Board game sales have been steadily rising these past years. It’s even been reported that it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down anytime soon. Thanks to the ever-powerful tool of word of mouth, both established and indie game makers are able to stake their place in the market to cater to the insatiable appetite of gamers all over the world.
That said, since board games and tabletop games have been gaining more popularity, there has also been an increase in the interest in board games as the subjects of studies. These studies, in particular, determine whether board games and tabletop games have any health benefits to the gamer.
The answer is yes. Yes, board games and tabletop games do have health benefits.
Supplements good mental health
There are a lot of factors that play into having good mental health, and one of those factors is the state of our relationships with other people. Board games offer opportunities to spend quality time with family and friends, allowing us to strengthen our bond with them. In addition to that, the added factor of face-to-face bonding adds another level of togetherness that isn’t quite the same as one would get with videogames or online gatherings.
Helps release endorphins and manage stress
Otherwise known as the feel-good chemicals, endorphins have been shown to be released by the body when one laughs. An added benefit to endorphins, aside from feeling good, is the lowering or maintenance of a person’s blood pressure. In an online survey made by RealNetworks Inc., 64% of the 5,000 people surveyed said they played board games to unwind, and 54% play to relieve stress.
In 2017, a study on stress management showed that the body’s natural response to stress, the fight-or-flight response, can be exercised and regulated within the sophisticated framework of playing certain board games. Playing these board games allows a person to give their mind and body a safe space to practice facing stressful situations so that they can further develop their coping skills, which can be used when feeling stressed in the real world.
Acts as an effective brain exercise
When playing board games, the parts of the brain that are most used are the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. These areas of the brain are responsible for developing cognitive skills and memory formation. Studies have shown that the more a brain is exercised, there is a lessened likelihood of mental diseases as the mind is kept sharp.
Beneficial for child development
Studies have shown that playing board games is a good way to limit children’s screen time. These days, it’s important to make sure that children don’t spend all hours of their day on phones, tablets, or computers. Those overexposed to these things are at higher risk of sleep deprivation, obesity, low test scores, anxiety, and depression. Alternatively, children whose screen time is regulated have been shown to show improvements in their social, academic, mental, and physical health.
Playing board games allows children to develop their logic and reasoning skills. It also gives them a chance to work on their critical thinking skills, spatial reasoning, and ability to concentrate on a given thing for long periods.
Supplemental tool for physical therapy
And finally, another benefit that board games and tabletop games have been shown to have is the ability to use them as supplemental tools for physical therapy. Because most types of board games require players to use their fine motor skills in order to pick up pieces and move them, it allows a patient to practice their coordination and dexterity. It has been found to be helpful when incorporated with other occupational therapy treatments.
Board games are a fantastic way to stoke the fires of social interaction while stimulating the brain. These positive experiences can benefit the body and mind in subtle ways, making you smarter, happier, and a little less guilty about the price of that new game.
If you’re looking for a new board game to tickle that fancy and stimulate the mind, check out our selection at The Dragonforge, the premier hobby shop in Metro Manila. We have a wide range of board games with various themes and gameplay for people of all ages. We also ship all over the Philippines, so ask us about your next board game today.
Veronika Caraos is a writer with a love of animals and quiet moments. She has a mild love affair with decaf coffee and a toxic relationship with dairy. These days, you might find her clacking away at a keyboard, creating content for her capitalist overlords.