Why Play Board Games?

Christmas 2017 Games

People ask quite frequently when you tell them that you play board games as a hobby, “Why play board games?” or even more frequently, “You mean like monopoly?” Most people, unless already involved in the hobby themselves, do not understand that board games have evolved from the days when we were children and the only games available were the mass market variety.

So why play board games? There are several reasons that I chose this hobby. Here are just a few.

Social Interaction

There is nothing better than getting together with your friends and family over a board game. Board games are one of the few activities these days that offer social interaction that can include multiple generations of the family from grandparents to tweens. Many games, especially party games, can be played with both older people and children (depending on their age and the game’s content, of course.) I have sat down at the table to play a game with my mother, my daughters, and my niece. The discussions we had were unforced and natural – not kids trying to please an elder.

One of my daughters was very reluctant to come out of her bedroom and interact with the rest of the family. Unless it was mealtime, we never saw her. She was content to spend all of her time in her room interacting with her online friends, but would not come out to see her mama and daddy. So, how do board games come into the picture?

I went back to college to finally earn my degree and dragged her, kicking and screaming, out of her room to sit down at a table and play board games with me once a week. The game we started with was Elder Sign, which is her number one all-time favorite game.

That once a week game playing has morphed over the years to where we play on an almost daily basis now. She now asks to play games, rather than me having to ask her and chooses the games we play. I feel like board games gave me back my daughter – and the social interaction that we have when we play can never be replaced.

Intellectual Stimulation

I mentioned that I went back to college to get my degree; however, I felt that I needed intellectual stimulation beyond the classroom. You see, I have been an avid reader all of my life. Most years I read at least 500 books, but by the time I was done reading textbooks after I returned to school, I did not want to see another book. That is where board games come in.

I do not like to be bored, nor do I want my brain to turn to mush. I wanted some type of intellectual stimulation that was fun and that did not feel like it was work. I turned back to my childhood love of board games, that I had tried (and failed) to return to when my daughters were in their teens. I started purchasing board games and building up a decent collection of them. I now have board games of pretty much every variety (except war games) all of which I can play and get some degree of intellectual stimulation from.

Dexterity Improvement

I am probably the least dexterous person on the face of the planet. My middle name is decidedly not “grace.” As I have gotten older, I have started to fall more often, which is a genuine fear for me. Dexterity games, although they do not help with the falling issue, do help me to concentrate on what I am doing. For example, in the game Junk Art, there are several different challenges that you need to master including building the highest structure and keeping your pieces from falling off the structure you are constructing. It takes a dexterous touch to be able to accomplish these things inside of the game and, although I am not doing those things in real life, I do tend to take my time more often when trying to balance things to carry and things of that nature because I have learned within a game, that I can do it if I concentrate hard on it.

Conclusion

There has been a lot of research done on board games and the impact that playing them can have on children. I am not sure there has been a lot of research done on the impact of board games on older folks, but if not, there should be if for no other reason than finding out if the mental stimulation of board games can help with cognitive issues that are so often developed as we get older. I am not saying that board games can help with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, but they might offer intellectual stimulation that could help prevent the problems in the first place.

Social interaction, intellectual stimulation, and improving dexterity are just a few reasons that the answer to “Why play board games?” can easily be answered “Why not?” Board gaming is a terrific hobby and with such a wide variety of games available – modern classics such as Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, and Codenames – being easily available, there is sure to be a game to fit everyone’s taste.

Stasia

12 Replies to “Why Play Board Games?”

  1. Thank you for such an interesting post. I remember playing board games as a child, with Monopoly being a favourite. I also enjoyed the fun of playing snakes and ladders, and a word game called shake words. The latter being a great way to learn spelling and increase vocabulary.

    Reply
    1. admin

      Kathy,

      Today’s educational games are so good for the most part! Nothing like when I was a kid and you felt yourself being force fed what ever the subject matter was. Thank you for your comments!

      Stasia

      Reply
  2. This post brings back memories of my childhood and it also makes me kind of sad I didn’t incorporate it as often in my kid’s upbringing. I can so relate to the daughter in her room except to eat. My son was like that. He is my second. My oldest daughter did get more of the interaction of games and family time. Even when they say it is lame, they really loved it. That is what my daughter said. So, I am going to start looking at doing this with my son every now and then even though he is 18. Thank you for reminding me of good family time.

    Reply
    1. admin

      Melissa,

      I am glad that you enjoyed the post. If you would like recommendations on games for your son, please check back often as we will be publishing board game reviews in the coming days. Maybe something will catch your eye!

      Stasia

      Reply
  3. What an awesome article! I really enjoyed reading about the benefits of playing board games. I agree they provide a great deal of intellectual stimulation, social stimulation and can work on your dexterity.
    I am an educational assistant and I work with children with mental health issues. I played two games today at school, banagrams and crib. Both of these games served several purposes for the kids and for me. 🙂 With banagrams, we worked on social skills, spelling and dexterity. With crib, we worked on math, social skills and also dexterity.
    I love games, and although the two games I mentioned may not be BOARD games technically, they provided the same benefits.
    In my personal life I enjoy playing CATAN.
    Have a great day! Thanks for the great article.
    Angela

    Reply
    1. admin

      Thank you for your comments, Angela. I am thrilled to hear that games are working well for your school children! I hope that you continue to use them for their betterment.

      Stasia

      Reply
  4. I can personally to board being a form of intellectual stimulation.I was over at my families house during the Christmas holidays and we decided to play Sorry board game .We decided it would be men vs women .Needless to say I got so caught up as well as everyone who was watching or playing on a emotional roller coaster .It was the most fun family interaction that we had together in a long time . In the end the women gave the men a beating we shall not forget in a long time.

    Reply
    1. admin

      Erick, I am so glad to hear that you had a blast with your family over the Christmas holidays. Board games are a terrific way to bring families together, aren’t they?

      Stasia

      Reply
  5. I love board games, but many of them confuse me. I tend to enjoy the more simple board games that’s easier to understand the rules.
    I guess that defeats the purpose of learning new ways to use my brain.. LOL
    I do love the social interaction when me and my family sit down together and play board games. We have a blast and really enjoy our time together.
    Thanks for sharing! I may have to try something new that makes me use my brain a bit more.
    Devara

    Reply
    1. admin

      Glad to hear of another board game lover, Devara! Have you tried cooperative games with your family? You might try something like Pandemic, which has a fairly easy rules set and because it is cooperative, everyone wins and loses together.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Stasia

      Reply
      1. No, I haven’t tried cooperative games before. I’ll have to look it up and give it a try. We could use some new games, especially for rainy weekends.
        Thanks for giving me some new ideas!

        I’ll stop by again soon,
        Devara

        Reply
        1. admin

          I believe that Pandemic is available at both Target and Wal-Mart. You should give it a try, Devara! I think you would enjoy it.

          Thanks for stopping by again!

          Stasia

          Reply

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