“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” It’s one of the most famous lines in history – and an accurate representation of the human need to enjoy leisure time with others of our species.

Board games are the great equalizer. From the mightiest woman to the tiniest child, games have incorporated imagination, strategy, skill, and chance to delight minds for centuries. But which is the top selling board game of all time?

6. Backgammon

top selling board games of all time

Backgammon matches checkers in age, dating back to 3000 BC based on an excavation project in Iran. As a game of both tactic and probability, it is a game for all to enjoy, from the lowliest peasants to the richest kings.

Backgammon is one of the top selling board games of all time, with over 88 million copies sold as of 2005 (most recent, reliable available data).

5. Clue

Clue is the classic parlor game of reasoning and deduction. The game is so famous there was even a movie made, bringing the thrill of the chase to the big screen.

In its 71 years of production, the game has sold over 150 million units. This brings Clue to a tie for the fifth highest top-selling board game of all time, matched by Scrabble

4. Scrabble

Scrabble brings lingual prowess to the world of boardgames. This game requires thorough understanding of both vocabulary and the interaction of the numbers on the tiles with the bonuses on the board to win.

Since its 1938 release, Scrabble has sold more than 150 games worldwide, making it one of the top selling boardgames of all time.

3. Monopoly

Monopoly has been a game cabinet staple since Parker brothers introduced the boardgame in 1934. This game introduced the thrill of real estate monopolizing to the average person, drawing mass appeal in a time of economic downturn.

Monopoly is one of the top selling boardgames of all time, with 275 million units sold as of 2011.

2. Checkers

Checkers is one of the oldest board games still in play, with origins dating back to 3000 BC in Ur. Also known as draught, it is an easy game to learn and enjoy for individuals of all ages, languages, and cultures.

Checkers is the second-highest top selling boardgame of all time. It is estimated to have sold 50 billion units in recent history, with an incalculable number made and sold before modern tracking methods.

1. Chess

Chess is one of the oldest, most popular games in history, and the top selling boardgame of all time. It’s estimated that the United States alone has 3 million sales annually, with projections of the chess market reaching over $40 million by 2022.

Chess dates back to 6th century AD in India, from where it spread to Persia and migrated to Europe after the Moorish conquest of Spain. It is heralded as not only a game of strategy, but of intellectual process and sophistication.

Games bring humanity together. In times of peace, war, financial crisis and good times, boardgames offer a respite from the burdens of daily life. The longevity off chess and checkers and the extraordinary success of newcomers such as Scrabble and Clue speak to the resilience of human imagination. We hope you enjoyed this article on the top selling board games of all time and hopefully you will be playing one of these at your next game night!