Dating back to antiquity, board games have been among the best family games to play. These board games are basically a subset of tabletop games that involve the movement of pieces or counters in predetermined positions and are played according to a set of rules that all must know and adhere to. In some cases, board games do not necessarily use physical boards.
Board games generally have goals or objectives that players will have to attain or reach if they are to emerge as winners. To win any board game, you need to implore various strategies. However, there is a bit of luck in most of these games too.
The earliest form of board games mostly involved battles between two players. Since then, games have evolved to mirror other aspects of life too.
Benefits of Board Games
There is a large variety of board games and in this piece, we’ll discuss the benefits of these games as well as some of the best board games for kids, families, and others.
Board games offer you tons of benefits. While the benefits may differ from player to player, almost everyone enjoys them.
1. Offers Ample Family Time
With the current happenings and the need to make ends meet, it has become almost impossible for families to have uninterrupted time together. Playing board games right after dinner is one-way family members can spend time together without having to worry about work and other stuff. Depending on the game at hand and the number of people around, you can form groups to make the game more interesting.
2. Maintains Mental Health
According to a study conducted by one of the leading mental health magazines, it was revealed that playing board games help to maintain stable mental health. How is that so?
The findings of the published study revealed that during controlled and random trials, playing some of the traditional board games helped to improve impairment and depression. The study further states that the playing of newly developed board games is capable of ushering behavioral modifications in players. Just like going to a gym, using your brain regularly ensures that it remains sharp and active. Board games, as mentioned earlier, require you to use top-level strategies if you’re to emerge as a winner. Doing this continuously will ensure that your brain is active, in the process keeping your mental health stable.
3. Helps Develop Social Skills
A large number of board games require that you play with two or more people. Whether you’re working as teammates or opponents, these board games force social interaction, which in turn helps you develop core social skills.
Currently, there are tons of board games that allow you to either roleplay or pair up with another player. This helps you develop social skills in a world where a majority of people cannot hold proper conversations except via online chats and video messaging applications. In these fun board games, players learn to negotiate or make trades with other players.
4. Helps to Develop Cognitive Skills in Children
While this may not be obvious at first, board games are capable of developing rare cognitive skills in your children. For example, children unconsciously learn to be patient as they would have to take turns playing games. Also, they learn to adhere to rules while playing games.
Since board games are competitive, they help teach kids how to remain calm even in defeat and instill in them humility.
5. Helps Develop Problem-solving Skills
When playing board games, you’re indirectly learning to face your problem immediately. They also teach you that regardless of where you find yourself, there is always a way out.
Types of Board Games
Being one of humanity’s oldest hobbies, board games are basically some of the most welcoming and satisfying activities anyone can play. Most of these games are not just fun but can sometimes be inclusive and exhaustive.
As a beginner, it is best that you familiarize yourself with the various board game types.
Abstract Board Games
Abstract board games can take on many different styles and themes, but are usually creatively made and offer a unique experience. Abstract board games may also include regular household items or incorporate your devices.
Defined by individual plays, campaign board games follow a series of connected scenarios where the actions and outcomes of one of these scenarios will affect the others. Legacy board games, on the other hand, are those types of campaign board games where your actions and choices will require you to make physical (sometimes, permanent) changes to the game or any of its components. These actions can include applying stickers to the physical board, tearing up a card, or moving one of the objects in the game.
These types of board games are generally for the most dedicated enthusiasts and often require hours upon hours to play, sometimes over several days.
These are board games that come with either a map or board that particularly define a space where players will need to dominate, most of the time by adding their own pieces or components to the other regions or parts. It could also be done by removing the objects of your opponent from specific areas of the board.
Depending on the game you opt for, some of the area control board games will require you to deny your opponent access to certain areas instead of taking them for yourself.
The idea behind this board game is that each player owns a set of cards but will have to alter it during the course of the game. Mostly, less powerful deck cards are removed for more powerful cards.
Oftentimes, deckbuilder games have been likened and mistaken for deck construction games like card trading. While they are similar in a number of ways, these games are different. For example, in a deckbuilder board game, players reserve the right to customize as well as create decks.
These board games require players to use physical skills. Depending on the type of game, most dexterity board games may require players to use their hands to move objects around. Some, on the other hand, may require other forms of physical activity.
Kickstarter Board Games
While we have discussed some of the most popular board game types, it is only right that we share some of the best board games for beginners. While some of these games are intensive and require skill, others are basically won by chance. If you’re new to these board games, these are a few you should try out.
Ticket to Ride
Arguably one of the most popular beginner board games, Ticket To Ride is a board game that encompasses trains. It is basically about train routes and the more routes you are able to create, the more points you earn. The idea behind this fun board game is collecting cards that come in different colors and spending them in creating train routes. You simply need to match the colors to the existing ones.
While this board game may look like a fun game, it shouldn’t fool you, it is a very competitive one. While you try to create train routes by matching colors, your opponents will try to sabotage your efforts whichever way possible. Your goal should be to become the master of the railway and to do this, you need to fight off your opponents by imploring strategies or by mere chance. One of the things you’ll learn from playing this competitive board game is planning ahead and being able to adjust when an opponent tries to block your route.
There is no doubt that you will find a game where you have to build the world from scratch as a knight, thief, monk, or farmer interesting. This is what Carcassonne offers. In this game, players are required to build the world from scratch by drawing and placing a land tile each turn. Unlike most of the Kickstarter board games, Carcassonne needs players to implore strategies if they are to win.
One of the things you will learn from this board game is the ability to juggle and efficiently make use of limited resources.
Being a member of the sub-genre of economic games, Splendor, like most of the games in the niche, affords you the opportunity to build an economy from scratch by buying things to build it.
