatch / Fantasy Flight Games

4. Dragon Age / Green Ronin Publishing

5. Mutants and Materminds, inc. DC / Green Ronin Publishing

Dungeons & Dragons held off Paizo's Pathfinger RPG by leveraging its strong organized play network to keep the brand strong. Don't expect this push to stop, either. Wizards of the Coast is rolling out another in-store play program called "Lair Assault" that promises to offer a forum for tactical play, something most player will clamor for.

Top Miniatures Games:

1. Warhammer 40k / Games Workshop

2. Warmachine / Privateer Press

3. Warhammer Fantasy / Games Workshop

4. Hordes / Privateer Press

5. Malifaux / Wyrd Miniatures

Privateer Press's Warmachine was a victim of its own success, as many retailers reported their sales were held back by repeatedly sold-out stock of the miniatures. Still, Warmachine managed to hold its lead over Warhammer Fantasy before stalling out in its bid to overtake Warhammer 40k.

Top Collectible Games:

1. Magic: The Gathering / Wizards of the Coast

2. Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG / Konami Digital Entertainment

3. Heroclix / WizKids/NECA

4. World of Warcraft / Cryptozoic Entertainment

5. Pokémon TCG / Pokémon USA

6. Legend of the Five Rings CCG / Alderac Entertainment Group

7. D&D Miniatures / Wizards of the Coast

8. Naruto CCG / Bandai America

9. Axis & Allies / Wizards of the Coast

10. Monsterpocalypse / Privateer Press

There are only two things to know about collectible games: Magic is untouchable, and the field is not very deep. As we dig down into the bottom half of this list, we see items that did not even sell enough to warrant further production, such as the cancelled D&D Miniatures line.

[sales figures via ICv2.com]