The Importance of Board Games

board game is a game that involves counters or pieces moved or placed on a pre-marked surface or ”board”, according to a set of rules. Games can be based on pure strategy, chance (e.g. rolling dice) or a mixture of the two, and usually have a goal that a player aims to achieve. Early board games represented a battle between two armies, and most current board games are still based on defeating opposing players in terms of counters, winning position or accrual of points (often expressed as in-game currency).

There are many different types and styles of board games. Their representation of real-life situations can range from having no inherent theme, as with checkers, to having a specific theme and narrative, as with Cluedo. Rules can range from the very simple, as in Tic-tac-toe, to those describing a game universe in great detail, as in Dungeons & Dragons (although most of the latter are role-playing games where the board is secondary to the game, helping to visualize the game scenario).

The amount of time required to learn to play or master a game varies greatly from game to game. Learning time does not necessarily correlate with the number or complexity of rules; some games, such as chess or Go, have simple rule sets while possessing profound strategies.

Psychology Advantages of Board Games

While there has been a fair amount of scientific research on the psychology of older board games less has been done on contemporary board games such as MonopolyScrabble, and Risk. Much research has been carried out on chess, in part because many tournament players are publicly ranked in national and international lists, which makes it possible to compare their levels of expertise.

Board games can be therapeutic. Bruce Halpenny, a games inventor said when interviewed about his game, “With crime you deal with every basic human emotion and also have enough elements to combine action with melodrama. The player’s imagination is fired as they plan to rob the train. Because of the gamble they take in the early stage of the game there is a buildup of tension, which is immediately released once the train is robbed. Release of tension is therapeutic and useful in our society, because most jobs are boring and repetitive.

Linearly arranged board games have been shown to improve children’s spatial numerical understanding. This is because the game is similar to a number line in that they promote a linear understanding of numbers rather than the innate logarithmic one.


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