The word “gaming” has taken on a whole new meaning in this increasingly technological world. The board games of years passed are the stuff of family memories, a group of friends or relatives huddled around an actual board, selecting letters from a bag or mortgaging properties to get out of jail. Thankfully, they need not remain just memories – board games are still out there and popular as popular as ever. From Cluedo to Pictionary, Countdown to Pointless, board games always guarantee a laugh and are sure to bring out your competitive spirit.
Whether or not you know it, each board game is designed to nurture certain skills and behaviours. The popular game Blokus encourages spatial recognition and planning; Settlers of Catan teaches resource building; Pointless encourages originality; Mastermind teaches deduction; Sequence promotes team play; and Chutes and Ladders teaches that all important lesson that ‘bad things can happen’.
In the process of playing board games, families learn to work together, outsmart one another, be original in their strategies and exploit each other’s weaknesses where appropriate. Families who play board games on a regular basis learn to take each other’s victories in stride, to harness a competitive spirit and channel it toward a future win of their own. It’s not unusual for game nights to become incredibly heated, but as much as they prompt serious competition, laughter follows just as naturally.
Whether you’re drawing silly pictures in an intense game of Pictionary or acting out a clue in Cranium, board games have the ability to transcend age, gender and respective interests. Inhibitions are thrown aside and previous engagements or reservations are abandoned for the inevitable fun and competition of a family board game night. Shy kids come out of their shells, bold kids embrace their wackiness and everyone inevitably comes to associate board game time with fun times spent with friends and family.
The experience of game play on tablets or phones, Xbox or PlayStation is simply not the same as the tactile and engaging elements that are intrinsic to board games. Kids can look their competitors in the eye instead of talking into a headset to someone thousands of miles away. Parents can get to know their kids in new and interesting ways and collective memories can form through challenges and laughter that will bring everyone closer together.