Board games, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
There are plenty of reasons why board games are making a serious comeback. In our house, board games are such an integral part of our lifestyle that I don’t often think to question WHY that is the case. Lately though, people have been asking so I though this might be the perfect opportunity to tell you what I love about games.
1. Board games are based around real life interaction
In this age of digital everything, it’s really nice to get together with a group of people in real life, and play a board game. You get the benefit of just playing for the fun of it (something we don’t do often enough in today’s fast paced and results focused world) AND you get to interact with real life people. This is great for the mood, the self esteem and good for your friendships.
2. It’s a great mental challenge to learn a new board game
It’s important to challenge ourselves, and trying a new board game is a great way to challenge yourself to try something new, break out of your comfort zone and let yourself fail at something with low risk consequences. This is great practice for real life. Trying new things is the only way to get somewhere new. But it takes a certain level of comfort with risk to be able to do that. Board games let you try a new thing and if you suck at it, you can practice and get better, or just lose repeatedly with no seriously negative consequences. It hurts less each time, and you get braver.
3. Board games help reveal who your friends really are at their core
I don’t mean this in an “I’m really a spy for the CIA” kind of way. But you learn a lot about people when you play games with them. Are they a good team player? Do they have latent homicidal tendencies? Do they learn from their mistakes? Do they learn from other people around them? Are they honourable? People who play together, stay together. Cheezy, but true.
4. Board games are a shared experience that let people take turns being the “expert”
At least in our friend group, when we have game nights people can bring their favourite game, or a new game, and we’ll all muddle through together. Usually there will be someone who has played it before, or at least read the rule book, and having them teach the group provides a nice chance for them to be the expert. And once game play starts, everyone has their strengths. Discussion and table talk throughout the game lets you glimpse the kind of strategies people employ, and you often learn about strengths your friends have that you were completely unaware of.
5. Board games are cheap entertainment
Don’t get me wrong, most board games aren’t actually cheap. The ones we most often play are coming in at the $50-150 dollar range (lots of pieces, elaborate setup, really awesome little figures inside really cool boxes). But think about it. Even if we only ever played a game 4 times, that would still have provided an evening’s entertainment for 4-6 people for an average of $25 a night. That’s only one person’s movie ticket and popcorn. If you play a game once a month, then you might get your evening’s entertainment down to about $8 an evening. Quite thrifty really (or so we tell ourselves every time we buy a new game).
And now, I need to go get ready. We’re headed over to a friend’s place to spend the next 12 hours or so playing Pandemic Legacy. Don’t know what that is? Check out the link. Epic fun to be had there.