Family Games

Written by Michael O'Brien
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One of the best ways to enjoy spending time together as a group is through family games. Like most people in America, I grew up playing some classic games with my family, like Life or Monopoly. When I got older, games like Trivial Pursuit and Risk became favorite pastimes. Today, my wife and I own over 50 board games. You could say that family games are a bit of an obsession with us.

Family Games: Quality Together Time

One of the biggest benefits of family games is the way in which they bring people together. The process of cooperation and competition creates a social bonding process so that people enjoy spending time together. Board games are also a great ice breaker at parties for the same reason. Strangers get to know one another really quickly when they work together, compete, and have great fun in the process.

Besides bringing people together socially, board games are also a great way to learn more about your friends. Take a game like Loaded Questions for example. In it, the person whose turn it is asks a question of the group. "What is your least favorite television program?", for example. Everyone writes down their answers, and someone else reads the answers out loud. It's then up to the person whose turn it is to guess who said what. It's a great way to test how well you know the people you are playing the game with, and to learn more about them.


Other games, like Risk, create intrigue and call for strategy from the players. For those unfamiliar with it, Risk requires the players to use armies of troops they have under their command to occupy and conquer as many countries as they can. Some of these countries are empty, and some are already occupied by another player.

Three players are best with Risk. When one person starts to get too powerful, it's within the interests of the other two players to team up against that person. Once they have gotten rid of the competition, then it's time for a little good natured back stabbing.


Scientific studies (and just plain common sense) show that board games that require interaction and strategy are excellent ways to develop social skills and make for great thinking exercises. Many family games have a time limit that requires players to think quickly as well. This is an excellent skill to develop as fast decision making is something that will serve a child well into adulthood.

Along the lines of developing certain thought processes, games like Acquire were created precisely with this idea in mind. The skills and thinking processes needed for this game utilize the same basic principles found in real investing and business practices. Preparation for the real world is one of the most important benefits of board games.

Don't Forget the Most Important Part

We can talk all day about how family board games help bring people together, develop social skills, and create valuable thinking exercises. Let's not forget the most important aspect of a game, though: Fun! The satisfaction of guessing correctly, or knowing the answer, or coming up with the right strategy, and ultimately winning is where the fun and real value of family games lies.

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