In this game, you use tokens to pay for gems which in turn help you boost your token bank. Players are in a race to build the most efficient economy while grabbing the best gem. The problem here is that every other player is trying to get their hands on the gem, so for every time you pump your engine for a gem, you risk losing valuable resources to the other players.
This game teaches real-life lessons: you need to buy things wisely. It unconsciously instills in players the ability to control their spending.
This is an ideal family board game that all should try out. In this low-pressure game, the aim of your group (it is a cooperative game) is to put up a firework display by playing cards from suites in numeric order. Sounds fun and easy, right? You don’t get to see your card, only the other players do. To help you know what card you’re holding, they’ll give you clues, bear in mind that these clues are limited.
The fun part about this game is that when the firework display collapses, you do not have to take the blame alone.
How would you feel being in charge of a civilization? Santorini offers you that. As a cerebral board game, this game requires players to use cunning strategies.
Players in this game are charged with the responsibility of making a tower. To further advance in the game, smart moves will need to be made. For a better gaming experience, the new edition of this game comes with snow and players have to wait on the sandals of a Greek god. To break the rules, each player’s portfolio of power will determine how far they can go.
The increased number of power combinations found in this game gives both experienced and new players plenty of reason to play again and again.
Classic Board Games
A true classic that has been around for decades, Clue is basically a murder mystery game that requires players to move objects around to determine who the culprit is.
There has been a bloody murder at the Boddy Mansion and it’s up to you to find out who the real culprit is. In this game, there are six suspects and unfortunately, you are one of them. To get clues on who could be the culprit, you simply have to move objects around the mansion, sometimes through secret passageways. The clues should be able to provide answers to these questions: who murdered Mr. Boddy? What weapon was used for this evil act? When did this incident take place?
The more clues you are able to find, the narrower your search becomes. Being a competitive board game, you will have to race other players to be the first person to unravel this case. Regardless of your age, being able to unravel the case brings so much joy and excitement. Try it out with a larger group of people for the best experience.
Arguably one of the most popular board games of all time, Monopoly, as a game, can be traced back to 1935 when it first hit the market. Since the introduction of this game almost 100 years ago, Monopoly has created real estate titans who have mastered the art that is this beautiful game. It is an abstract strategy board game that requires top-notch strategies and luck. Players will have to buy and sell properties while trying to avoid being thrown into jail and losing money to other players. As long as you have the funds, you can buy as many properties as possible.
Like in a real-life scenario, you can make your properties earn money for you by charging the other players a fee each time they land on your property. To win this game, you need to bankrupt all other players. While this will take time to achieve, it makes the game incredibly fun and suspense-filled. The main idea is to buy enough properties on one side of the game that you gain a “monopoly.” This allows you to charge other players crazy-high sums of cash until they are no longer able to pay, thus giving you all of their properties.
This is truly an intense-filled game that will leave you strategizing and thinking ahead of the other players. It is a perfect family board game you all can play after dinner (expect arguments!).
Aside from being an ideal board game for kids and adults alike, Scrabble also has an online version where you can connect and play with strangers from other parts of the world. Most people have described this exciting and fun board game as a jumble of words with unlimited possibilities.
In this game, each player randomly picks seven tiles of letters to begin with. With these tiles, you will have to carefully analyze your options to find the best possible word combinations for the most points, while strategically placing your words in positions that deny your opponents’ points.
For transparency and accuracy, you will need to keep a pen and paper handy for calculating your scores. Also, to ensure every word formed is accurate, a dictionary should also be made available. Some Scrabble sets even come with a dictionary.
Players can also challenge for the accuracy of words that are formed by the other players. In situations like this, a player that challenges will lose a turn if the challenged word is accurate.
To end the game, a player must have used all of the tiles in his or her possession. The points will have to be tallied and the winner announced. It is an ideal board game for wordsmiths and casual players alike.
Want to know what it feels like to rule the world? This game gives you a bit of that feeling. This game has a map of the world on the board, with each of the continents broken down into territories. The main idea behind this game is to conquer all of the 42 territories while eliminating other players as you go. Like in a real-world situation, you will need to form alliances with players when your interests align, knowing that anyone can turn against you when their interests change.
To emerge as a winner, you will need to be very cautious of who you form an alliance with. The technicality, level of strategy, and exhaustive duration of this game will test your patience and skill. But, you cannot conquer the world in a few minutes.
To succeed in this game, you need to think ahead of the other players. You need to know when and who to enter into an alliance or agreement with, and you also need to know when to break that alliance and forge ahead.
Of all the classic games on this list, Risk may be the longest game.
Axis and Allies
A historically driven game, Axis and Allies was created specifically for history buffs, as it is based on World War II. However, the course of history can be altered by players during the game. In this game, players represent either the Axis or Allied powers and have to make combat and non-combat moves across the globe. Players will have to decide what military weapons to make use of and what research programs should be funded to gain an advantage against their enemies.
If you’re keen on playing this game, it is best you read through the guide book. There are tons of rules and moving parts that you need to pay close attention to if you are to succeed. Depending on the agreed end goal between players, the goal may be for your powers to take control of 13 to 18 victory cities. Like Risk, this game is an abstract strategy board game that can last for hours.
Because of its difficulty, this game may not be suitable for children. But, since it often lasts hours upon hours, it offers you a perfect family bonding game.
In this piece, we have discussed some of the core benefits of board games as well as some of the most popular games available. Over the last couple of years, board games have started to regain their popularity as party favorites. Aside from offering perfect bonding time, board games also offer a variety of health benefits like improved cognition and social skills.
Interestingly, many games that were previously only available in physical forms have begun to make the transition to virtual play. Oftentimes, virtual board games have exciting new features and allow you to play with friends and relatives over great distances.