With the pandemic still forcing us to slow down our socialization, my family has found its rhythm in board games. Board games are coming back. My wife and I were shopping at Kohl’s recently when I came across a board game kiosk. The “Exploding Kittens” card game, the “Oregon Trail” board game, “Anti-Opoly” – an updated version of “Monopoly” for the 21st century – and many more.
I was raised on board games: “Monopoly” (apparently the 20th century version), “Pay Day”, “The Game of Life”, “Stay Alive”, “Mastermind”, “Trouble”, “Risk And “Masterpiece,” to name a few. These games taught me how to save money, invest, add and subtract, write and spell – skills we need to be successful in life.These recreational endeavors also instilled competitiveness through strategy as my brothers and friends tried to bend opponents to our will.
Board games today are much more sophisticated, complex and often expensive. They range from the simplest, like “Cards Against Humanity” to “Arkham Horror”, a very complex cooperative game based on the dark novels of HP Lovecraft. The industry has exploded, valued at $ 11.95 billion in 2018, and is expected to grow by more than 8% in the coming years.
Restaurants like the Pieces Board Game Bar & Restaurant now offer board games to patrons while they enjoy their meals. Game stores offer a wide selection of board games, as well as role-playing games and graphic novels. One of the growing post-pandemic social gatherings are board game nights.
It’s wonderful to see traditional and non-electronic social gatherings making a comeback with families and many adults. The advantages are numerous and the pleasure is total.
I get together almost every month to play board games with my boyfriend, Matt, and his sons: Brayden, who is in his 30s; Luke, who is in his twenties; and Jack, now in his late teens. Board games, even the playing field when it comes to just about every demographic, except trivia games. We play “Guillotine”, “Red Dragon Inn”, “The Festival at Kingsport”, “Ticket To Ride”, “Settlers Of Catan”, “One Night Werewolf”, “Sheriff of Nottingham”, “Betrayal At The House on the Hill “,” The Resistance “,” Love Letter “and many more The choices are endless and each one relies on a different mix of skills, knowledge and strategies.
Our happy group of social players tease, laugh, negotiate and debate strategy together. While winning is good, it doesn’t define the night. The current version of socializing is defined by clicks, thumbs up, and quick videos of strangers for other strangers. It is defined by followers and popularity, not relationships and friendships. I care about my board game buddies beyond dice rolls and rule debates.
Human interaction has been weakened with phones and social media posts, a pandemic and political divide. But in-person contact with an enjoyable activity like board games ignores our differences and focuses on entertainment, producing smiles, relaxation, and sometimes even a little learning.
We have much more in common than differences. Let’s make sure we don’t lose our camaraderie and our desire to enjoy the company of others.