The Benefits Of Playing Board Games

Posted on February 23rd, 2015

When I mention board games as an example of a pleasant activity and time well spent with family and friends, most people respond by saying “I don’t like playing chess” or “I am tired of playing Monopoly.” However, over the past decade board games have evolved far beyond chess and Monopoly. Nowadays, there are hundreds of different types of board games that are suitable for all kinds of occasions, ages, and personalities.

Benefits Of Playing Board Games

  • Spend time with family and friends
  • Engage in activities that do not involve staring at a computer screen or a smartphone
  • Exercise your brain by learning something new
  • Improve your memory by keeping track of what is happening in the game
  • Revive your creativity and problem solving skills
  • Practice problem solving, storytelling, goal-setting, and other skills
  • Just have fun!

Since I renewed my interest in board games, I have enjoyed exploring the world of modern board games and spending more time playing with family and friends rather than staring at the computer screen. Below is a recommendation of some of the games and resources that I want to share with anyone who is curious to learn more about modern board games.

I have started playing board game more often about a year ago when I first learned about The Settlers of Catan. At first, I wasn’t sure that I would enjoy the game but as read more about the game I became more interested and eventually purchased the game. The game turned out to be very entertaining and enjoyable to play not only for me but for my family and friends. A few weeks later, I also purchased two extensions Catan: Seafarers Game Expansion and The Settlers of Catan 5 and 6 Player Extension, which add more variety to the gameplay.

Picture yourself in the era of discoveries: after a long voyage of great deprivation, your ships have finally reached the coast of an uncharted island. Its name shall be Catan! But you are not the only discoverer. Other fearless seafarers have also landed on the shores of Catan: the race to settle the island has begun!

What I like about The Settlers of Catan is that the game encourages the players to develop long-term goals and gameplay strategies, allows the players to practice their negotiation skills, and teaches a few principles of investing. It can take a few game sessions to learn how to play the game but it is well worth it. Even my grandmother enjoys playing this game.

Video - How to Play Settlers of Catan

If you have kids, you can also get Catan: Junior. This game can help you teach your kids about goal setting and strategies of how to achieve their goals.

A Catan adventure for fledgling swashbucklers. Explore the Seas Catan: Junior introduces a modified playing style of the classic game giving younger players the opportunity to experience the world of Catan. Designed for players as young as 5 and is a perfect introduction to the Catan series of games for kids and families. Catan: Junior takes place on a ring of islands where 2 to 4 players build hideouts, and the mysterious Spooky Island, where the Ghost Captain lives.


Dixit was the next game that I discovered last year and instantly became a fan of all Dixit games. Dixit is a storytelling that exercises your creativity skills and is just pure pleasure to play.

Dixit is one of my favourite games as there are many possibilities of gameplay. For example, you can use Dixit cards to create a story with your friends. You can also take turns and offer challenges and solutions as the story develops. Dixit is a really good exercise in creative thinking, which can help you practice “thinking outside of the box.” You can also use Dixit to learn more about how your family or friends think by paying attention to how they associate pictures with meaning.

Dixit is the lovingly illustrated game of creative guesswork, where your imagination unlocks the tale. In this award-winning board game, players will use the beautiful imagery on their cards to bluff their opponents and guess which image matches the story. Guessing right is only half the battle – to really succeed, you’ll have to get your friends to decide that your card tells the story!

Every turn, the storyteller will call out a short phrase or word to match the image on his card. Then each player will choose the card that most closely matches that phrase, and then everyone must guess which card the storyteller saw when he invented his brief tale. Correctly guess the storyteller’s card, and you’ll move ahead. Convince everyone else that your card is best, and you’ll do even better.

Dixit Gameplay Video

Shortly after playing a few rounds of Dixit with my family, I purchased all of the Dixit expansions:


After playing Dixit I became more interested in storytelling games and found a wonderful game called Fabula. Fabula is a unique storytelling and role-playing game, which can help you practice creative problem solving skills and learn “how to walk in someone else’s shoes.” You can also combine Fabula with Dixit to create even more memorable adventures and gameplay variations. The key requirement to be able to play Fabula is to have the right group of people, which enjoys the journey (story ) more than the destination (competitive scoring).

In Fabula, you don’t just read the adventure you become part of the adventure. Fabula is a storytelling game that will set your imagination soaring! One player acts as the Writer who reads the intro to one of 20 scenarios. The players must add to the story by incorporating one of the object cards placed on the table. The Writer gives out points for the best efforts. Each and every game will surprise you with its twists and turns. Fable can also be combined with Dixit playing cards to create infinite number of gameplay scenarios.


The more I played board games, the more I realized how board games can be used as an educational tool to teach kids (and yourself) about different ways of thinking, history, storytelling, strategy, goal setting, and many other life skills. After doing some research, I found another great board game called Timeline. Timeline is a great way to practice your memory skills and knowledge of history. It can also be used as a tool for teaching kids (or yourself) about history of the world in a fun and creative way.

The invention of the tank, the 1st appearance of a Superhero, and the invention of the coffee maker… Can you put all these events correctly on the timeline? With Timeline, learn the answer to this question and thousands more. Each card has a different historical event and on the opposite side its associated date.

The first player then chooses one of their cards and place it before or after the initial card. The player’s card is then turned date-side up. If the player was right, it remains on the table. Otherwise, the card is discarded and a new one must be drawn to replace it. Play proceeds clockwise. The more cards which are correctly played, the harder it is to correctly place new ones! The first player to get rid of their cards wins.

Gameplay Video

My family and I enjoy Timeline games and I have also added these Timeline games to my collection:

You may also enjoy Cardline Animals as a game that can be used to teach kids about different animals.

Players will challenge themselves and their friends in testing their logic and memory skills while trying to place in order either the size, weight or lifespan of the animals. With each card played the game gains in complexity and is guaranteed to teach something new to all. The winner is determined by the first player to successfully place all of their cards during a round.

Other Recommended Board Game

Cranium - award-winning board game brings friends together through a variety of activities that provide something for everyone.

Pictionary - The beloved game of quick sketches and hilarious guesses now features a new board for faster game play.

Smart Ass - Smart Ass, the game, from University Games is here. Have you ever played a game and been bursting to yell out the answer, even when it’s not your turn? Well here’s your chance. Each Who, What, and Where Am I card has ten clues and the first player to yell out the correct answer moves one step closer to being the ultimate Smart Ass.

The Laser Game: Khet 2.0 - Move over chess-there’s an innovative new strategy-based board game in town. It takes only a few minutes to learn how to play, yet you could spend a lifetime honing your strategies for victory. This new Laser Board Game makes a great activity to bridge the generations as you and your opponent move mirrored game pieces around an 80-square Egyptian themed grid. The goal is to protect your game pieces while eliminating your opponent’s by bouncing eye-safe lasers at them through the maze of mirrors you’ve constructed.

Forbidden Desert Board Game - Gear up for a thrilling adventure to recover a legendary flying machine buried deep in the ruins of an ancient desert city. You’ll need to coordinate with your teammates and use every available resource if you hope to survive the scorching heat and relentless sandstorm. Find the flying machine and escape before you all become permanent artifacts of the Forbidden Desert!

Recommended Articles and Websites About Board Games

Where To Get Board Games In Toronto

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