It was once feared that the digitized beeps and buzzing of early video games would sound the death knell for the humble board game. Yet a full 60 years after the invention of Tennis For Two, a prototype version of ‘70s classic Pong and the world’s first video game; board games are going stronger than ever.
Just like their digital counterparts, board games have evolved and grown more sophisticated. Just like video games they have mainstream appeal while also knowing how to service their dedicated niche of hardcore players. However, although video games enjoy mainstream success they still lack the ubiquity or sense of social occasion that their tabletop counterparts enjoy. While both video and board games can make for fun and meaningful family activities here are some reasons why board games will always have the inside track…
Board games encourage imagination
While there exists a thriving scene of indie games that are chock full of imagination, originality and genuine intelligence, it’s sad to see that they’re habitually nudged out of the way with big budget, highly polished low-to-no concept games that are either franchise cash-ins or “more of the same” sequels. Board games tend not only to have more imaginative mechanics and concepts but they encourage imagination in their players.
Young kids especially thrive on opportunities to use their imagination and in so doing they are able to engage more meaningfully with the game. There is no 4k Ultra HD super powerful graphics card that can scratch the boundlessness of the human imagination. There are also games that engender creativity and creative problem solving far more meaningfully than any video game.
Video games are getting crazy expensive
Remember that time not so long ago when video games were vaguely affordable? Not only could you buy them without needing a microloan, when you bought them you paid for them once… just once. With the creation of DLC, an entire industry realized that they could carry on milking the players for money with in-game purchases to give them the “real” version of the game. While a lot of board games have expansion packs or add-ons and the playing of something like Magic The Gathering or Yu Gi Oh is as much an exercise in collecting as it is in playing, board games tend to be far more comprehensive at point of purchase than many of their mainstream digital counterparts that require an “Ultimate” or “Deluxe” version at nearly double the price. There are plenty of fantastic games that fall below $20 that will be played around your table for years.
Board games are better for social development
Table top games since the beginning have required engagement not just with the game itself but with fellow players. This necessitates social interaction and a sense of camaraderie (even among opponents) that can be lacking in video games. Being able to interact with your opponent across the table is something that no online game can offer. Even setting aside the shockingly poor sportsmanship and etiquette that plagues online gaming, board games are more formative and make for a more meaningful shared experience. Families will continue to remember the epic game night that took place long after the third iteration of the latest triple-A video game hits store shelves.