Are board games dead?

Have computer games killed the board game?

So, have the ubiquitous computer games killed off the good old board games of yesteryear?

I am very happy to report that the answer is no. In fact the answer is better than that. It would appear that board games are not just holding their own but they actually seem to be gaining ground.

This is a heartening thought in the light of the, usually violent, computer games that are often played alone or against many other unseen internet players. They are a genre of games, often glorifying violence and war, that help to make the weedy nerd sitting in the dark envisage himself as some muscle bound, AK47 toting anti-hero or a mysterious and sexy assassin with free running capabilities.

As for actually doing some free running, forget it ... that would involve moving, coming out into daylight.

Board games, by contrast, may well have an image problem and are rarely thought of as sexy. They do have something else however, and that is a much more social feel.They usually require, at the very least, two corporate players (corporate as in being there in body, as opposed to floating about in the ether) and often many more.

has to be said that there is something much more wholesome about board games. They are so wholesome there is almost a feeling that they could probably cure pimples.

The board game 'Thurn and Taxis'.
The board game 'Thurn and Taxis'. | Source
Board games ain't just for kids!
Board games ain't just for kids! | Source
That old favourite Scrabble ... but beware, it can get pretty stressful playing with some people.
That old favourite Scrabble ... but beware, it can get pretty stressful playing with some people. | Source
Scavenger Hunt ... very 21st century
Scavenger Hunt ... very 21st century | Source
Monopoly Junior Party (EA)
Monopoly Junior Party (EA)

Good old Monopoly ... just a Junior version.

 

The true value of board games.

When my children were still little, but just old enough to play board games, we would play some form of board game most evenings after our evening meal just before they went to bed.

More often than not they chose Monopoly where I would always end up depressingly bankrupt and the youngest player, my son Joe, would always end up with all the money and would be bankrolling the rest of us. At six years old that was pretty good going and I had high hopes of him.

(Sadly, it was a misplaced hope, as at thirty three he has inconsiderately put happiness before being a millionaire, so we cannot look to him for pecuniary help in our old age). At the time none of the rest of the family understood how he managed to accumulate all the wealth, but that was beside the point.

The real point of the games was that this time spent together was an irreplaceable and precious family bonding time.

Nowadays, if the television adverts are to be believed, this happens over a game of something on the Wii which, apart from its sniggersome name, involves the necessity for a large lounge area as you appear to have to throw yourself about actually simulating games.

Is it naïve to ask, why not go out and actually play the games? Why not go to the tennis courts, why not actually jog? Why not actually get some fresh air?

As my children were children long before the advent of Wii we had to make do with the actual physical activity of rounding them up with all their mates and having to have a huge cricket match on the village green with kids and parents playing until the summer sun went down.

We ended up with physically strong, healthy children who formed long-lasting friendships and interacted easily with all age groups. Ah, those poor deprived times before computers, eh?

Board games in the era of computer gaming.

So, far from becoming obsolete, board games seem to be going from strength to strength in the era of the computer game. Nowadays they have become much more creative with their settings and rules and it is all a far cry from Ludo and Snakes and Ladders. But the basic criteria stays the same ... they are all games for players who actually sit down around a board and play.

They interact socially, they bond, they argue and they question. And they learn, not just about one another's character but also how to get along with one another.

The majority of board games are gentle, non-violent and some are very funny.There is none of the physical violence so graphically portrayed in computer games, no-one's head explodes, no grannies are kicked.

Even the board games that could be thought of as mildly aggressive, like Chess and the Viking war game, Hnefatafl, which has been around for at least 1500 years, merely involve the capture of one's opponents playing pieces.

These are games of cunning and slow, long view strategy as opposed to violence but, because they are much more cerebral, it is likely that their appeal is limited for the majority of the younger generation who prefer to merely use the twitchy thumbs and fast reactions required by their computer games.

The good news ...

It is with a feeling of relief that I can report that the board game is not just alive and kicking but that it is also apparently proliferating. They won't all succeed and fashions and fads in them will be the same as with most things in this fickle age but they do look set to continue and I, for one, am pleased by that.

This is not just sentimental nostalgia on my part. It is more a genuine acknowledgement that a lot of fun can be had by families and friends sitting noisily round a table, arguing and laughing over an apparently simple board game.

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Comments 50 comments

VENZKHVAM profile image

VENZKHVAM 5 years ago from Milk way galaxy, trying to find a more adventurous place in another galaxy with my great followers

With all the modern invention in the gaming arena with technological invasion it never used to be the one that earlier in our child hood we played.

Personally i dont thing that board game has been dead. It is still on with its horn out.

