While the digital world continues to take over most mainstream-entertainment activities, some might find the idea of board games outdated, redundant and ‘lame’. But board games seem to be making a popular come-back, with table-top gaming stores popping up all over the place. Gaming stores are great for anyone who wants to play away from home with friends, both old and new, in a safe and fun space.
Although mobile and online gaming entertainment has been on the rise, researchers say that interaction during board games play a much more positive role in the social development of any individual.
Yes, with some online games you can put on a headset and network with other players, but board games allow you to directly interact with your friends and family while they sit across from you.
"With the huge popularity of electronic forms of entertainment which are mostly enjoyed individually, such as games on the IPad or tablet or Play Station, it is advisable that families rather seek entertainment that is more inclusive of all the family members. This can be an opportunity to get to know one another, learn skills from one another and have enjoyable conversations while playing a game. It will also allow a closer connection or bond to be formed with family members, ultimately an opportunity to laugh and have fun without anyone feeling left out or lonely," says Cape Town based, educational psychologist, Melissa Bothma,
New table-top game stores seem to have resurrected popularity in board games, making board game events a new trend and filling up their stores with eager players of all ages.
Zach Groenewald, owner of one of these game stores, witnesses the growing interest in table-top gaming at his store on a daily basis, while people of all ages, cultures and genders come together to compete, socialize and interact in a safe and fun environment.
“I've personally seen people's social skills improve due to the environment we create. Without naming names, several people have walked in with a social awkwardness. A few years later they act more confidently, they converse comfortably and will sometimes even introduce themselves and strike up a conversation. I've seen a 9-year-old teach a game to grown-ups in her second language, answering questions about rules as she went, with zero nerves. Besides the obvious benefits such as mental arithmetic’s, reading and comprehension, linguistics and problem-solving, there's a definite benefit to social skills.”
Apart from social skills, some researchers say that the educational skills practiced in many board games, can improve a child’s mathematical abilities significantly.
A Cape Town counselor, Kerry Acheson , believes that board games provide excellent social and emotional learning opportunities to younger children.
"Accepting boundaries and structure are also facilitated during board game play, where clear rules are in place. Learning to win and lose graciously are further skills that can be developed during board game play.Board games are fun, and can be great vehicles for relationship-building and quality time.”
What are some of your favourite family board games?