Tag Archives: bestsellers

20 Bestselling boards games of 2020

We may have been restricted as to the size and breadth of our play groups, but board games continued to be in demand during the first year of the pandemic. Getting a continuous supply of the hottest board games is not an unknown challenge but it was even more so with distributors working with skeleton crews, delays at printers and shipping for some brand new games, and some regions being fully locked down for periods of time.

The list below is comprised of the 20 bestselling board games at ComicReaders Downtown for 2020. These games were purchased in-store or via curb-side pick-up. ComicReaders appreciates those who shop and support local businesses before, during and after the pandemic.

1. Wingspan / Wingspan European
Wingspan was not readily available throughout the year and whenever we did have it in stock in quantity it still did not last long. What appears to be a busy game is, in fact, a not-too-difficult to grasp board game that can be enjoyed by players with varying board game experience. The theme of birds in their habitats certainly has attracted a lot of people to this game. The European expansion was released near the end of 2020 and it cracked the top 20, too, but I’ve moved up alongside the original.

2. Azul
Azul is now a family of games, with new themes on similar mechanics, but the original continues to be the one in highest demand. When it was released in 2017 it had the usual new, hot game availability issues, but in 2020 it was readily available throughout the year. A visually striking game with high end components, Azul has easy to understand rules and the right mix of clever scoring and forward thinking to make it a bestseller each year since its release.

3. Pandemic
This one surprised me. We’re in a pandemic. Doesn’t this game hit too close to home? But maybe that was the appeal this year. Pandemic is still a solid cooperative game 12 years after its original release.

4. Codenames
Just One is the most accessible word-based group game, but Codenames continues to dominate that genre. The original Codenames enjoys the #4 spot on this list but also in circulation are other versions, including Codenames Duet, Codenames Pictures, Codenames Simpsons, Codenames Marvel, Codenames Disney, and Codenames Harry Potter.

5. Catan
There’s just no stopping Catan.

6. Exploding Kittens / Streaking Kittens / Barking Kittens
A family-friendly bestseller expanded in 2020 with Barking Kittens. The expansion Streaking Kittens and the original Exploding Kittens were on the top 20 list, too, but I’ve stuck them together in #6 to make room for a couple additional games.

7. Trial by Trolley
The naughty group games are always popular around the holiday season. Trial by Trolley is a new entry in this genre at ComicReaders Downtown.

8. Carcassonne
Here’s another game that shows no signs of slowing down. I’m not surprised, of course. It has been a favourite in my house for 15 years. The large number of expansions keeps the game fresh, too, even though most of them were not available at all during 2020.

9. Kingdomino
This great game for the whole family is worth a look if you’ve not yet heard of it. We sold out during the holiday shopping season but both Regina ComicReaders expect to have it again near the end of February 2021.

10. Cards Against Humanity
For years we couldn’t get Cards Against Humanity. When one of our Canadian distributors started carrying it I wrestled with how much we should stock because surely the local market was already saturated because of online sales. #10 on the bestsellers list proves there were still more people out there that like their games dirty….and I don’t mean mud dirty. And controversial. And full of cuss words. And with zero design.

11. Root
When a game is in demand but often out of stock for months at a time I’ll order from multiple sources to better improve my chances of getting the game when it available. With Root, all those orders were fulfilled at once and I found myself thinking, “Oh man. I’ve over ordered.” This is a complex game with a sizable sticker price. But they were all gone by the end of 2020.

12. Dutch Blitz
ComicReaders Downtown might sell 4 copies of this game from January to October. The bulk of the purchases are from November to December.

13. Joking Hazard
More bad words. More naughty. More controversy. But now in comic form.

14. Disney Villainous
This one surprised me. Licensed games have a history of being a theme slapped onto some less than spectacular set of game mechanics. Disney Villainous by Ravensburger, however, is solid mechanics on a theme sure to attract players. The result is a bestseller. It has expansions, too! And a new Marvel version.

15. Just One
This was a game that people were telling us they were playing with friends over Zoom.

16. Patchwork
Our one and only pure 2-player game to make the top 20.

17. Ticket to Ride
Ticket to Ride is another perennial bestsellers.

18. Gloomhaven
This monster of a game continues to sell well. Fully immersive campaign.

19. Jaws
Oh man this makes me happy. Ravensburger, which released Disney Villainous, gives us another strong theme on well designed game mechanics. This game has two phases. In the first, the shark menaces swimmers and avoids capture. In the second, the players are on the sinking ship and battling the shark in the climatic finale.

20. Scooby-Doo Betrayal at the Mystery Mansion
A family-friendly Scooby-Doo theme version of Betrayal at the House on the Hill.

