A Board Game Purchase is an Investment in Family
I think most of us can safely say that mass market games are boring, tedious, and quite often, not at all fun.
How many times have you had to grin and bear a round of Candy Land with your 5-year-old? Boggle with the grandparents? Yet another over-hyped IP version of Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit with your pre-teen?
I mean, we all love those little Pocket Monsters, but even Pokémon Monopoly is still Monopoly. And we all know where that leads…
We hate taxes, too, kid.
And yet, there is plenty of evidence that playing board games is a worthwhile endeavor that gives families time to connect and enjoy one another’s company. Just a few of the benefits of board games include increases in mental response time, reduction in stress, and boosting children’s cognitive development.
Don’t know what to play?
Mass market games like Yahtzee and Connect Four are great introductions to games and can provide moderate entertainment for people of different ages and backgrounds. Sadly, the replayability of these games is low. This is why they spend more time collecting dust on a shelf than on the kitchen table.
And with the advent of more and more complex digital (video) games requiring significant thought, dexterity, and problem solving capabilities, most children and young adults aren’t going to tolerate repetitive, roll-and-move board games relying on dice rolls and luck with minimal mental challenge.
This is where the board game industry answers with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of well designed, thoughtful, entertaining and engaging games that offer hundreds of hours of play time and significant replayability – which means more time on the table and less time in a closet.
You tried to forget the closet of shame, didn't you?
But I don’t know where to start? There’s so many!
We get it. Looking at many of these new “designer” games can be daunting. Rule books can be large and overwhelming. The game pieces are often numerous. They require an investment in time, both physical and mental, to learn to play. But that shouldn’t deter you from rolling your sleeves up and digging in.
There are games designed to ease you into this new-found world.
In the board game industry we often refer to certain titles as gateway games. These games are comparatively simple and appeal to a wide range of players regardless of age or ability. Once you’ve sunk your teeth into many of these titles, you’ll generally find learning more complex games to be much less painful.
One of the most widely known gateway games is Ticket to Ride. With its colorful trains and easy to learn rules system, players will find it highly approachable. The replayability of Ticket to Ride is high and most people enjoy the mild complexity and exciting challenge of placing train cars to complete routes and score points. Everyone from young children to seasoned board gamers can find something to like about Ticket to Ride.
Other games that may appeal to players who want a casual challenge include:
Point Salad – in which you use vegetables to build salads and win points
Sushi Go! – A thematic set collection card game where you grab pieces of sushi to make the best combinations to score points
Codenames – a party game based on one-word clues and deduction to find the spy and avoid the assassin
King of Tokyo – A dice rolling and card drafting push your luck game in which players compete to be king of the hill
Sagrada – Carefully place dice and win points to create beautiful stained-glass windows
Is your family too competitively cut-throat? Try a cooperative board game like Pandemic instead! In cooperative games, your group of players play against the game to try and win as a team!
Still confused by a game?
There are numerous friendly faces on YouTube willing to teach you how to play with tutorials, walk-throughs and reviews. We try to include video reviews for each game we have for purchase at Roll2Learn, but even that’s simply scratching the surface. Just type in the name of a game in the YouTube search bar and you’ll find dozens of explanatory videos at your disposal.
Remember, it’s all about finding games that will appeal to your family. Everyone is different. Look for meaningful ways to connect using similar interests, play styles and game length preferences.