8 Mental Benefits of Playing Board Games

Dr. Ankit Sharma, PhD

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Mental Benefits of Playing Board Games

So, what’s your favorite game? PUBG? Need For Speed? Angry Birds? Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed? Entertaining and good-looking these games may be, but they offer minimal Mental Benefits. Yes, sometimes they sharpen your ability to make split-second decisions. But that’s all. Not all levels or episodes of those games hone your analytical abilities, which board games can.

One of our favorite pastimes is playing board games with loved ones to relax and create memories. Depending on the particular game being played and the atmosphere in the group, they may be uplifting and energizing or cathartic and calming.

However, did you know that having fun with family and friends while playing board games has real health benefits? Research has indeed connected playing board games to several advantages for psychological health, such as lowered stress levels, a lower chance of Alzheimer’s disease, enhanced cognitive performance, and more.

Some Compelling Benefits of Board Games

1. Improves Cognitive Function

Playing board games and using strategy and problem-solving techniques may bring Mental Benefits. A lot of board games, including Settlers of Catan and chess, require players to plan, think through their movements, and predict what their opponents will do. This kind of mental training may enhance one’s capacity for remembering, focusing, and making decisions.

The use of memory is another method that board games might enhance cognitive performance. Memory and recall skills may be enhanced by playing games that challenge players to memorize the positions of several pieces or cards, such as memory match games or concentration exercises.

Furthermore, a lot of board games have some element of chance and luck, which helps enhance cognitive flexibility.

2. Decreased Stress

It doesn’t need to be said how important it is to have constructive coping strategies for stressful situations. One of the Benefits of Board Games is that playing board games is a great method to maintain mental stability. Science has confirmed this.

Engaging in board games may serve as an excellent means of de-stressing and diverting attention from everyday concerns, including jobs, relationships, money, and more. Engaging in enjoyable gaming with your preferred companions might cause your concentration and attention to move from tensions to the game, offering a momentary reprieve.

Furthermore, playing board games may provide one with a feeling of contentment and success. A game’s sense of accomplishment or advancement may improve mood and self-worth, which in turn helps lower stress levels.

Additionally, socializing with loved ones can improve your mood even more. Board game evenings provide an environment where you can just let your thoughts wander and spend quality time with like-minded folks.

Playing board games may provide individuals with a secure and non-threatening method to communicate who they are and how they are feeling. This is particularly helpful for those who find it hard to express themselves vocally.

3. They Enhance Inhibition, Adaptability, And Short-Term Memory

Other studies from the University of Lleida’s Department of Neuropsychology, Genes, and Environment suggest that playing contemporary board games might improve other cognitive skills.

Examples include short-term memory, mental flexibility (needed to switch between activities, for example), and inhibition (the capacity to control our behavior when required). The elderly, minors in danger of social isolation, and minors with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) all benefited from these services.

4. Elderly People at Lower Risk of Alzheimer’s or Dementia

Sharpening one’s thinking is one of the most potent Mental Benefits of board games, especially for older players. Playing board games regularly may reduce the chance of developing terrible diseases like dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Playing board games is one cognitively stimulating activity that may help slow down cognitive decline and lower the chance of getting age-related illnesses like dementia or Alzheimer’s, according to research. Delaying the development of dementia may be achieved by keeping the mind busy and engaged via games like chess, checkers, and crossword puzzles.

Similar to this, playing board games may help people with dementia retain their social networks, which is important in avoiding the disease. Engaging in gaming activities with loved ones may enhance social support and provide a feeling of success.

5. They Prevent Cognitive Deterioration and Enhance Verbal Fluency

Modern board and card games enhance verbal fluency, according to a study from the University of Lleida (Spain) that was published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry in 2020. They could also be a useful technique to help the elderly retain some cognitive abilities while also halting their decline.

Collaborating with colleagues from the Mental Health Network Biomedical Research Centre (CIBERSAM) and the Valdecilla Biomedical Research Centre (Cantabria), the researchers conducted their study. They also partnered with specialists from the Comtes Urgell home in Balaguer and the AFIM21 Association in Almería.

Two trials with forty-nine 65-year-old volunteers in good health were used for the investigation. They were all enrolled in adult education programs. For five weeks, they attended 90-minute sessions every two weeks with psychologists who specialize in treating the elderly, known as psycho-gerontologists.

6. Wonderful Way to Bond with Family and Friends

Organizing a board game night is a fantastic idea if you and your friends need a reason to get together. Additionally, it’s a terrific opportunity to bring your kids out of their rooms and spend some quality time with the family.

Board games are something that the whole family and/or group of friends can enjoy, unlike other activities you may do together, such as watching a movie or sporting event, going for a walk, having dinner and drinks, or anything else. Board games have no age restrictions and no physical limitations.

It may help bridge the gap between the young and the elderly. They transcend generations. Establishing this as a custom will improve your interactions with both family and friends.

7. Enhances Creativity

One of the Benefits of Board Games is that they enhance your creativity. While a lot of board games instruct you in problem-solving and critical thinking, others foster creativity and open up neural pathways you may not have even realized existed! For individuals who want to push their creative limits, there are plenty of board games available.

Take role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, for example. When hosting a Dungeons & Dragons setting, you need to create a compelling and enjoyable narrative for your character or the campaign as a whole. Several highly popular tabletop role-playing games provide comparable features. Different kinds of games compel players to use their imaginations.

8. They Promote Socialization

The socializing benefits of board games are another Mental Benefit. Playing with others puts us in touch with them, allows us to share ideas and tactics, and ultimately fosters social interaction.

This is how our brains like to “work,” since it compels them to employ empathy and an open mind. For instance, by having to comprehend and listen to others. Not to mention the advantages of interacting with others and making new friends.

Some Popular Board Games Worldwide

Like several Mental Benefits of board games, thousands of board games can be found worldwide. Let’s have a look at them:

Chess: The history of chess is still up for debate. Before the sixth century CE, there was no reliable evidence that chess existed in a form similar to the game we play today. Since then, game pieces discovered in Pakistan, China, India, Central Asia, Russia, and other places that are older than that are thought to have originated from previous, distantly similar board games, which often used dice and sometimes had playing boards with 100 or more squares.

A war game known as chaturanga, which derives from the Sanskrit term for a combat formation found in the Indian epic Mahabharata, was among those early games. With two essential characteristics shared by all subsequent chess variants—different pieces had different powers (unlike checkers and go) and victory depended on a single piece, the king of modern chess—Chaturanga, which was thriving in northwest India by the 7th century, is considered the earliest precursor of modern chess.

Checkers: Checkers, also referred to as draughts, is a class of two-player strategic board games that require leaping over opponent pieces to take points. The game Checkers originated with Alquerque. The game’s checkered board is the source of the name “checkers,” while the verb “draughts” means “to draw” or “to move.”

Scrabble: Words spelled out by letters on the tiles interlock like words in a crossword puzzle in the board game Scrabble, in which two to four players compete to build words using lettered tiles on a 225-square board.


Q: Can I play board games on my mobile device?

A: You can find many board games in the Google Play Store or App Store.

Q: Which is the most popular board game in the world?

A: There are many popular board games worldwide, but chess is unarguably the most popular one. Names of Grandmasters like Garry Kasparov, Viswanathan Anand, Bobby Fischer, and Anatoly Karpov are highly regarded worldwide.

Q: Are board games for lazy people?

A: Not at all. While outdoor games require physical activities, board games require brain work.

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