Social benefits of Board Games

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Mobile phones have made people technologically advanced but socially deprived. Perhaps, that is why people are shifting their focus again to group activities like playing board games, outdoor games, or party games. The board games have all that it takes to make people socially responsive. Amongst various advantages, the board games deliver benefits like ease of teaching social scripts to children, inculcating ego management, and adherence to civil norms among grown-ups.

How exactly board games can help in building social skills? Let’s try to understand through this post, in which we intend to cover:

  1. Use of Board Games in developing different skills
  2. Examples of board games that help develop social skills
  3. How to use board games to make people socially intelligent and responsive

1. Use of board games in developing different skills

Board games have caught the attention of health, education, and social skills researchers because of the sheer effectiveness these deliver. Listed here are some crucial findings that advocate the use of board games in the development of various skills:

  • Some board games require doing activities on repeat. These improve brain plasticity.[1]
  • Children can increase their concentration levels as board games require them to keep their eyes on the aim and to focus on all activities happening during the gameplay. It helps improve working memory and enables longer retention of instructions.
  • If you want to teach children to wait for their turns, to follow rules, and work within a structured set of guidelines, board games offer a collaborative solution.
  • Adults find the best icebreakers in board games. All members of a team can understand everybody’s attitude towards solving problems, the tendency to lead, etc. by playing together in pairs or groups. Thus, board games can help promote teamwork.
  • Board games having educational utility help develop language learning skills in people of all ages.
  • Board games can teach us to stay patient and to stick to rules.
  • Some of the board games can help vent out bottled up emotions like anger and frustration.

Looking at these observations-backed benefits, the users can effortlessly appreciate the teaching abilities of board games. Further, the researchers support this premise and offer added conviction in the use of board games as teaching and training interventions. Let’s explore some interesting examples of board games that promote social skills development while providing other benefits.

2. Examples of board games that help develop social skills

Sharing, caring, socializing, leading the group and following discipline, etc. indicate social intelligence among human beings. The use of board games can develop a better understanding of social commitments, responsibilities and brings lucidity in the way of dealing with interpersonal matters. Some of the effective board games that promote social skills are:

  • Empathy: Around 150 real-life situations are presented in this board game. Players roll the dice and answer certain questions given in the slot reached. For example, how do you feel, what would you do in that situation, why that thing matters, are some of the questions that help kindle socio-emotional attitudes in a person.
  • Feelings Uno: This game contains various color-coded cards. Moderators can guide players about color’s association with various emotions, such as green for happiness, blue for sadness, etc. When the cards are dealt, players share their color and the incident when they felt that emotion associated with the color.
  • Sorry: The player rolls the dice and move their pawns. Those pawns that reach an already-occupied slot beat the predecessor. As a result, that opponent’s pawn is to go back to the starting point. Though difficult to do, accepting defeat and learning to manage egos are the outcomes of this board game.
  • Operation: Anticipation is not easy to handle especially your actions incite bad responses from the receiver. The challenge of not disturbing the morphology of a subject while removing pieces does two wonderful things to your mental abilities. First, it helps you think of ways to do things with a more constructive approach. Secondly, it prepares you to be responsible for your actions, and think of ways to control the damage if things go wrong.

3. How to use board games to make people socially intelligent and responsive

If normal people learn to open up, share, and express thoughts or emotions through board games, people with autistic behavior or other conditions can use these for therapeutic benefits. Some effective ways board games can be employed to develop social intelligence are:

  • Roleplay Intervention: By using board games as roleplay interventions, the players develop an understanding of situations and an empathetic attitude. They can stimulate the brain to think of solutions for various situations.
  • Body language development tool: Behavioral training experts can employ board games to guide people with limited abilities to express themselves freely but within limits of the social construct.
  • Teamwork enhancement support: In the corporate training programs, the guides or mentors can introduce board games as group activity enablers. They can make teams and direct them to develop a culture of cooperation and a unified approach by indulging them in board game activities.
  • Social script development tool: Several board games come with action cue-cards and conditions which create situations for learners to speak, act, or express. By encouraging players to think and act based on their understanding, and by guiding them to use socially acceptable language and terms, the mentors can instill confidence in learners while dealing with matters of daily importance.
  • Useful as response encouragement: Gameplays of certain board games compel participants to give appropriate responses, bodily reactions, and responses of both verbal and non-verbal nature. One of the direct impacts will be an improvement in communication skills. Participants can present themselves as confident individuals who can put across their point straightforwardly.

To sum up,

Board games are a great teacher provided you play them with ample mindfulness. Their unlimited scope of guidance and ability to abreast people with real-life situations make them a perfect enabler of social intelligence and responsiveness in the users. Think of using these as learning/guiding companion when you are looking for a meaningful solution for developing social skills.


[1] Cognition through the lifespan: mechanisms of change.Craik FI, Bialystok, 2006

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