Best Board Games Buying Guide
Quite new to the idea of board games? A board game is essentially a game played on top of a flat surface where counters or pieces are place and moved on a marked board. The act of moving the counters depend on the set of rules of the game. Board games may be classified as a game based on strategizing, sometimes with an element of chance thrown in the game, or a game purely based on chance without requiring any skill from the players.
Board games have a goal that a player or a team will aim to achieve. In the earlier times, most board games involve winning a battle against an army. Most board games of the modern days are still based on winning against an opposing player with the use of counters, winning position, or accumulation of points. Some games may be considered role-playing games where the board serves to encourage the players to visualize and imagine the scenario of the game, while some games have no specific theme and narrative. The rules may be as simple as that of Tic-tac-toe or as complex and detailed as that of Dungeons and Dragons. The length of time required to master the set of rules of a game may differ between games, but the time it takes to learn how to play will not necessarily affect the number and complexity of the rules. This is true for games like Go or Chess where the rules are relatively simple yet their strategic depth may be quite great.
A brief history of board games
Board games have actually been around for centuries. It has been played in almost all parts of the world, in most cultures and societies. The oldest board game in history, Senet, is known to have existed 3500 BC and was found in the predynastic burials of Egypt.
In the US, the first board games ever published is the Traveller’s Tour. The year was 1822. In the nineteenth century when the United States was already shifting from agrarian living to urban, the middle class steadily gained access to higher income and greater time for leisure. The home of the Americans were quickly becoming the venue for education along with enlightenment and entertainment. Under the mother's supervision, board games were encouraged among children in order to develop their literacy and social skills as well as to provide them with moral instruction. Moral instructions were taught to children with the help of board games like The Mansion of Happiness. The mid-century saw the United States embrace capitalism. Games that gave focus to secular virtues were published. The Checkered Game of Life, for example, gave rewards to players when they get certain achievements like attending college, getting married or getting rich. Competitive capitalistic games saw an increasing popularity. It was during this time that Monopoly was published.
The period of 1880s to 1920s was deemed to be “The Golden Age” of board gaming in the US, but a decline in the popularity of the activity was seen in the 20th century. In the latter part of the 1990s, there was a substantial growth in the popularity of the hobby. With the rise of the internet, people had more access to information about new games. Finding people to play against also became easier. In 2010, board gaming was said to be having a new Golden Age as board games are being sold to a growing audience worldwide. Board games are making a comeback, thanks to improved graphics and more elegant mechanics of new games that are being made available in the market. This truth can be further seen with the rising popularity of board game venues or cafes in different countries.
A game of luck, strategy or diplomacy
As mentioned earlier, some games depend completely on the skills of the player. Such games include Chess and Go. Games such as Monopoly and Risk involve some level of skill and luck. Adding an element of luck to a strategy game can add more excitement and diversify the strategies that may be played in the game. The skill of considering concepts like expected value and risk management may be developed.
Luck may be introduced by using a number of methods. Such methods include the use of dice, which can date back even to the earliest of board games. Another way of introducing luck is by using a deck of cards that create randomness when shuffled. Other forms include spinners and timers.
Diplomacy is another aspect of a board game. In a board game involving diplomacy, players may make deals and negotiate with one another. This entails convincing another player to deal with you instead of with another opponent, or teaming up with other players to defeat a certain player.
Board games for children often involve pure luck and require no decisions by the players. They are easy to learn and make use of a number of spinners and counters. Most board games for children develop comprehensive skills as well as social skills.
Buying a board game for children
This is a buying guide for children’s board games. We here at ParentsNeeds HQ are believers of board games for children and we would very much like to encourage parents to involve their children in such games. We are here to help you figure out which is the best board game for kids to purchase for you and your children’s enjoyment. First, let us discuss with you the benefits of board games for children and give you some information about the different types of board games.
Bonding over board games with your children could be a fun and educational way to spend time with the whole family. Beyond entertainment, children’s board games can serve to do so much more. Board games help your children develop and improve their verbal and mathematical skills. Education board games for kids also improve your children’s memory, as well as their comprehension. All this learning while you are all having fun, imagine that!
