When I was a kid my friends and I used spend hours playing board games. Monopoly, Life, Trouble, and Risk were just a few. So many wonderful memories came from this time in my life. This was also the beginning of console gaming. If someone had one of the new consoles, like Atari, ColecoVision or an Intellivision we spent as much time as we could on these games, but they were limited by parents that didn’t want us staring at a television all day. This new form of entertainment did take us away from going outside or playing board games, but not completely. We still made time for other games and weren’t locked into a screen.. Video Games continued to flourish and for a long long time board games died off quite a bit. They were still around, but everyone wanted to play the new video game. The video game became the focus and keeper of everyone’s attention. That’s right everyone. It wasn’t just the kids that wanted to play, but many adults also started down the path of digital entertainment. As I got older, computer games consumed countless hours of my life. The games got better and more addicting and like many others I couldn’t wait to get home to log in and start playing. Even though I was making online friends I was neglecting real human contact and the ability to have normal interactions. Many instances arose where I turned down opportunities to venture out, because I was too busy playing a video game. With the advent of the smartphone, this phenomenon got worse. As I walk around today I see just about everyone with their heads down immersed in their phones. I think most people today would have withdrawal symptoms if this technology was taken away. Although technology can be a wonderful thing it can also have negative side effects. It makes me wonder if humans will evolve into being with a hunched neck and eyes that will be able to focus on two different things at once so always one eye can be on their technology.
In the past several years, I do think the human spirit has begun to fight back. Board games have made a huge resurgence in people’s lives. There are hundreds, if not thousands of incredible board games available to consumers. So why board games and why did this happen? I think something was missing from people’s lives that board games, card games and roll playing games gave them, a sense of community, friendship and togetherness. Contact with other real human beings and the ability to be social are huge aspects in everyday life. A few years ago I reluctantly began playing Dungeons and Dragons again. I hadn’t played in decades and it was something that I loved as a kid. I forgot how much fun it was and how much fun I used to have pretending to be someone else. This turned into a weekly ritual and get together with a small group of friends. We didn’t always play Dungeons and Dragons, sometimes we would play board games. We started buying a huge variety of board games that we saw on the show TableTop, with Wil Wheaton. I have the board game library to prove it. At the time I never really realized how many board games were available, but I am sure glad I said yes to playing Dungeons and Dragons again. It has made me some incredible friends and it has created some wonderful memories.
So I ask again, why board games? I am not asking you to give up technology or video games, but give board games a try. There is enough time for both and you will be surprised at what might come from it. Board games have a way of bringing friends and family together and building bonds and memories that will last a lifetime.