Voted up and interesting


SlyMJ profile image

SlyMJ 5 years ago

I still research new board games every year for Christmas, mainly for the kids in the family. I love Scrabble, but am too good *smug smiley* for most of my family and friends, so sometimes play on-line or against the computer - same with chess. There are some great board-like games for the computer such as Sim-City, and I play a combination of on-line and on the floor games with my family when they visit. A great article, Angie. Thank you.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Hi VENZKHVAM - thanks for leaving a comment on this hub ... and many thanks for the votes.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Hi Sly ... it would seem you have the best of both worlds with games on the computer and on the floor. We always used to lounge about on the floor to play board games ... in front of the fire in winter.

Many thanks for your input on this hub.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

Board games are non-violent? Well, you've obviously never played Monopoly with me. If a player does not have my money, they are going to be sorry!

Just kidding. I do get a bit carried away with Monopoly though. It is my favorite! This is a really fun hub and it takes me back. Voted up and awesome!


writeronline 5 years ago

Hi Angie, what an interesting topic for a hub. Transported me back, that's for sure.

But, in support of your point about board games hanging in there, I needed only to go back two months, not the 30 years which would have had my wife and me playing, and loving, draughts, of all things, every night after dinner with our two small sons, before bedtime...

We live about 60 miles from our nearest grandkids (aged 8 and 4), so don't see them that often. When they do come, the rigours of their trip eased by aircon, leather seats, and of course, a handheld electronic game, to alleviate the boredom of actually looking out the window.., one of the 'must-do's', at their insistence, is for us old folks, the grandkids and their parents to all sit at the table and play a board game based around Cinderella, involving a dice, tokens, a circular game board, and a battery powered shoe that lights up, and detrmines the winner's progress by playing music or tolling a bell. They laugh, cry, get sad, feel happy, and eventually someone wins (while everyone else...doesn't).

Just like real life.

Great hub, Angie.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Hi Jeannie ... yes, Monopoly does seem to have a hold on people's hearts. But for tension you should try playing Scrabble with my son ... it's worse than playing poker ... and there's not even any money involved!

Thanks for dropping in ...


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Hi WOL - I really love the idea of you all getting round the board game and playing that game ... and you are right ... learning that sometimes you lose and there is no shame in it is a very valuable lesson for kids to learn. It's like playing Charades and watching the Queen's Speech at Christmas ... some things should be mandatory and you get thrown in the Tower if you don't do it. (And this from a lukewarm Royalist!)

Always love your comments m'dear ... whoever's hub they are on (is 'whoever's' right?)


JemmaJule profile image

JemmaJule 5 years ago from London

I hope the board game isn't dead, as monopoly is still my all time fave game! But alas, computers are taking over the world, with new applications and oppertunities to mingle online. Maybe people just don't have time for board games around the house, although I make sure our family sits down and has some bonding time over a good board game every once in a while!


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Well done, Jemma ... I think we should form a new society.

Parents for the Enforcment of Board Games, the Board Game Enforcement Society ... something along those lines ... with the slogan 'You WILL be bonded!'

I'm sure you could think of something more apt ...

Many thanks for your feedback on this hub.


JemmaJule profile image

JemmaJule 5 years ago from London

BBB-Bring board games back!


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Catchy ... Bring Back the Board - also BBB ... hmmm, can see this is going to get into my head and not let go ...


naturalsolutions 5 years ago

Definitely NO, the board game is still anywhere. I agree that the computer games are more addictive than the board game but the the board game is the best friendly game and really gives a lot of family bonding.

Me and my cousin really likes the monopoly game. It takes 2 to 3 hours for us to finish the game. Monopoly give us a lot of laughing memories and great bonding.


JerryJupiter profile image

JerryJupiter 5 years ago from United Kingdom

I absolutely love board-games. I'm a total PC Gamer but I love sitting around a board with friends and playing something like Risk... though I'm also a massive nerd for playing paper&pencil games like D&D.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Hi natural solutions ... thanks for your feedback ... it does reinforce my view of board games; they do promote bonding as well as fun.

Hi Jerry ... it is so nice to know that even though people play computer games they can also appreciate old fashioned board games. I think there is something about the energy developed by several people playing at once that is very addictive.

Many thanks for taking the time to talk to me, guys.


weestro profile image

weestro 5 years ago from Virginia

Great Hub, I always see guys at work playing scrabble on their phones, my wife and I like to play out on the porch with the old fashioned pieces!


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Good for you, weestro ... that sounds idyllic and has set up such a peaceful picture in my mind! I have a romantic idea of American wooden houses with long porches out the front complete with porch 'swangs' ... it's all very 'Walton' of me, I know ... lol.


