Abstract strategy board game Quoridor was originally designed in 1997, so it came as some surprise to publisher Hachette when sales suddenly exploded in October 2021. Hachette Boardgames UK general manager, Flavien Loisier says it happened, “without any action from us and with none of our regular media channels really active.” It took a few days to track down the cause, a viral video on TikTok by GoodGuy025, that by now has racked up a whopping 39 million views.
While this was the first major video on the board game Loisier spotted, it soon became one of many, with multiple users across social media platforms making viral videos out of Quoridor games in progress. According to the manager, it was “a surprise and a revelation!”
What is it about Quoridor, a simple strategy board game where players advance their pawns to the opposite end of a board, while placing walls to block their opponent, that has led to such appeal online? “Simple visual designs are highly entertaining!” is Loisier’s bet. The board game’s simple, wooden style, and the fact that its rules can be grasped from one, commentary-less video is part of what makes it so watchable.
“You have the first curiosity to try to guess the rules, then the tension of the game unfolding in front of you,” he says. “From there, you’re tempted to watch more of the same.”
One Instagram and TikTok board game channel says Quoridor was instrumental to growing their account. Games4Two had 7000 followers in August 2021, when they released their first Quoridor video, which received 5.7 million views. Now they’re surpassed 350,000.
“I think Quoridor is eye-catching,” says Aly James, Games4Two’s co-owner. “Wooden, abstract games always tend to do extremely well. The rules are simple and easy to understand, but there is still a layer of strategy involved.”
“Quoridor also has a unique look that just stops people in their tracks and ask: What is this game?”
Nonetheless, the size of their video’s audience still came as a shock. “It was definitely a surprise for it to have gone that viral!”
Loisier says Quoridor’s success on TikTok has had a measurable impact on sales, and people now approach him at conventions, recognising the game.
Aly James says she noticed an effect from their channel’s output alone: “Quoridor was sold out for quite some time. You could not find it anywhere after our videos went viral,” she says.
It seems simple rules and an appealing wooden aesthetic can be a recipe for a board game’s social media success. We expect the Checkers craze to begin any day now.