You can learn a lot about yourself, or the person sitting next to you, from playing a board game.
Take the game Settlers of Catan, for instance.
Players are required to “settle” the undeveloped land of Catan by collecting resources to build roads and towns and cities across the map. The need to trade and barter for resources becomes imperative as your opponents construct their own cities and roads around yours, boxing you in and limiting your ability to develop and ultimately conquer the land of Catan for yourself.
Darrin and I have survived a number of very intense games of Settlers of Catan.
Never have my marriage vows been more tested.
Some people seek out premarital counseling classes before they take their vows and commit to each other for the rest of their lives. I might suggest simply playing an intense game of Settlers of Catan; certainly you’ll discover if your partner will actually take you “for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health” until death (or utter failure to survive in the land of Catan) do you part.
I’ve discovered that if we ever have to settle and survive in an undeveloped land, I’m going to put Darrin in charge of accumulating the resources we need. That way we won’t end up with so. many. sheeeeep.
(All you Catan players KNOW what I’m talking about.)
Our family loves board games. We’re board game and card game people, which is why a small part of me is looking forward to life in a nursing home.
It’s easy to spot the benefits of playing board games.
For kids, board games are an outlet that teach a number of different skills:
- How to follow a set of rules
- How to respond to a success or a failure
- Encourages cognitive skills like planning and decision-making
- How to enjoy life away from a screen (What? Is that possible?!)
Board games teach a number of “adult” life lessons too:
- (See kid’s list above.)
But board games do more than teach kids how to wait their turn or remind adults that life does, in fact, go on after you lose.
This week’s focus in the Cultivate Calendar is on getting to know our neighbors. Because the first step towards loving our neighbors is actually knowing our neighbors. I don’t mean our abstract “neighbor” who we Christians like to use as an excuse not to engage with those around us.
I mean our actual, physical, flesh and blood neighbors, coworkers, daycare providers, pizza delivery workers. The teenager bagging your groceries. The friend you haven’t spoken to in years. People that we can share eye contact with and maybe (if we’re feeling reckless) an actual conversation.
But getting to know people can be difficult. It means embarking into the unknown. Willingly choosing to jump off a cliff without knowing whether there will be a welcoming lake or a rocky surface breaking our fall.
So maybe one way to battle the stress of the unknown is with a board game–a world of set rules and expectations and guidelines that, when followed, allow us to relax a little in the comfort of what is “known.”
Even if what is “known” includes a little old man in a top hat demanding that you pay $50 to get out of jail.
Board games can help build relationships. Especially new relationships.
So let’s make more time for board games this fall. Let’s make more time for people. Let’s jump.
Here are 5 of our favorite group board games below (warning: some of these may be too much fun for your own good)!
A classic in our family. Build cities and towns and roads by collecting resources in order to become the ultimate “settler” of Catan. Like I mentioned before, competitively pioneering through an undeveloped land can sometimes put a strain on your relationships. So be PREPARED.
This game is more of a card/role playing game than it is a board game, but if you grew up playing Mafia with your middle school friends, you’ll like this one. Werewolves are terrorizing the village, and every member of the group is given a role to stop them…unless the role you’ve been given is that of the terrorizing werewolf. Who are the werewolves? Who are the victims? Which player moved the cards around, changing everyone’s role? Who is lying? This game is paired with an app that gives you a narrator to walk you through each role. It’s a fun one!
If you like words, finding unexpected connections between words, and trying to guess the connections other people might make, then you’ll enjoy Codenames. Every game offers a different board of words, and two teams compete to get their teammates to guess their select group of words while avoiding the words designated to the opposing team. However, each team is only given one-word clues to guess which words belong to their team. Depending on the board, this game takes a lot of brainpower, but it’s worth it!
If you’d rather play a more active game, I’d recommend reverse charades. It’s a “reverse” version of charades because only one member of your team guesses while the rest of the team members work together to act out a particular word (rather than normal charades, where one person acts and the team members guess). Teams compete at the same time to guess one word, so you’ve got to be quick and creative! Definitely a fun game with kids!
A simple game of guessing who said what and accumulating points if you’re correct. Every member of the group responds to a prompt, such as “Things you shouldn’t say to your doctor…”, and then each response is read out loud by a designated “reader” for that round. Group members guess what “thing” each group member came up with. Some people are easy to guess, but others have a surprising way of tricking the guessers! This game is also easy to play while traveling.
Obviously there are SO MANY awesome games out there. Tell me your favorites! What should we add to this list (and to my game closet)?!