Has COVID-19 got you feeling restless and itching for some mental stimulation? According to CNBC, the board game industry has seen a massive resurgence in recent years and as folks worldwide remain confined to social isolation, Forbes reports that board game sales are soaring. As stay-at-home orders remain in effect for most areas, we’ve rounded up the best board games to help keep your brain in tiptop shape so you can stay sharp under lockdown.
Created in India over 500 years ago, Chess is one of the world’s most popular strategy games. According to chess-site.com, partaking in a match fuels dendrite growth, exercises both sides of the brain and is said to increase IQ. A study conducted in Venezuela involving 4,000 students found that four months of chess instruction actually increased the students’ IQ scores. So if you’re hoping for improvement in areas like concentration and focus, planning and foresight, and logical thinking, pick up a set and start strategizing.
This classic real estate board game has players buying and selling pieces of property. Whoever cashes in the highest pot at the end is declared the winner. Philip E. Orbanes, author of Monopoly, Money, and You: How to Profit from the Game’s Secrets of Success, insists that capitalism isn’t the only lesson you’ll learn by rolling the dice, explaining that playing Monopoly teaches important life lessons, too. According to Orbanes, some Monopoly take away’s include:
- “To ‘win’ in life, you need to think like a game player. Establish your goals and, before making any decision, ask the following question: Will it bring me closer to my goals, or will it cause me to veer off course?”
- “Monopoly teaches the necessity to invest in order to grow your savings. And also to wisely spread your investments (diversification) in the event one choice does not turn out as you anticipated.”
- “You must keep enough cash handy to pay for typical setbacks in the game, and in life.”
Settlers of Catan
A multiplayer strategy board game in which participants attempt to become the dominant force in Catan through the gathering of resources to build cities, settlements, and roads, skills like resource management, decision-making, probability and risk management are put to the test. Furthermore, a player can rarely win a game of Settlers of Catan without bartering with other players to trade for the resources that they need, so this is the place to improve negotiation skills as well.
Simple deductive reasoning skills are at the forefront in this classic game of “whodunnit?” While players try to figure out the three main facets of a murder (who, where and how), they must use deductive reasoning to narrow down the list of suspects, the most likely murder location, and the possible weapons. According to The Examiner, Clue has been used to teach propositional logic and computer programming to college students.
A popular series of cooperative board games, teamwork is required as players work together to find cures for diseases that threaten to wipe out mankind (sound familiar?). As players coordinate their actions to stop a global pandemic, all participants will have to discuss strategy and options together. If everyone does their part, the world is saved and all the players win.