For a while the idea of playing board games was a nonstarter for many teenagers and students. The rise of the internet in households, followed by mp3 players, and tablets, and so on relegated board games into the realm of uncool.
They’re low-tech. They don’t have fun ringtones. They don’t alert you every time somebody passively likes a photo you shared.
Until a few years ago. After the newness and initial luster of now commonplace technology had worn off, teens and young adults have searched for something more. In many ways, technology connects us more than we had ever imagined. But in other ways, it has failed miserably at bringing us closer.
To be clear, it’s not about tech-vs-nontech activities. There are benefits to both, and we’ll save the crotchety diatribe for others who are better suited to the cause. We’re here to talk about how playing board games benefits teen students and young adults.
In their formative years, when social acceptance and clique formations dominate their psyche, forming and strengthening bonds is hugely critical to future success. Board games, the primitive, non-technical passtimes actually offer much to players of all ages.
Notable Benefits to Teens
- Competitiveness. The world is a competitive place. Most people are not by nature competitive beings in career environments. But playing games allows, and encourages people to be competitive, without the risk of losing anything of value.
- Collaboration. On the flip side of the coin, some games encourage you to be collaborative with other players, even as you’re competing with them. This is a tremendous skill set that teaches you how to identify opportunities and persuade others to join your cause. Imagine the power of instilling this concept in more young people!
- Interpersonal Communication. Whether the game rules dictate communication is a moot point; being around other people, sharing a physical space, all but demands interaction with one another. Communication is a soft skill that most employers today wish students were better at, and regularly playing board games can be one way to help achieve that skill.
- Critical Thinking. In board games that require some level of strategy (think Settlers of Catan or some Entrepreneur Board Games), you must think critically about the situation at hand, examine the potential pros and cons of your next moves, and understand how others work to gain leverage by limiting yours. Again, these skills translate directly to the business world.
- Fun. Playing board games is fun! What a simple concept! Unless you’re forced by your parents in some type of punishment to play a game with your siblings, it’s hard to imagine playing board games doesn’t bring about some joy.