New Year’s resolutions have become a staple of our culture. At the beginning of each year, we set goals for ourselves on everything from weight loss to better eating habits to less time on Facebook. It’s true that we don’t always do a great job sticking to these resolutions, but sometimes you can make real changes in your life by sticking to it and committing to that goal.
One thing you may not really be thinking about for your resolutions are board games. They’re just a hobby or a way to kill some time. Why would you need to make a resolution about them? Well, I wanted to give you five suggestions that you might want to consider as January 1st rolls around. You might find that these changes will lead to more than just time at the table.
1. Replace a Bad Habit with Board Games
I’ve got a bad habit when it comes to the TV. If I’m in my living room, for some reason my brain is uncomfortable unless it’s on. I eventually find myself viewing hours worth of Netflix, Hulu, or WatchMojo Top 10 lists. Similarly, I might start checking out Facebook or Instagram, and an hour later I sit up, wondering where the time went. At the end of the night my wife and I have barely spoken to each other. This is not good.
Instead of finding the next new show to binge, or trying to catch up on all your YouTube subscriptions (except for One Board Family, or course), why not play a game? Perhaps you can make a resolution that at least one or two nights each week, you will sit down and play games with your family. Maybe even take a special trip to your local board game store and pick out some games together that you’ll be excited to get on the table. However you format your resolution, I bet the time you spend playing games together will be more memorable than the 10 YouTube videos you might have watched instead.
2. Create a 10 x 10 List
Once you’ve decided to start playing games more often, you might choose to use a 10 x 10 list to get yourself organized and motivated. This is where you pick 10 games that you will play 10 times each over the course of the year. The hope is that the repeated plays will lead to better gaming experiences, as you won’t be having to explain rules all the time. In addition, you’re setting yourself up for at least 100 gaming experiences with the same group of folks. You can take the additional step of keeping track of who wins each time so that friendly little rivalries can arise over time.
Using a 10 x 10 list is also a good way to encourage smoother game nights. You see, if you’re like me and are always looking for new gameplay experiences, you end up spending a big chunk of time explaining rules for each game you play. By using a 10 x 10 list, you are able to get right into the action and make sure you get your money’s worth on each of those games.
3. Play Games with New People
I am a fairly outgoing guy. I have a pretty easy time making people laugh, and I often find myself fitting into groups quickly. But sometimes it can be a bit difficult to break the ice with a new group of people. Conversely, it can be difficult to get back on track with people you haven’t seen for a long time, like high school or family reunions. I’ve found myself breaking out board games in recent years to get the dialogue on the fast track. With something like Liar’s Dice in a big group of people, you’re able to get the chatter going quickly and make some pretty cool memories in the process.
Conversely, I’ll be the first to admit that I have very shallow connections with people. I am very good at surface level conversations, but I’m not all that great at getting to know more about people. Most of the time, it’s because I struggle to find a comfortable time and place to ask questions about a person’s life beyond “Hey, how’s it going?” I think a more lengthy board game in a small group of people can serve a purpose in this scenario. As you and someone across the table are waiting on another player to complete a turn, maybe you can strike up a conversation about games they played growing up. Soon you’ll probably be learning something about their family dynamics, where they grew up, what they were like as a child… all from one innocent little question! After just one game, you might be on a much deeper level with a person that was just previously an acquaintance.
4. Play Some of Those Untouched Games on your Shelf
I LOVE shopping for board games. That’s not to say I spend a ton of money on board games – in fact, I almost never pay full price for a game. But I’m always looking for a new gaming experience, and I’m always looking for a sale where I can get my hands on a game that I have been trying to get for a long time. While it’s great to discover a new game that becomes a hit with your family or friends, I often just end up with a shelf full of games that I never play.
Right now, I have at least 20 games that I own that I have never actually played. And yet, I was looking even today at how to get my hands on a few other games. Why do I do this to myself?!?
So this year, one of my resolutions is going to be to play a new game every month that I currently own. I hope that I’ll have some awesome game experiences that I otherwise might have missed. And I hope that I have the self-control to not buy too many other games so that the list actually shrinks instead of grows. Maybe this resolution is just for me, but if you also find yourself with a bunch of games still in the shrink wrap, perhaps you should try to get to some of those in 2018.
5. Give the Gift of a Game to Friends and Family
I love hearing from people about how they bought a game based on one of our recommendations, then had a great time playing it with their families. Ryan, Erin, and I don’t get paid to do any of this – it’s all because we like games a lot, we know how they have brought our families together, and we want to be a resource to others who want to do the same thing.
So maybe you’ve been reading along with our blog for a while now, and maybe you’re one of those people who has had a great time with a game. Well, now it’s time for you to pay it forward. Go out and buy a game as a birthday present instead of another Starbucks gift card. Get a copy of Love Letter or Coup to bring over as a housewarming present instead of a bottle of wine. You don’t have to spend a ton of money (check out our podcast on gaming on a budget for some ideas), but you can give something that helps others to have a good time with games the same way you have.
Well, I hope you’ve got some good ideas that you can use for 2018. Do you have some gaming resolutions in mind for 2018? Let us know in the comments below!