You might think, with the advent of all the advanced gadgets, why not just let the children play online? While video games are quite popular and some board games are now available online as well, playing a real board game, with all its dice, spinners and timers, still serves to teach children key skills that video games normally cannot impart on your kids. Board games can allow for reading and arithmetic practice especially during setting up the game and learning all about the rules. Logical and rational thinking are encouraged. Additionally, the fact that your child will not be staring into his monitor or tablet while playing a fast-paced video game will ensure his development of socialization skills. Children’s board games may be classified as traditional, learning or modern games.
Traditional children’s board games include the likes of operation, chutes and ladders, sorry!, and candy land. This type of board game usually involves a race among players to reach a finish mark. How well a player will progress during the game depends on luck, which may be in the form of a dice or spinners. These elements of the game will usually dictate how many steps a player will take forward or back. Other games promote eye and hand coordination, rewarding the player with points for each successful task. Most traditional board games for children do not require strategizing and rely purely on luck. They are mostly focused on developing socialization skills.
Learning board games for children such as Scrabble promote skills including spelling and mathematical skills. These board games make learning enjoyable and fun. Children are able to pass time in a fun way without even realizing that they are learning tons of things.
Some board games make use of the advancing technology. Modern board games for children are now also available in the market. An example of a modern board game is a DVD game called Scene It? In this game, players are required to answer multimedia trivia questions in order to advance their position on the game board with the goal of being the first to finish the course. The number of steps taken will depend on the number given by a rolled dice.
What are the things to consider when buying a board game for children?
● Easy to learn
The best board game for you and your children should be easy to learn. Reserve the board games with complex sets of rules for the future, when the age of your child is more appropriate. For now, settle with a board game with a simple set of rules that is not hard to learn. Instructions should be clear and direct.
● Easy to set up
The best kind of board game to get is one that is easy to set up. A board game that takes more than a few minutes to set up can prove to be discouraging and may end up being stored away because no one would like to bother bringing it out.
● Easy to clean up
Aside from being easy to set up, a good board game for children is one that is easy to clean up. It should come with a minimum number of props to its kit so that cleaning it up should not be stressful. A good board game is one that is easy to store and one that is easy to maintain. It should be easy to keep track of all the parts that should be present in the board game set. Board games with one too many parts to it may end up useless once one or two pieces get lost.
● Number of players allowed
Most board games for children can accommodate a minimum of two players to a maximum of 6 players per round. The best board game for your family is one that will let the whole family play. Ever watched Lilo and Stitch? In the movie, they said that family means no one gets left behind. Board games are best enjoyed when the whole family is playing so make sure that the game can let all the family members play.
● Age appropriate
Age plays a significant role in making sure the maximum beneficial effects of a board game are met. Different board games are designed for different age levels. The federal government even regulates the toy industry in order to ensure that manufacturers will design and properly label their board games according to the appropriate age level of the players. These age labels are determined by a number of criteria, especially when it comes to child safety. As with other toys, age labels are very important. Some board games may come with parts that are too small for your children to handle and may even pose choking hazards. Age appropriateness will ensure that your child will not be put under unnecessary pressure to learn a set of rules that might be beyond his age. Be sure that the board game you will choose for your family fits the age range of your children.
● Length of playing time
The best board game for children should only take 15 to 30 minutes maximum per round of each game. This length of playing time should be enough to keep them interested and not stress them too much or bore them. A family game night should be something to look forward to. Sure, it is called game night, but it shouldn’t mean it will literally take all night to finish a game.
Board games should be a staple part of anyone’s childhood. Even with the rise of video games, with the charm and dynamic of a good old board game, it is no wonder why board games are still very much popular. To help you pick out which board game to get, check out our Top 5 Best Board Games for Kids. We here at ParentsNeeds HQ have reviewed and put together a list of board games for kids that we deem the best among the products available in the market. Scrabble and Scrabble Junior are both in our number one spot. Read on and find out why