A 2020 survey shows that 44% of Americans find board games enjoyable; conversely, just 11% of respondents thought otherwise.
Those figures aren’t surprising at all considering that board games are almost as popular as video games.
But, Are Playing Board Games a Good Family Hobby?
Absolutely. First off, there are so many types of board games out there, most of which are both fun and educative for an average family. However, it can depend on the size of the family and how close it is. Generally, the answer to that question is “yes” but there are reservations.
Wait! Aren’t Cards For Gamblers?
If you didn’t know, cards are part of the large family of board games.
They are cool and perfectly harmless except that their reputation is a bit tarnished.
Cards and casinos are almost synonymous with each other, so some parents might be reluctant to roll them at home with their kids.
In a highly religious home, a deck of cards would be unwelcome because of their association with gambling.
Eight Games That Are Good For Families
Just a fistful of board games (like cards) might be inappropriate in a home setting – most of the lot is useful and cherished.
No problem if you are thinking of acquiring any of the below games for your family:
It is one of the most common board games in modern homes.
Chess is even a sport and can boost cognitive and math skills in kids.
More studies show that Chess increases the IQ (intelligence quotient) in both male and female youngsters.
Monopoly is relatively new in homes compared to Chess but it is up and rising.
With it, you get to build a little empire with your kids right on the family table and help them learn to be great businesspeople.
Monopoly is hard to dislike and, unlike Chess, it’s less intricate.
Playing puzzles can be a hobby too.
Puzzles take many forms, including jigsaws and simple boards requiring you to put together a number or letter series or image.
They are a fun-filled way to teach your kids to be curious. Some puzzles can be competitive which is still a nice thing.
Backgammon has been around for a long time (ever since ancient Egyptians were here) and is centered around one important skill – strategy making!
Once you’re done with dinner, you can gather around a table and cast the dice with the rest of the family until you’re ready for bed.
Checkers are very much like chess except that you use your strategic skills to capture your opponent’s chips in black/white squares.
This too teaches both kids and adults to think and can be used to pass time just like any other hobby.
6. Chinese Checkers
Contrary to what the name suggests, this game originated from Germany.
With your head bent down on it, your job is to move your chips to opposite squares until you win.
What makes this game perfect for a family is the fact that, unlike most board games, it is designed to support up to 6 players at the same time.
It’s a board game for up to four people, great for a family that likes to kill time together.
It’s also simple and easy to play, which makes it great for even the youngest folks in the family.
Few hobbies teach grammar and spelling better than Scrabble.
It is where creativity and language meets. This too is simple and straightforward for pre-teens.
Cooperative Board Games Could Be The Glue That Will Hold Your Family Together
Board games themselves make a family with numerous members some of which you haven’t met yet.
These two falls in a special class of board games called cooperative games that require two or several players to work together to overcome a challenge.
For a family, they can be a better replacement for competitive board games because they focus everyone’s attention on a common obstacle.
I must admit I can’t get enough of Pandemic (check the link above).
The color themes remind me of the classic Pinball on Windows XP although it’s an entirely different game.
No Age Restrictions
The best thing about board games is that they don’t have age restrictions.
You don’t want a game that will lock out some members of the family.
You also don’t want to buy several different games for different members based on their age.
Very few categories of games are age-neutral yet beneficial as board games.
The Cost Advantage
If you are looking for a cheap game that can double as a hobby for a family, go for a board game.
An average board game costs anything in the region of $20 – $45.
Real video games (let’s put aside smartphone-grade types), on another hand, take a lot of resources to develop and publish.
That’s why publishers often price them quite highly – anything in the north of $70 a unit.
The real pain is not in the acquisition of video games themselves but in buying a console.
Microsoft’s Xbox Series S is retailing at $300 while SONY’s PS5 is priced at $400.
Those are exorbitant price tags.
Another thing – a board game won’t leave you feeling the need to upgrade or keep up with rapid releases from the same publisher.
Other Reasons For Board Games As A Hobby
There are many other reasons (besides cooperation and cognitive benefits) why board games would be a better hobby for your family.
You may have realized that most of us spend a lot of time staring at smartphones.
In the age of Tik Tok and lifelike video games, it’s becoming harder to get your pre-teens focused on anything constructive.
Board games can be an excellent replacement for video games and social media.
Video games are often designed to be addictive rather than educative. Often, you will play against the computer, something that makes them more immersive.
Board games, on another hand, are less addictive because they are designed around competition or problem-solving.
So, if you have been thinking of getting your family’s eyeballs off those flickering screens, take the family out and shop for decent board games together.
In summary, playing board games is a great family hobby but you need to have a few rules in place. Board games can be an excellent replacement for video games and social media.
Researchers praise them, especially Chess, for boosting cognitive skills in both adults and youngsters.
They are also cheaper to acquire and less addictive, two qualities that make them even better than video games.