Honourable Mentions

Exit The Game
There are a lot versions in the family of games known as Exit The Game. If the sales of all those titles were combined into one score then Exit The Game would have hit the top 20.

Keyforge
If sales from one “board game” family were combined into one total then Keyforge would have been the #1 game on this list. What is most interesting about that is the majority of those purchases was before March 2020 because we still had in-store gaming and Keyforge events always enjoyed a large turnout. Sales of Keyforge during the second half of 2020? Almost nil.

Bestsellers: January 2021

Things tend to slow down at ComicReaders Downtown at the beginning of a new year. It takes about a month for the store to recover from the holiday season. Product flows back into the store through January though this year it has been more difficult to get some items (Vallejo paint and hobby supplies and Games Workshop spray primer, for example), and things that are available get here a little bit slower, but I think we’ve all learned that patience is a virtue during a pandemic.

Bestselling Board Games for January 2021

Twilight Imperium: Prophecy of Kings
Our top-selling board game was the highly anticipated new expansion for the epic Twilight Imperium. Unfortunately, there were production issues so each customer who purchased a copy from ComicReaders is now waiting to hear the results of an investigation by Fantasy Flight Games as to the extent of the issues in the run and what will be done. Needless to say, we no longer have copies on the shelf and won’t have more until Fantasy Flight Games does a reprint.

Cards Against Humanity
This party game staple had another strong showing. If we included the sales of its expansions in our numbers then the family of Cards Against Humanity would have been our top seller for the month of January.

Codenames Duet
The two-player version of the evergreen Codenames has enjoyed a renewal during the pandemic.

Pandemic
We received a restock of the original Pandemic early in January. I do believe both Regina locations have had to reorder it since. The original Pandemic is still our top-selling cooperative board game after all these years. Accessible, challenging, and now with the added bonus of mirroring the world’s current situation.

Unstable Unicorns
Unstable Unicorns has not surpassed Exploding Kittens as the go-to silly family game featuring cute artwork, but it continues to perform well. It is well supported with multiple expansions, a naughty version, and blind-box vinyl unicorns that come with a card you can add to the game.

Catan
Every year for the past five years, I swear, we say this is the year Catan will slow down. And we were wrong again.

Under Falling Skies
Only during a pandemic would a game you can only play solo make it to the bestsellers list at ComicReaders Downtown. It’s a visually striking game and a challenging one at that. You can set the difficulty to your liking and it comes with a re-playable campaign mode.

Bestselling Graphic Novels for January 2021

Our bestselling graphic novel list is comprised of titles, not individual volumes. We take the combined sales of volumes within a series. This usually means the list is made up of manga, since the most popular manga have many volumes, but we like to include other graphic novels or series of note.

My Hero Academia
No surprise here. My Hero Academia is a powerhouse thanks to it also being a hugely popular anime.

Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan is set to wrap soon, but sales continue to be strong as people pick up volumes or dive in for the first time. The final season of the anime is underway, too.

Boruto
A sequel of sorts to the always popular Naruto.

Danganronpa
This title built up some serious steam in the back half of 2020. We were caught by surprise, to be honest. We didn’t have enough copies on the shelves and the distributors ran out. We got volumes back in stock in early January and they’ve been movingly steadily.

My Hero Academia: Vigilantes
A side series to the popular main title also enjoys a healthy readership.

Gideon Falls volume 5
The final volume of Jeff Lemire’s Gideon Falls hit the list. Gideon Falls is a creepy journey filled with stunning visuals.

Bestselling Comics for January 2021

Our list of bestselling comics is comprised of titles and not individual issues.

Dark Nights: Death Metal
The heavy metal inspired alternate version of the DCU has been popular in all its iterations. Death Metal was the latest miniseries, the final issue of which debuted in January 2021.

Amazing Spider-Man
Spidey has been a bestseller for years and usually enjoys the top spot on the list.

X-Force / X-Men / X-Factor
Jonathan Hickman orchestrated a revival of the X-Men and its titles and it appears as if the quality shall continue in 2021. X-Force, X-Men, and X-Factor are the top three titles. If you are interested in what Hickman has been cooking you can get in on the action by reading the Dawn of X trade paperbacks.

Avengers
This Marvel flagship title continues its successful run.

Fantastic Four
Marvel has brought the Fantastic Four back into the limelight after years of doing next to nothing with the family.

Venom / King in Black
We are lumping the Venom title alongside the King in Black miniseries because they are closely connected. Writer Donny Coates has really become a powerful influence within Marvel. Well earned, too.

The Eternals
A return of The Eternals just in time for the upcoming Marvel movie.

Once & Future
This is the only comic not from DC or Marvel to crack the list. In Once & Future, folks try to prevent the return of King Arthur. Jumping onboard this series in comic form is not recommended. Check it out in trade paperback to get caught up.