how board games help your brain

How board games help your brain

Sure, board games are a lot of fun.

But perhaps you’re wondering how board games help your brain?

Today I’ll go through several ways board games can be good for your brain, whether you are a kid or an adult.

Let’s dive in.

Board games stimulate learning and memory

Obviously it can take quite a bit of work to learn a new board game.

Personally, I don’t really like those games that take all day long to learn. If it takes several hours to learn the rules… I’d rather play something that’s faster. Like Uno. 🙂 Or even Othello.

But those types of progressive, complex games are pretty popular. And there’s a lot you have to learn before you can even play them!

Maybe you’ve heard about how doing crossword puzzles can potentially help you ward off Alzheimer’s. The idea is that it stimulates your brain and forces you to make new connections between brain cells.

The same thing would surely be true of board games as well. There is so much learning and so many memory formations that it is a great way to activate your brain. Kind of like learning Spanish or another new language.

And it’s probably good for people who are getting older and potentially at risk for Alzheimer’s.

Board games help you learn to cooperate and work as a team

A lot of board games require you to cooperate or work together in some fashion. Even if you’re not on the same team, you might have to make trades, or have some other sort of negotiation.

Monopoly is a good example.

This can be especially good for children or teenagers, and helps them learn the value of teamwork.

It is also good for your relationship with the other people involved, such as friends or family members.

Anything that involves complex communication is good for developing your interpersonal communication skills. And that’s one of the things that’s really lacking these days, because everybody is glued to their phone and forgets how to communicate in real life. Or something like that. 😉

Board games help develop emotional stability

You know how when you lose a board game (or any game), it’s tempting to be sulky or angry.

You can be mad at the other players because they beat you, even if they just won fair and square.

This is a common problem for kids, who haven’t really learned how to be a good sport yet. When they lose, they might throw a tantrum.

So playing board games is a good opportunity for people to learn how to win OR lose gracefully.

In other words, they can learn to put things in perspective, and not to gloat when they win, or be too depressed when they lose. Just keep plugging along, and live to play another day.

I’ve noticed I was not very good at this as a kid. But I’ve gotten a lot better at it as an adult. Now when I lose a game, I don’t make too big of a deal out of it, and usually don’t dwell on it for very long.

Instead, I just congratulate the person who won, and kind of move on.

Does playing board games make you smarter?

In some ways, it probably does.

That’s mainly because you have to use a lot of logic and strategy to kind of put things together.

There can also be a lot of math, statistics, or other patterns to think about.

For example, when I play a card game called “progressive rummy”, there are some rounds where you have to form multiple sets and runs at the same time. And this can get really complicated.

So it gives me some really interesting things to think about, in terms of how to organize my cards, and how to strategize the best.

Whether that carries over into real life so to speak, that’s an open question. But I find that it does sharpen my mental abilities, and I suspect that is helpful in other areas of life as well.

Another good example would be a game called Ricochet Robots. That’s because it requires 100% focus and attention, which is good for sharpening your ability to focus.

Similarly, a card game like Bang! requires paying attention pretty consistently so you can figure out who’s likely to be on your team.

Which board game helps your brain the most?

Even though I don’t really like complex games that take forever to learn, I have to admit these types of games may be the most beneficial for your brain.

That’s because there are so many different things to keep track of, it forces you to assimilate a lot of different information and ultimately use it to form a strategy.

It also facilitates learning how to teach other people, and bring them up to speed.

And if you can explain it to somebody else, that kind of helps you not only learn it better but just be able to synthesize information more effectively in general.

On the other hand, some games with relatively simple rules (like Speed Scrabble for example), can still produce so many different combinations that they force you to think really quickly and creatively. And that may be just as good for your brain as learning a long list of rules for a more complex strategy game.


If you’re wondering how board games can help your brain, there are a lot of different ways!

From sharpening your learning and memory, helping to ward off Alzheimer’s, learning to work as a team, or thinking through strategies and statistics and patterns, the list goes on and on.

You also tend to develop better communication skills when you play board games, as opposed to staring at a screen all day long like most people do these days.

(I won’t name any names…)

And for kids, they can learn other basic skills like colors or numbers. That’s one reason board games are a great activity for the family if you have young children.

Hopefully that provided some beneficial insights. 🙂

Have fun out there, and keep getting smarter!