Board gamer 5 years ago

I like to play modern board games. During the studies, we have regularly met privately for a game night. Unfortunately, the players have now moved away. Therefore, we only play very rarely offline. We play these games now on a turn-based website (www.yucata.de).


kschimmel profile image

kschimmel 5 years ago from North Carolina, USA

Our family still plays board games: Yahtzee, Scrabble, Monopoly and Settlers of Canaan are favorites.


George Sauer III 5 years ago

Dead - Not by a looong Shot !!!

The Columbus Area Boardgaming Society (CABS) has OVER 400 members and we get an average of 120+ board games attending our weekly meetings. We have over 1000 games at our club for our members to play and check out and take home like library books. Boardgames Dead ??? NO WAY !!!


cocopreme profile image

cocopreme 5 years ago from Far, far away

My husband and I play board games and card games quite a bit. Sometimes when we are waiting in restaurants we will play quick games to pass the time.


Drjacki profile image

Drjacki 5 years ago from North Carolina

Thanks for this very thought-provoking hub topic! I still love Monopoly (and I am 50), and I still play it with my daughters. My spouse won't play (probably because he loses!). Risk is really our favorite family fight-each-other-to-the-death game but can last literally all night or even days...so we don't play often!


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Hello everybody!

@ Boardgamer - yet another development in the board game ... or perhaps you should get together a new - physical - board game group? Thanks for commenting ...

@kschimmel - I haven't heard of Settlers of Canaan ... but I'm glad you too see the importance of board games. I appreciate your input on this hub. Many thanks.

@George - Wow! The board game strikes back! Your comment reaffirms my faith in the sociability of the human race. We DO still need to meet up and do something ... thank goodness for the board game, eh? Thanks for stopping by to tell us about CABS.

@cocopreme - now that is a novel idea ... playing board games whilst you wait for your meal. That is something some of our upmarket restaurants should offer as they tend to cook your food fresh when you order it. We can often be waiting 30 minutes ... enough time for a game of chess the way I play it ... lol. Great idea ... thanks for sharing.

@Drjacki - I don't think there is any age at when one shouldn't play board games ... I must admit some of them do reduce one to being a kid again ... especially when one is losing. Boy, do I sulk. Many thanks for your kind comment.


joevassar profile image

joevassar 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

Very good article! Though I do play some video games, I feel that boardgames are much less competitive and much more fun. They are very educational and don't numb your mind like playing xbox and computer games. I also think tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons are getting more and more popular as time progresses and will be good for more mature boardgamers in the future.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Hi joe ... I think you are right about the fun aspect of board games ... there is nothing like having a bit of a row and a giggle ... not sure that they are any less competitive though ... my son and Scrabble springs to mind ... I used to like Cluedo myself (not that I was any good as a sleuth!)

Many thanks for letting me know your point of view ...


Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

I love this Hub! I grew up playing board games and still love to play them, I hope they don't go out of style. It's a great way to have fun with family and friends without relying on tv and food!


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Many thanks for your kind comment, Alecia. I went into a toy shop with my step grandson (if there is such a thing) recently and there were shelves and shelves of board games so I guessed that answered my query.

They are not going to die out anytime soon evidently.


teriyaki profile image

teriyaki 5 years ago from Croatia

Very good hub and I've been thinking on writing something in this vein. While I've been following and cheering the development of computer games from their inception, board games still have their place in any human community - from families to king's courts. No matter how awesome a computer game is, it is still a solitary, ultimately alienating experience, even with multiplayer games or wii. There is something missing - the tactility of humans gathering around a table or a simple patch of ground and sharing an imagined world with rules of its own.

Beer and pretzels ftw!


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Hi teriyaki ... many thanks for such a thoughtful comment. I can see you have given this subject some serious thought, unlike myself who just sat daydreaming of the past through rosie-tints!

I appreciate your input ...


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

We grew up with board games - scrabble is still a BIG favorite. Half the fun was interacting with the other players!


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

I think that is the secret of the board game, RedElf ... a bit of arguing and laughter adds such a lot to the experience!


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois

I love playing board games! We'd play all sorts with our kids when they were growing up and my husband and I often played Scrabble or Backgammon. Unfortunately, about a year or so ago, he got caught up in spending a lot of time on the Internet, browsing, or just watching tv, so we really haven't played anything for a very long time.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

That's sad, Danette ... much as I adore my little MacBook I try to limit my 'screen time' with both it and the TV. It always amazes me how much I enjoy board games when I actually get round to playing them ... Scrabble especially.

Many thanks for your input ... I always appreciate the thoughts of others.


Nathan 4 years ago

The reason people think board games are dead is because Walmart has all the latest and greatest video games but primarily carries ancient worn out board games (Monopoly, Risk). When I was a kid I liked those games (just as I liked Nintendo games like Mario Brothers and the original Zelda), but now there are hundreds of great board games that don't get the spotlight they deserve because they're only available in dedicated game stores and online.

