by Sarah ▪ 17 Jun, 2021
An evening of board games might sound wholesome and, to the uninitiated, even dull – but there are few pastimes that offer such a broad array of mental, emotional and physical benefits without leaving the comfort of your own home. For starters – and most importantly – games are a fabulous way to bring a family together. Even though competitive arguments can’t be ruled out, the overall effect of playing games is to bring people closer together and strengthen relationships. Laughter is often a side effect of games – especially if you pick the right ones! – and this helps to bond people and reduce stress.
We’ve seen that playing games is good for the brain, but before we get stuck in to recommending the perfect games for your family and friends, we think it’s important to tuck into some hearty nourishment. That way your brain will be firing on all cylinders by the time it comes to plotting your cunning strategy. Of course, sharing meals with others is also another fantastic way to get endorphins fizzing nicely, especially if helped along with a glass of bubbly – although that may not help you pull off your game plan!
Board games have been doing booming business for the past few years, and the choices are endless. In fact, if you’re new to the scene, it can be quite daunting. While it’s tempting to go for the well-known names like Monopoly, there are many more fun and challenging options out there (although the Monopoly Deal card game is great for a quick game).
Social deduction games are always exciting, involving secrecy and bluff worthy of a poker champ. Each player is assigned a role, and must try to ascertain whether others are acting in good faith, or are not who they appear. Some are team games and others are all about the individual win. An easily accessible example of a team game is Bang!,a Western-themed game with sheriffs, outlaws and renegades all armed to the teeth and shooting to kill, while in Love Letter it’s each bishop, captain, countess, assassin or handmaiden for themselves. All of these would also make great family games for children of secondary school age.
If you’re a board game pro, or want to explore further, there are many brilliant, but initially overwhelming games to try. These tend to involve detailed scenarios (and beautiful artwork) in which you have to build up resources over time – having to make critical decisions at every step. They are intricately balanced and plotted, and often you won’t know who’s won until the end because there are many ways to accrue the winning currency. These games really repay the initial effort, and are real relationship builders, often becoming a family or friends’ staple entertainment.
We’ve already made several recommendations for games suitable for younger members of the family here, but such is the abundance of choice, we thought we’d offer a few more zingers for you to try.