Published on February 9th, 2017 | by Nicole Jekich1
What Have You Learned From Board Games?
I came across a thread on reddit recently where users shared what they had learned from board games. I saw the common mention include Monopoly, Risk and various resource management games were good for learning spending habits, budgeting, long-term planning and the like.
Unfortunately the rest of the thread devolved into jokes about “if you have a great relationship with your friends and family try playing Munchkin to learn to hate them!” Har. Har. Har. I was disappointed by the lack of honest and personal answers. I really wanted to hear what other gamers had learned from board games.
Tabletop games are also an amazing teaching tool as well as a fun pastime. I have friends that are using role-playing games to teach children with behavioral needs how approach and resolve conflict. Others use them to teach how to work as a team or how to even teach empathy. I’ve heard of after-school teachers who use re-themed D&D adventures to teach students about history, important battles or conflicts. Role-playing games also teach you to be better at improvisation. Concept and Dixit are strong games for teaching visual communication and creativity through art and association. There are so many things that you can learn from board games!
While this may not be a lasting skill, I did learn a fair amount about wine thanks to the wine-making, worker placement game Viticulture (and Tuscany , its expansion) by Stonemaier Games. Luke, my sister and I recently attended a fancy dinner with wine pairing at one of our favorite Italian restaurants. What I didn’t know about the event was that each wine would come with its own introduction and small history behind its creation. The evening’s presenter was one of the representatives of the 600-year-old family-run vinyard. The company has been in the family for twenty-six generations since its origination during the Italian Renaissance. With a pedigree that old, you know this was going to be some damn fine wine.
The first glass of wine for the appetizer was a rose: a mix of red wine grapes and sparkling white, which players can make in Viticulture by mixing red and white grapes together. The next two wines were dark and red made from a blend of grapes that include Sangiovese–one of the vine cards that players can plant in their vineyards in-game. The finale red wine was made at vineyards from across sprawling Tuscany… and that’s when it hit me that I had learned much of the wine conversation and presentation of the evening thanks to a board game.
So now what I really want to hear is: What have you learned from playing board games and tabletop games? Are there specific games that you use as a teaching tool?