Look up Carcassonne, Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, 7 Wonders, or Dominion and you'll see what I mean!


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

After I had written this, Nathan, I went into a local toy shop in the small town near to where I live in the UK and was overwhelmed by the choice in board games. There were shelves full of them, old and new. It was very heartening.

Many thanks for reading my hub and your kind comment.


ishwaryaa22 profile image

ishwaryaa22 4 years ago from Chennai, India

An extremely engaging hub! I enjoyed playing board games with my cousins & family. I am not fond of computer games. I also like playing cards, tennis and chess with cousins & family. A family gathering is really heartwarming! Your insights are sensible and wise!

Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Awesome. Voted up & shared both on HubPages & Facebook


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Many thanks for the comment and shares, ishwaryaa!

I think we all need to spend more time with our families if we can. Your relationship with yours, playing all sorts of games, seems to be the ideal one to have. Very impressive.


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

My family and I play board games, especially Scrabble. Since I did away with cable TV (I wrote a Hub about that), I find we have more time to spend together which is good.

I voted this Hub UP, and will share.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

We still play board games, but not as much. We are more into modern technology and play games on our smart phones or iPads. It's still entertaining, but less competitive. Excellent hub!


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

@mary615 … thanks so much for commenting/ voting up and sharing. Glad to hear you and your family have so much quality time … what with the arguing over which are real words etc. etc. :)

Joking aside it must surely be good for families to spend time with each other.

@Sunshine625 … thanks for the comment. I too love my technology especially my Mac … but somehow when it comes to games I still love the interaction of the board game, especially Scrabble.

It can get very tense when my son and daughter-in-law play it as if their lives depended on it. They are big techies too … but they still love Scrabble.


donnah75 profile image

donnah75 4 years ago from Upstate New York

I love board games. We don't play often, but it is a good family bonding event when my whole family gets together. We always pull out Trivial Pursuit on Thanksgiving after the big meal. I have been buying traditional board games as gifts for my nephews, who also have Wii, but there is room for both. Balance is key. Boardgames aren't going anywhere anytime soon, in my opinion. Voted up!


ithabise profile image

ithabise 4 years ago from Winston-Salem, NC

Amazing! I was just wondering about this a day ago. My family is big on board games, and I "believe" in them. I think they are a great way to understand yourself and the people close to you (how people think, why we think and act certain ways, etc.) Computers games are fun--we play Wii and XBox 360 too--but you'll never get the "reveal" with a video game like you do with board games. Technology has given us enhanced ways to enjoy playtime, but I feel the best enjoyment rests with traditional board games.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

The computer will never replace board Scrabble. I also have a game called "Reminiscing" that is lots of fun to play, even with just two players. I have games on my computer, but never use them--they're there for the grandchildren!


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

@donnah75 … many thanks for the vote and comment and for making the really insightful remark that ‘balance is the key’ between computer and board games. And I just love Trivial Pursuit which, it turns out, is probably not so trivial after all as it encourages bonding in families :)

@ithabise … again, another perceptive comment about the mechanics of board game interactions. Thank you! Long live board games!

@JayeWisdom … I must look up ‘Reminiscing’ … although I probably do too much of that already. I never use the games on my computer either … time is short enough already! Thanks for taking the time to comment on my hub.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

My computer plays games with me...but I don't participate. Heck no, board games are not dead in this house! My husband and I love Scrabble....and whenever we have friends over, we challenge them to a game. Hubby also loves Chess.....but I don't play with him because it's senseless...he's an expert and I surely am not. He'll play chess whenever one of my sons stops by. I also love trivial pursuit. I hope the board game never dies!......UP++


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Thanks for the sentiments, fpherj48.

My husband also plays chess, with his sons, via the computer! They live quite a few miles away so who says computer games are solitary :)


petr 4 years ago

board games are lame, they are for boring people !


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Bless you, petr … thank you for another point of view : )


No 2 years ago

Video games will never kill board games, just like TV will never kill radio. Video games are fun. & I love them. I was raised on the first generation of video games. But boardgames require & offer a totally different type of social interaction & entertainment value. I never miss playing video games, because I can turn on a PC & play them anytime. But I really miss playing boardgames like Monopoly, Life, Payday, Risk, Axis & Allies, Supremacy, Battle Masters, Scrabble, Stratego, etc. It's just hard to find people who have the time to play. When you finally can get a group together, the anticipation make it a much more savory & worthwhile experience. (than video gaming)


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 2 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Many thanks for your point of view, No. I much appreciate your input on the subject.

You have raised a really valid angle of the whole issue of board games in that you do have to gather your players and often that is not easy when we are all so busy. But, as you point out, if you do manage to gather all your friends together, it emphasises and expands the enjoyment of something as simple as a board game.

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