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Playing board games has undoubtedly changed over the years. As we have aged as a species, so has our love and passion for games. We have ancient board games dating all of the way back to Senet in Egyptian times, up until the board games of today such as Settlers of Catan. 

The games have gotten more complex and detailed, with more intricate patterns of strategy forming and the ability for much more individual play style within each game. 

However, the premise of each board game, and the reason we still play them so avidly today, is because we love the challenge. We love the ability to put ourselves to the test against each other and compete. 

When done in an intimate setting with people you know and care about, such as friends and family, this can encourage a deeper bond and understanding of each other, as well as promote personal growth. 

Today, playing games with friends has mostly turned virtual. Online multiplayer games such as Fortnite, Anthem and Pokemon have dramatically risen in creation and popularity and while these games may not be household classics passed down through the years (aside from maybe Pokemon), they have without a doubt brought people together around the globe. 

Games with friends used to be exactly that, games with friends. It was something we set out and chose to do with intention, happily so. 

In each of the games I’ve listed you can find yourself conversing with people in other countries, or right in your own neighborhood! However, while the virtual connectivity is certainly a plus, games didn’t start housed in your TV screen or phone. Games with friends used to be exactly that, games withfriends. It was something we set out and chose to do with intention, happily so. 

Ultimately, these board games are another way to compare ourselves to each other, battling brains and strategy instead of coming to physical blows. While any game you play should entertain you, you ultimately don’t stay for the overall excitement or visual effects of a card game or a couple rounds of Yahtzee. You stay and play to enjoy the company of the people you’re with and to interact, creating memories to last a lifetime in many cases. 

The true excitement of board games mostly comes from the strategy required in each game. With friends, colleagues, acquaintances, that special someone in your life, even just yourself, playing a game is like taking a little peek into who that person, or people, are at their core.

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Some games are a matter of basic skill as well, especially when it comes to games that require you to roll dice, flip coins or other little tasks. And while it can seem a ‘cheaty’ skill, these seemingly simple tasks can easily make or break a game. 

Other games are enjoyed because they are based almost 100% on pure luck, such as with Bingo. Playing is bingo with friends an incredibly fun and simple way to spend time with the people you care game about, or just to pass the time. Plus, with Chance being the biggest factor, it’s a great to play with children! Games like bingo and others are an excellent introduction to games for kids and are usually old favorites for older (and wiser) players.

Some games are based on Strategy and Luck, such as trading card games. While a player builds their deck with intention, whether or not their best laid offensive and defensive plans can be executed is usually completely dependent on whether or not they can get the cards they need into their hand in a timely manner and in a useful order. 

These are the games where you can find truly seasoned players delivering some truly magnificent ‘clash of the minds’ level of gameplay. These games are typically simple and easy to start, with simple mechanics anyone can pick up and that are fun to teach new players. With any luck, you may even be able to turn a friend or loved on to one of these types of games and then watch as they grow and develop, turning into a better and better player. 

Some games like Yahtzee and complex story-telling games such as Dungeons & Dragons always require strategy, but also require some skill with dice! When the amount of points you get or damage you can do to another player is dependent on these little cubes, being able to properly throw one (or 10) can come in extremely handy! These little glossy cubes (or other shapes) hold the key to your fate in each game you play with them. Although a far cry from the type of fate divination these little tools were originally created for, the outcome of their roles can still bring tears of either joy or happiness with just one roll.

Why do we enjoy games so much? Of course, we know that they challenge us. They allow us to learn about ourselves and the world around us. Many studies and journals have found innumerable positive correlations to actively playing board games and improvement in Psychological disorders, neurologic disease including Dementia, Social Communication and Cognitive Impairment and depression. 

Games allow you to express yourself in Strategy and give a chance to relax, unwind, and to a very real extent learn that much more about yourself or those you are with. 

Love yourself today by challenging yourself, and go play a game.

Tiqua Jackson