The legendary Catan (originally known a Settlers of Catan) offers a variety of game mechanics for developing resource management and decision-making skills.
Video games are without a doubt one of the most popular and enjoyable hobbies of the 21st Century. However, board games still hold their own in the technological world that we live in today. Not only do board games help in the development of family bonds and basic skills, but there are also many health benefits, especially as compared to their video game counterparts. In this article, we will explore the benefits of board games, for both health and the community.
Board Game Benefits
One of the biggest benefits of playing board games is that board games help people develop patience, resource management, and goal-setting skills. For many board games, winning is a matter of developing effective strategies and pulling them off in the most efficient way possible. Games like the popular Wingspan (check out our Wingspan Beginners Guide here) by Stonemaier games, or the legendary Catan, involve a variety of decision-making elements that build skills in these areas; skills that can apply to real-world situations. This is not to say that video games do not possess these elements, but often video games provide experiences that develop motor skills and reflexes, whereas the majority of board games offer slower, methodical pacing that allows for contemplation. Board games create problems to solve and impose limitations on players (in the form of resource management, costs, and limited actions, for example), which develop players in these areas, in a simulated environment that has no real consequences (except for maybe bragging rights).
Board games have well-known health benefits as well. It has been scientifically proven that playing board games can lower blood pressure. When one plays, happiness is shed which causes endorphins to be released, which in turn allows an easier pass for blood flow, lowering one's blood pressure. Of course, this may depend on the game being played, as games like UNO, which we believe was developed in a lab somewhere by scientists performing questionably moral psychological experiments on people, can have the opposite effect. But we're not researchers, just folks who love a good board gaming session.
Laughter has well-known health benefits as well. This can cause a decrease in stress which once again has a significant impact on one's happiness and well-being. Probably the best benefit to playing board games is the overall increase in brain function. Playing not only stimulates the brain, but it also strengthens the areas of the brain that are responsible for thought and memory which overall helps with the development of cognitive skills like problem-solving and decision making. Playing board games also reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. This is because the critical thinking and decision-making needed to play board games keep the relevant areas of the brain engaged.
Board Games Develop Confidence
Board games can be a huge self-confidence booster. Board games push people to develop an extremely strong sense of creativity, as players are often faced with challenges along with multiple paths to accomplish goals. Board games offer opportunities for the development of social skills as well, which can lead to greater inclusivity, as games can bridge cultural gaps in a unique and fun way. In the business sphere, games are often used as ice breakers, as games provide a format for opening up communication, without the risk of running out of things to talk about.
Board Games Develop Community
Board games offer a unique, communal experience where players are creating an experience together within the confines of structured rules. Unlike video games, which automatically moderate and create the experience for players, board games require that players involved create the experience together. Players must know the rules, and maintain them during gameplay. Players engage with one another throughout this co-created experience. This is not to say that video games do not create shared experiences in this way, but board games are much more interpersonal, with direct, person-to-person engagement. Board games are a reminder that low-tech gaming experiences offer just as much, if not more benefits and entertainment than their digital counterparts.
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- Ben Kaplan
- Event Coordinator
- Ben is a video game and sports enthusiast, who not only loves college football but everything Star Wars, Anime, and DC as well. He likes the finer things in life like lightsaber-themed forks and spoons.