Your Move: An Open Access Dataset of Over 1500 Board Gamer’s Demographics, Preferences and Motivations

Liam Cross*, Andrea Piovesan, Micael Sousa, Peter Wright, Gray Atherton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


Intro: This paper reports the demographics of a large sample of board gamers and their in-game motivations and preferences. Methods: We report the specific preferences of 1603 board gamers (i.e. preferred platform, mechanics, style, theme, player count and game length) and player demographics, i.e. age, gender, education level as well as neurodivergence in this population. Participants were sampled via board game groups and game distributor mailing lists. Results: Findings confirmed previous assumptions that board gamers are primarily middle-aged, university/college-educated, white males. We show that most gamers identify as mid-core/core with a preference for shorter, competitive Euro games. They tend to prefer in-person play with 3-4 players. However, a sizeable portion of the sample did not fit this description, showing a more complex picture. Discussion: Results describe the population's demographics and detailed description of gamers preferred, mechanics, themes, components, preferences and motivations. An anonymised version of this data set is provided alongside this work for game designers and academics to explore further and cross-reference relationships between demographics and preferences/motivations. Considering that a quarter of the sample were neurodivergent (i.e. reported at least one mental health or neurodevelopmental condition) the dataset could also help clinicians who use board games as interventional tools. We hope this dataset ( will be helpful to board game designers, clinicians, educators, teachers, therapists and researchers interested in utilising board games to make informed choices about which games they use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)554-575
Number of pages22
JournalSimulation and Gaming
Issue number5
Early online date26 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • game mechanics
  • demographics
  • analog games
  • mental health
  • game play
  • game style
  • hobby
  • board games
  • players


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