What are the health benefits of a board game night?

Board Game Health Benefits

Unplugging and enjoying a good card or board game could come with mental and social benefits.

By Barrett White

Board game sales are up and it’s easy to see why. More and more, people are unplugging and enjoying the familiar comforts of tabletop board games. As we break into 2023, it only becomes clearer each day that our world is hyperconnected: perhaps this is why taking a few hours away from it all to physically connect with friends and family over a whodunnit or cooperative strategy game can feel so freeing.

What makes a game night so special?

Board games can help build life skills

For the children, teens, and young adults in your family, strategizing together can help build skills in decision making, problem solving, and handling of mistakes. This may be especially true with game nights involving multiple generations, like a family game night with grandparents and kiddos, as everyone learns from one another while working toward a common goal.

Making connections was never this much fun

Plan less, play more: Our busy lives often lead to prolonged periods between meetups with friends and family. If we focus less on dinner reservations and waiting for holidays, and instead focus on sitting down and opening a game, the pressure to plan the perfect gettogether is gone – sometimes we just have to open the box and start playing.

Strategy can stave off dementia

According to the CDC, of those at least 65 years of age, there were an estimated 5 million adults with dementia in 2014 and a projected 14 million by 2060. A recent study out of France hypothesized that a possible beneficial effect of board game playing could be lower rates of dementia in elderly players. Learning the rules of a new game – and then strategizing your plays – could be enough to keep the mind active in your golden years.

Board games make for an excellent stress release

Sure, Monopoly can make a heart race as your thimble passes another player’s row of hotels. But ultimately, another recent study found that these games not only quell stress, but that the laughter enjoyed by participants can boost serotonin, “the happy hormone” that helps against anxiety and depression.

Perhaps it’s time to dust off the old family board games or head to your local thrift store, Target, or Walmart to pick up one you’ve never played before. Enjoy your unplugged time and have some fun with your children, friends, or an older family member – or some combination of all of them! Whatever your reason for an unplugged game night might be, board games can provide much more than just an hour or two of entertainment, so remember to have fun and soak up all of the benefits they have to offer.