We’re Game… to Have Fun

June 09, 2022 | Blog | Reading Time 3:00 Minutes

“Pass ‘go,’ do not collect $200,” and “Colonel Mustard in the library with a candelabra” are part of an almost universal dialect that crosses generations. Board game playing, which has been traced back more than 5,000 years, is enjoying a resurgence. Playing favorites like Monopoly, Clue, and others is not only a fun pastime; it’s actually beneficial!

The first board games trace their roots to Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia and early games are thought to have revolved around war and racing. The earliest multi-player board game, Mechen, dates back to 2770-2650 BCE. Game pieces were shaped like lions…and perhaps the inspiration for modern-day game pieces such as the figurines used for Dungeons and Dragons.

Statista.com reported that the global market of board games is estimated at $7.2 billion and is forecast to reach $12 billion by 2023. And this was before COVID-19 necessitated individuals and families to spend more time at home, looking for things to keep us busy and entertained.

Assistant Professor Zachary Horton of the University of Pittsburg called the board game phenomenon a ‘renaissance.’ “The interest in board games is a retaliation against the ubiquity of digital media. People are looking for more engaged and social activities as they become more isolated by technology,” said Horton. “People crave that social connection-which makes the genre completely different than video games.”

There are several reasons that board games are so popular today.

  • Board games are cross-generational. Not only that, but they’re universal on a broader scale, transcending not only generations but language, culture, and abilities. In fact, playing games is considered by some to be the original social network.
  • You can play board games at almost any time and practically anywhere.
  • Humanity craves human interaction, even in (or especially in) our digital society.
  • Board games make for great family nights, team building, and bonding.

Benefits of board game playing include:

  • connecting adults to their pasts in a gentle, happy way.•exercising your brain. Game playing is “like yoga for your mind.” It stimulates the area of the brain relating to decision-making, problem-solving, strategic thinking, and memory.
  • teaching you to set goals and be patient.
  • strengthening the bonds with others and fosters cooperation (and competition!)
  • reducing stress, ideally, resulting in laughter.
  • triggering the release of our body’s natural feel-good chemicals, endorphins.

Furthermore, leisure activities such as playing board games are linked to a reduced chance of developing Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.

Some fun facts about playing games include:

  • The act of playing games is so popular that it’s become a verb…’ gaming.’
  • Games are now included either as a theme or just an available opportunity at trendy restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops.

There are opportunities to participate in board game programs in our Delaware Area. The Delaware Board Games Alliance is the umbrella group for related MeetUps in New Castle County. The Delaware County Libraries also offer board game events.

Here at Foulk Living, game playing is a great way to hang out with your fellow residents, engage in some friendly competition and have some laughs. Our activities calendar includes Bingo, trivia, word scramble, and various card games.

As the wise Benjamin Franklin once said, “We do not stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.”