Centuries before Mario, Donkey Kong, and that nameless guy from Paperboy burst onto the scene, people enjoyed sitting down to play games that required a little less eye-thumb coordination and a little more social interaction. Nowadays, it seems that advanced technology has made some old-fashioned practices obsolete: greeting card companies are hurting big-time because people prefer to email, text, or Tweet, and printed newspapers and magazines are losing popularity as smartphones and tablets become ubiquitous. So, just as video killed the radio star, do video games mean the end of classic board games like Monopoly, Candy Land, and Scrabble, as well as the development of new ones? We don’t think so! Read more about why we think board games are here to stay.
It’s definitely cool that you can compete with other video game enthusiasts whenever you want—somewhere in the world, there’s someone awake and eager to kick your butt. But there’s something to be said for sitting at a table with friends and playing a game that requires in-person socializing. Making eye contact, hearing laughter, exchanging witty banter, sharing snacks and drinks—you just can’t replicate all of that with a gaming system or online game. In fact, some of the games we play online tend to be reserved for periods of time when we’re feeling lonely, bored, and in the mood to procrastinate (think some of those Facebook-based games, which you may find yourself playing on your phone at 3 AM.) Board games can encourage conversation and help to build a stronger bond of friendship between players. And we’re hoping that humanity never reaches the point where online interaction trumps in-person get-togethers.
Everyone knows that video games are expensive, and board games usually less so. But a cheaper price tag is only one aspect of the excellent value of board games. You simply can’t put a price on social interaction (see our previous point!), and, unlike some video games, tabletop games offer an unlimited number of replays. If you’re hosting a gaming party in your home, it’s likely that a few board games will offer more guests the opportunity to play at one time than your video game system will—you’re not limited by one TV or a handful of controllers. And if you’re a parent, we’re betting you have more enthusiasm for the idea of your children playing an educational tabletop game together than gazing at a TV screen for hours on end.
As you can see, tabletop games offer some distinct benefits that video games don’t. But they also offer many of the same great qualities that video games do, like beautiful, original artwork, challenging puzzles, and engrossing narratives. If one of your favorite parts of playing an epic video game quest is bonding with the characters and getting lost in the plot, you don’t necessarily have to sacrifice that when you play a board game. When you find one that really appeals, you may have serious issues dragging yourself away from it!
No matter how many technological advances we as a society make, some “old-fashioned” things will always feel good. You’ve probably heard someone say that reading from a tablet or e-book reader just doesn’t feel as good as holding a real book, turning its pages, and smelling its paper. It’s simply not the same experience. That’s how we feel about fun, engaging board games. And we’re almost positive that you will, too.