20 Things I’ve Learned from Playing Board Games

I’ve always struggled to answer people when they ask me why I play board games so I’ve put together the following list.

#1: ANY game can be fun if played with the right people.

#2: Some people love to play the same games multiple times to really explore all the options, variants and possibilities. Some people love to play lots of games just a few times. I tend towards the latter.

#3: In MY experience, despite being such a varied bunch, boardgamers are the kindest, most helpful, generous and thoughtful people that I have ever met.

#4: My father had dementia, and although evidence is variable, I believe playing boardgames will help / prevent me from getting it. Even if it’s a placebo affect games help me to exercise my brain – “prevention is better than cure”.

#5: Playing board games makes me happy. Apparently playing board games triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural “feel-good” chemicals. This is perceived as a positive emotion as “happy hormones” have the power to improve conscious and unconscious mind functions, leaving people feeling cheerful, compassionate and ultimately content.

#6: They have highlighted something I already knew – I have an addictive personality. My collection is over 1,000 games and there is no way I can ever play them all. But I really don’t want to sell them – it’s like they are my kids. I’m not unhappy with this state of affairs and have even started to slowly sell a few of them but as Socrates said it is good to “know thyself”.

#7: Almost everyone I have introduced the hobby to, perhaps despite initial misgivings, has really enjoyed the experience and invariably asks when we can play something again.

#8: Playing boardgames helps me to be more creative. Whether that is plotting how to win a game, thinking of ways to pimp up my games, how I can help others when I play-test (4 credits so far) or how I can create / design my own games.

#9: Playing boardgames is a wonderful way to spend quality time with family and friends and create great memories for the future.

#10: Playing boardgames is really educational. Apart from the obvious quiz genre many games have interesting or unusual themes. What is your most interesting thematic game?

#11: I’m not too precious about my games. I know they can be expensive, but I really don’t care if the box is damaged as long as the components are fine.

#12: If I had to choose between playing boardgames or just about anything else I would always choose to play a board game. I’m thinking about watching my team Chelsea on TV, going for a meal or to the cinema, going to the pub, etc. The only exception is being with my family but, even then, we will probably be playing a game.

#13: Playing board games is great for my grandchildren. It helps them develop their logic and reasoning skills, improves their critical thinking and boosts their spatial reasoning. The ability to concentrate and focus for longer periods of time is also developed when playing board games.
#14: Anyone can get involved – any gender, colour, religion, age, regardless of disability – and money is not a barrier to entry!

#15: Jointly Setting up my Monday & Thursday night group (Lytham St Annes Gamers) is one of my most rewarding accomplishments. Every single person in the group is fantastic and I will gladly sit down and play a game with any of them. They make me laugh, they have supported me through difficult personal stuff, and we have the best banter every single week.

#16: I really enjoy historical games, especially military history, and my love of history and board games is a perfect match.

#17: I have made some lifelong friends from all over the world. In these days when many suffer from mental anguish, depression, etc a good friend is worth more than gold.

#18: Board games have helped me to become a gracious loser. Believe me I’ve had lots of opportunities to grow in this way! As I child I hated to lose and was very competitive. Of course I love to win but it really is the taking part that matters.

#19: Some games require negotiation which is an important leadership skill. Negotiation games teach me to communicate well with other players – in a way, it’s like networking! I also have to learn to adapt when plans don’t work out.

#20: I really like board game variants, expansions and promos. I’m all in favour of anything that adds replayability, longevity and variety to a game.