Another thing I love about board games is that you can learn while playing them. Sometimes it can be genuinely interesting facts, other times it’s just putting your game into gear while you work out an incoming move. Ultimately though, you’re always thinking, often learning and always having fun. Take the rather excellent Memoir 44 for example. It’s a genuinely superb board game from Days Of Wonder that reenacts key scenes from the second world war. The manual has a huge number of different scenarios, but the original information about those events are also included. Without realising it you’re soaking up world war 2 history without even realising it. Wrath Of Ashardalon is a lite version of Dungeons & Dragons, but it still teaches you (indirectly admittedly) about fundamental mechanics of the original game, ensuring you’ll have a better idea of play mechanics if you ever step up to a proper RPG night. Tales Of The Arabian Nights is another great example because it teaches you about some of the most famous stories ever told. Admittedly there’s not as much solid information as with Memoir, but it’s a surprising jumping off point, while the included books contain plenty of snatches of information about the famous tales.
Ticket To Ride Europe has done wonders for my daughters’ geography, Wildlife Adventure teaches the importance of endangered animals, while Powergrid has been useful for understanding where some of America’s biggest cities are. And then there are the game mecahnics themselves that require a good memory, and numerous maths solving to solve. I get a real kick when I play games like Agricola and Lords Of Waterdeep with my 11-year old, as you can almost see the cogs whirring around her head, as she mentally works out her next few moves.
Board games are soon as boring and stuff, but they are anything but, even more traditional ones like Monopoly, Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit can genuinly help a number of everyday skills. So next time you sit down for a game of something, have a think about what you’ve just played. Odds are you might have learnt something that will stay with you forever.