Wingspan tops BoardGameGeek new owner charts for 2023, Earth only game from last year to break Top 10

Wingspan’s huge popularity since its 2019 release shows no sign of abating, with more BoardGameGeek users adding it to their collections last year than any other game.

More than 25,500 BGG users added the bird-themed engine builder to their collection in 2023 according to data collected by Igor Larchenko, who regularly releases statistical and infographic data about user behaviour on the website.

That total is almost 3,000 more than the 22,644 new owners recorded for second-placed Cascadia, with tile-drafting game Azul coming in a close third at 22,149.

While those figures aren’t reflective of actual sales numbers – Wingspan sold almost 280,000 copies in 2022, for example – they do give a powerful indication of which games are gaining traction in the hobby as big sellers, and which have the legs to carry them across multiple years of strong sales.

Ark Nova continued to shrug off its relative complexity and rules overhead to put on almost 21,000 new users last year, while Heat: Pedal to the Metal overcame long periods of unavailability to add just over 19,000 new owners.

The box for the Earth board game surrounded by its cards and playing pieces
Photo Credit: James Paul Correia Photography

Earth, the plant-themed engine builder which shares similar DNA to Wingspan, was the only 2023 release to make the top 10, with its 17,400 additions putting it a few hundred new owners ahead of venerable building and trading game Catan, first released in 1995.

Star Wars: The Deckbuilding Game was the next-highest 2023 release despite only reaching 24th position, having attracted 11,687 users to add it to their BGG collections.

Fellow 2023 release The Witcher: Old World reached 38th place with about 9,000 new owners, a single place ahead of The White Castle – although that release managed to put on over 8,900 users despite only releasing late in the year.

Hegemony: Lead Your Class To Victory and pseudo Scythe sequel Expeditions were also 2023 releases which managed to make the Top 50.

In terms of board game expansions, Root: The Riverfolk Expansion came top for new owners with 17,836, a good chunk ahead of second-placed Lost Ruins of Arnak: Expedition Leaders on just over 15,500.

Dune Imperium: Rise of IX was third with a little over 15,000 new owners, while Scythe: Invaders from Afar and Wingspan: Oceania made up the rest of the top five.

Most new owners 2023

Wingspan (2019) – 25,599
Cascadia (2021) – 22,644
Azul (2017) – 22,149
Ark Nova (2021) – 20,979
7 Wonders Duel (2015) – 19,328
Heat: Pedal to the Metal (2022) – 19,023
Earth (2023) – 17,401
Catan (1995) – 16,759
Dune: Imperium (2020) – 16,504
Lost Ruins of Arnak (2020) – 15,376

Most new owners – expansions

Root: The Riverfolk Expansion (2018) – 17,836 
Lost Ruins of Arnak: Expedition Leaders (2021) – 15,563 
Dune: Imperium – Rise of Ix (2022) – 15,035 
Scythe: Invaders from Afar (2016) – 14,746 
Wingspan: Oceania Expansion (2020) – 14,382 

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