Episode 371 – Why Play Games?

Episode 371 - Why Play Games?
Episode 371 - Why Play Games?

It’s been six years since we devoted a podcast to this topic. So let’s revisit: Why should you play games with your kids?

Why do we (still) play games with our kids?

371 fact

Frank Rubio – 371 consecutive days in space!

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What We’ve Been Playing

Unmatched: Slings and Arrows – Hamlet doesn’t feel great.
Paper App Dungeon
Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age

April Monthly Report

Andrew: 41 plays, 22 unique games. H-index: 3 (Trio: 10 times! and Flashback: Lucy, Compile, Tapple 10)
Over 50% of games played in April were in the first week, on our work-related trip. “74 players” (although some were double-counted). Lots of games at 4 or 5 players this month!

Anitra: 69 plays, 33 unique games. H-index: 4 (Sherlock Solitaire, Trio, Tapple 10, Anomia, Flashback: Lucy, Palm Island).
32% of all games played in April were on that first weekend.

Tapple 10

SNAP Review – Tapple 10

This “little brother” to Tapple is just as fun, and a lot more portable. Just a small box of double-sided cards and a 15-second timer. Saying there are ten games in the box is a bit of a stretch; but there are multiple fun ways to play.

Watch the video or read the transcript of our review.

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Why Do We Play Games?

We last talked about this specifically all the way back in episode 104. (Also the first podcast that included a SNAP review!)

1. Because it’s fun!

This reason hasn’t changed. Why wouldn’t you want to do something fun with your family?

2. Board games are a safe place to experiment.

Board games allow kids to fail in a safe environment. They can create antagonism or challenges that don’t exist after the game is put away.

You can even flip roles and let kids be in charge in the game, or allow them a chance to be better than their parents. Maybe even “beat up” Mom or Dad!

3. A board game is an activity everyone can enjoy together, any time of year.

We have a six year age gap between our oldest and youngest kid, and a lot of different interests. Playing a well-chosen board game levels the playing field and allows everyone to have fun.

Sports and outdoor activities are great, but it’s hard to adjust them so that family members at different physical abilities can all enjoy them. And they’re usually weather-dependent; hard to allow for that in New England where it’s sunny one day and freezing the next.

4. Games are active, not passive.

Watching a movie can make for family bonding, but you have to work at it. But board games require you to interact with the game and (usually) with each other.

Board games let you learn by doing. Skills like being a gracious loser (see Four Ways to Help a Sore Loser) get better with practice. Anitra observes that online video games encourage poor sportsmanship around winning and losing unless you actively work against it.

5. Games offer a window into other players’ thoughts.

Board games are about connecting with people. We have been more intentional about playing games one-on-one with our kids in the past few years. Especially with preteens and teenagers, it makes it easier for them to open up about things they think are important.

“Sometimes the board game is the least important thing happening while you’re playing a board game.”

It’s incredibly rare to have inter-generational experiences that come naturally. Board games do that for us.

If you have teens or young adults, we recommend playing board games with their close friends or prospective boyfriends/girlfriends, too. It provides so much insight into how these friends treat other people – like parents and siblings.

But this only works if playing board games is already normal for your family!

6. Board games are a great way to explore YOUR kid’s interests.

They love to explore nature? There are lots of games for that.

We’ve got a kid who loves Greek mythology, so we play a lot of Santorini, Fight for Olympus, and Horrified: Greek Monsters.

Another kid loves Star Wars? Yeah, we’ll play Star Wars games if that will get them to the table.

We’ve already talked about how our daughter loves anything with dragons.

7. Board games are educational. Even games that aren’t “educational”.

We recommend The Game Schooler Podcast to learn more about the kinds of skills that games can teach and reinforce.

8. Combat social anxiety! Encourage kids to interact with adults in a safe, non-threatening way!

One of our favorite things about going to small conventions is seeing our kids interact with other adults and play games together.


If you could sit down and play anything, what game would YOUR family play?

Answer in the Facebook community or on Discord.

Anitra’s answer: Quacks of Quedlinburg (it’s a game that all five family members enjoy and will agree to!)
Andrew’s answer: Anomia Tongue Twisters (Go get it for free!)

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or join the Family Tabletop Community on Discord! thefamilygamers.com/discord

Or, for the most direct method, email us! andrew@thefamilygamers.com and anitra@thefamilygamers.com.

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