Our family loves to play board games. We don’t just end up playing board games; we intentionally choose to commit our time and money to playing them. Many people find this odd, so let me give you some of the reasons we make board games a part of our life.
Wholesome Fun – We choose games with good themes, so it is good clean fun. Not every game has a good theme. There are some games, even games aimed at kids, that I think look like a lot of fun, but the theme is quesionable. Becki and I make sure we avoid even owning these games.
I am going to be writing some more game reviews soon, and I will be focusing less on explaining all of the details of the game. Instead I will try to give a feel for what the game is like, what I like and don’t like, and anything in the game that I object to, or think that you might find objectionable. (For example I like Bang!: The Dice Game, but in the game beer represents healing. We laugh off that aspect knowing that it is based on the old western movies that were a caricature of what life was actually like. But I realize that other families would have an issue with this, so I will mention it in my review.)
Time Together as a Family – Games give us a chance to spend meaningful time as a family. We laugh together, talk, and get to see each other’s personalities through board games.
Learn How to Handle Losing – While we play games, as parents, we have the opportunity to teach our kids how to handle loosing. We have some children that have struggled with this. Playing games at home is a much easier time to help your children learn how to loose than when they are in a sports league and there are lots of other people around.
Learning – There are lots of things that we can learn while playing games: math, geography, strategy, logic, tactics, probability, spacial relations, spelling,… When I say that you can learn during games, I am not talking about games that are designed to teach. But if you play good games, learning happens without trying. Our kids know a lot of U.S. cities from playing Ticket To Ride.
More Interaction Than Watching a Movie – While we enjoy watching a movie, we find that we just sit near each other during movies but don’t actually interact. During a game, you get to know the other people. During a movie, everyone gets to know the movie.
Even Expensive Games are Cheap – Sometimes we spend $50 or $60 on a board game. This might seem outragous to some people, but it is cheaper than going to the movies. I just checked: if our family was going to see Cinderella at our local theater tomorrow, it would cost $53 (without snacks and drinks) for a movie that is 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Instead we could buy Castles of Mad King Ludwig for $40 and get hours and hours of fun. (We do not actually own that game yet, but I am looking forward to buying it someday.)
Some of our games, like The Settlers of Catan, have given us hundreds of hours of fun over the course of many years. When you look at the cost over time, board games are very inexpensive.
Motivation to Learn to Read – Some games are easy to play without needing to read. There are some, like Carcassonne, don’t even have any words in the game. But other games require a lot of reading in the game. I often tell our younger kids that they can not play certain games until they learn how to read. For some of our kids, this became a big motivation and caused them to work harder on their reading lessons.
Teaching Character – Games often present teachable moments. You can use these to teach kids: how to be a gracious winner, to play honestly and fair, how to handle frustration, patience, and much more.
Oh, and I forgot – It is fun.
For the picture, I asked each of our kids to pick out 2 of their favorite games.
I hope this post encourages you to play more board games and to spend some quality time as a family.