Opinion: Why Doesn’t Anyone Play Board Games Anymore?

A collection of board games sits stacked and unopened on Grand Blanc sophomore John Reno’s desk. Unfortunately, the author hasn’t had much time to get together and play with anyone this semester (Photo by John Reno).

Video games have become a staple of day-to-day life for many, myself included. It’s very easy to decide that the day is done and it’s time to wind down from the stress of working with something fun; maybe play some video games with your friends. Sadly, it feels like their prevalence has caused board games to become more of a novel time-filler and less of a genuine pastime – unless it’s overly competitive chess

Have you ever considered bringing any board games to college from home? If you didn’t pack any, do you borrow any when you’re at Stirling Books and Brew or from your residence hall’s front office? You’re probably shaking your head right now because board games have fallen off in prominence. Honestly, I think that’s a shame.

Like most people, I can remember playing board games every now and then with my family. Even to this day, we still try to play a board game together when we can. But, i’s pretty difficult to accomplish, when both my brother and I are away at the same college. As time has gone on, the video game industry has absolutely exploded and the prevalence of plain old board games has to fizzled out.

The term “board games” has become a large catch-all for games that aren’t video games. Personally, I really enjoy playing dice and card games like Boss Monster and Dice Throne. Even if you can’t separate yourself from beloved video games, some have board game adaptations, with classics like Skyrim, Bloodborne and Deep Rock Galactic.

Video games are fun, diverse, easy to pick up and can be played with friends almost whenever. Of course, my friends and I play plenty of video games together. But, when we find the time and place to sit at a table and play with a physical hand of cards and pass around a couple of dice, there’s something much more personal and memorable about that.

Even when my friends and I are playing an online game, we sometimes mention the desire to get together for a board game day. Sadly, board games have a connotation that they take a lot of time, which makes it harder to set aside time to sit down and play one, especially when everyone is busy. 

While some board games can take more than an hour to complete, others can end in less than five minutes. Exploding Kittens can have people out round one, and Boss Monster can be just as cutthroat. 

If you prefer to never leave the table, I guarantee you’ll never have all your resources together in Settlers of Cattan (especially if your one friend keeps blocking your stone production) or never land on an unowned property in Monopoly

And if you’re the kind of person who wants something more long-term than just a one-time game night, try a tabletop roleplaying game like Call of Cthulu or Dungeons and Dragons.

With this wide variety of board games, they genuinely deserve a better rap than they currently have. So what more can be done beyond occasionally sitting down and playing them? Honestly, that’s exactly it. Find some friends and see how you all do in a game you haven’t tried in years, or try a new game you’ve never heard of. There are plenty of online resources to help understand rules and how to get better at any given game.

Even if it isn’t over a board game, people should renormalize spending time together in person. And that’s coming from someone who’s more than content playing video games in a room all by themself.

About John Reno 8 Articles
Jonathan Reno is a sophmore English Major from Grand Blanc. With a taste for science fiction settings and a love of the sea, he only recently realized the unique enjoyment writing for a newspaper brought him. Now, he spends time balancing work and personal hobbies like watching wildlife documentaries, playing a wide array of video games with friends and listening to podcasts about classic literature and ancient and medieval civilizations. Contact John via email at jcr13@albion.edu

1 Comment

  1. I’ve been meeting up every Thursday for the last 17 years with my friends to play board games. It has been a huge part of my life and helped me get out of my comfort zone many times. I do think that plenty of people play board games, but I also think there are equally people who think board games are just Monopoly or Candy Land and don’t realize how much is out there.

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