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The Benefits of Playing Board Games

Why Play Board Games?

  • They are a great way to spend family time together by:
    • strengthening the emotional bonds between parents and children
    • improving communication between family members
    • helping children do better at school
    • reducing behavioural problems with teenagers
  • They provide screen-free time for the kids.
  • They support the development of younger children by teaching them to follow the rules of the game.
  • They reinforce social lessons – playing as a team, learning to be a good sport, turn taking, and how to lose gracefully.
  • They teach the importance of planning ahead, cause and effect (actions and consequences), and decision-making skills.
  • They can teach Math skills – games involving money require simple arithmetic, games like Risk incorporate statistics.
  • They can build Literacy skills – word games like scrabble are good for spelling and vocabulary expansion.
  • They can develop general knowledge – there are lots of interesting games now that are both educational and fun to play.
  • They can promote thinking skills – strategy, problem-solving, and logic.
  • They help to build executive functions which are a set of brain functions that are essential for success in school and in life.
  • They can be a good exercise for the brain – games like Chess and Mah Jong offer numerous brain benefits.

Board Games that Develop the Brain

Goblet by Blue Orange

Based on the familiar concept of Tic-Tac-Toe, Gobblet takes strategy to the next level. This all wooden board game takes just seconds to learn but a lifetime to master. Gobble up, line up four pieces in a row, and win!

See more games by Blue Orange.

Quoridor by Gigamic

A game for 2 to 4 players, the aim is to try to get your pawn to the other side of the board. On your turn, you either move your pawn or place a wall. You have to successfully navigate the maze your opponent creates for you while creating your own maze for your opponent.

See more games by Gigamic.


Cathedral challenges two players to place as many buildings as possible within the walls of a medieval city. There are two sets (light and dark) of hardwood buildings of various sizes. To begin the game, one player places the cathedral on the grid of the walled city. Then the two players vie for the remaining land. Their goal is to place their own buildings while thwarting their opponent’s land-grabbing tendencies. If a player can completely surround one of his/her opponent’s buildings, that building is removed from the board and the space gobbled up by a different building. The game ends up resembling a puzzle that must be thoughtfully pieced together. The winner is the player whose unplaced buildings would occupy the least amount of space in the city.

Abalone by FoxMind

A 2-player strategy game where the goal is to be the first to push 6 of your opponent’s marbles off the board.

  • You can push one, two or three marbles at a time
  • Your marbles can move one space, in a straight line or laterally
  • Two marbles can push one and three marbles can push one or two of your opponent’s marble

More games by FoxMind.


Pentago is a fun strategy game for 2 to 4 players. The objective of the game is to get 5 of the same color a row. On each turn a player does 2 things: Place a chip of their color on the board and then rotate one of the quadrants 90 degrees clockwise or counterclockwise.


The goal of this game is to be the first player or team to play all of your tiles. Play faster by matching tiles on two or more sides, landing on Sun squares or using wind tiles to shift the tiles on the board. Advanced players will plan their turns ahead of time, strategically use the board and wind tiles, and play both offensively and defensively based on their knowledge of remaining tiles.


After a long boat trip, the treasure hunters have reached the island of Karuba and can go on the hunt for hidden treasures. Who will lead their expedition team along the smartest route through the jungle trails, pay attention to the other players and keep an eye out for gold and crystals along the way? The most important thing is to start running in time! Hurry up and be the first to reach the temples to collect the most valuable treasures. But be careful! Many paths have dead ends – you need to be patient and attentive in order to discover the best way through the jungle. The expedition team with the most valuable treasures wins the game.

Brain Freeze

A cross between Guess-Who and Mastermind, Brain Freeze helps children learn logic and deduction as they work to guess the secret treat their opponent has selected. This game is intended for children age 5 to 10 years old. For a greater challenge, play Telepathy (for children age 10 and up).

Lanterns The Harvest Festival by Renegade Game Studios

The harvest is in, and now it’s time to celebrate! Place tiles, adorn the palace lake, and dedicate lanterns in this beautiful, fast–paced board game set in imperial China. Players act as artisans decorating the palace lake with floating lanterns. The artisan who earns the most honor before the festival arrives wins the game.

More games by Renegade Game Studios.

Forbidden Island

Discover Forbidden Island! Join a team of fearless adventurers on a do-or-die mission to capture four sacred treasures from the ruins of this perilous paradise. Your team will have to work together and make some pulse-pounding maneuvers, as the island will sink beneath every step! Race to collect the treasures and make a triumphant escape before you are swallowed into the watery abyss!

  • Be the first team to breach the borders of the Archeans’ ancient mystical empire
  • Locate the Earth Stone, the Statue of the Wind, the Crystal of Fire, and the Ocean’s Chalice before the Island sinks
  • Find the treasures through collaborative play and teamwork
  • Stimulates problem-solving and strategic skills

Dragonwood by Gamewright

Deep in the heart of the mythical forest of Dragonwood lurk angry ogres, giggling goblins, and even the famed and fearsome fire-breathers themselves! Collect sets of adventurer cards to earn dice, which you will use to roll against your foes. Stomp on some fire ants, shriek at a grumpy troll, or strike the menacing orange dragon with a magical silver sword. Choose your strategy carefully because the landscape of Dragonwood is ever-changing. Only the bravest will overcome the odds to emerge victorious!

More games by Gamewright.

Tokaido by Passport Games Studios

Each player is a traveler crossing the “East sea road”, one of the most magnificent roads of Japan. While traveling, players will meet people, taste fine meals, collect beautiful items, discover great panoramas and visit temples and wild places. At the end of the day, when everyone has arrived at the end of the road you’ll have to be the most initiated traveler – which means that you’ll have to be the one who discovered the most interesting and varied things.

More games by Passport Games Studios.

More Board Games to Play:

Make Your Own Board Game:

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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