Board Game Motivation Model: Handy Reference Chart & Slides

By |2017-01-12T11:25:42+00:00January 12th, 2017|Analytics, Board Games|2 Comments

Over 90,000 board gamers have taken our Board Game Motivation Model to get their personalized profile. We’ll soon be diving into this data in our blog posts. To set the stage for this, we’ve put together some handy reference material.

What’s your Board Game Motivation Profile? Take a 5-minute survey to find out!

Quick Reference Chart

First, we have a graphic that provides a concise overview of the motivations in the model. We identified 11 board gaming motivations that group into 4 clusters. In each cluster, the top row (darker gray) is the primary motivation–the dominant anchor of the cluster. Motivations in the same column are highly correlated, and much less correlated with motivations in the other columns.

Detailed Reference Slides

Second, we have a PDF set of slides that provides more detailed description of each motivation. To give a more concrete sense of what each motivation means, we also list the highest and lowest 10 board game titles for each motivation.

Stay Tuned

We have some really exciting board game findings we’ll be sharing soon, but we wanted to make sure we lay the groundwork for describing the model before diving too deep in the data. Stay tuned!

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About the Author:

Nick is the co-founder and analytics lead of Quantic Foundry. He combines social science and data science to understand gamer behavior in large-scale game data.


  1. Daniele May 21, 2017 at 11:43 pm - Reply

    Hi, I believe that Social Manipulation is too generic, it needs split into different sub-categories. A lot of party games are focused on the social deduction and they are far from the conflict is very light. See the games like Spyfall, The Resistance, Werewolf… are Social Fun (Accessible, Cooperation -factions-)+all aspects of Social Manipulation. There is some metric in your study that aggregate Social Manipulation & Social Fun?

    • Nick Yee May 22, 2017 at 12:01 am - Reply

      Hi Daniele – The motivation model is meant to be configural. Neither games nor gamers fall into just one box. This is why board gamers who take the profile tool get a score in each of these motivations, and it’s those scores holistically that create someone’s profile. So indeed, there are gamers/games that score high on Social Manipulation and high on Social Fun, and this is captured by the model. But there are gamers/games that score high on Social Manipulation and low on Social Fun, and the model would capture this too. As well as any 2-way, 3-way, etc. combinations.

      The chart is showing the ingredients, not classification boxes. The columns show how they usually group together, but this doesn’t mean they always group together that way for every gamer.

      With 11 motivations, there are 55 possible 2-way combinations and 165 possible 3-way combinations, etc.. It’s not efficient or parsimonious to list all of them. But all these possible combinations are possible (and we could define measures/filters for any of them) using the profile tool and dataset that we have.

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