Pokemon Go Away: Board games enjoying a comeback

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These days, everything old is new again, especially for those looking to unplug from the digital age.

Pokemon Go may be grabbing headlines but many are grabbing for good ol’ fashioned board games.

Board games have seen a steady growth of 15% for the past 5 years.

And no one knows that better than the regulars at Guthrie’s in Lakeview. At the local bar, board games fill a bookshelf and customers fill the tavern to play Battleship, Scrabble and Cards Against Humanity. They've done it for 30 years and will be celebrating all things Guthrie’s and board games at their anniversary party this weekend.

"If you are here on a Friday or Saturday night, there's probably 80% of the tables playing games,” manager Mark Fellows says.

Megan Kanous is a sales manager with Publisher Services Inc. or PSI.  It is a games distribution company that caters to smaller game makers other than Hasbro or Mattel. She sells to hobby shops, bookstores as well as to Target and Walmart.

"The trends that we're seeing are in purchases of high quality games that offer a lot of repeat value where the game is different every time,” she says.

These tangible games that can cost $50-$75 dollars a pop.

So why are consumers gobbling up board games these days? A couple of reasons:

First of all, it's social while giving people the chance to unplug.

"They want the socialization that happens face to face across from your friends and family,” Kanous says. “And having a good time playing these games.”

This week, Gen Con 2016 gets underway in Indianapolis. It is the largest and longest running consumer trade show for gaming in the U.S.

Attendance there has tripled since 2009 with over 60,000 attendees last year. And 500 exhibitors are expected this year, up by 25%.

For Kanous, pushing games like Ticket to Ride: First Journey and Codenames Deep Undercover will be easy because Target is rolling out other exclusive board games along with these this fall.

Board games is a double digit growth category for the big box store that is mass marketing games from the past to give us all an escape from the present.

This fall, Target will release 50 exclusive board games, some old, some new.

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