Finding balance in a chaotic world

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February 2018
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Boardgames for Christmas

As I’ve mentioned before, I love playing boardgames. This Christmas, I’m trying to encourage all of the parents I know to pick up a boardgame or two for presents and create a boardgame night once a month with their family. Why? Because of the true community effect of boardgames. This is true together time with the family and leads to memorable times and possibly even bonding moments. The kids can still get video games and portable music players for Christmas, but why not add some family time in a wrapped package.


How do you do a boardgame night? It is nothing more than blocking out 2 hours after dinner one night. Turn off the TV and clear the kitchen table. Set up the game, explain the rules and play. Typically what happens is after everyone has a turn or two, conversation breaks out. There is some good natured ribbing, tales of what happened during the day, and stories of games gone by. When everyone is on board (no pun intended) the family can’t help but grow together, much like eating together does.


Beneficial side effects, especially for younger children, are the skills they’ll pick up by playing. Addition, probability, decision making, and resource management, all can be taught by playing games that emphasize that mechanic. The beauty is that it doesn’t even require an “educational” game to learn these things. Basic negotiation can happen over the Monopoly board, Settlers of Catan teaches probability, etc.


Finally, look beyond Wal-mart and Toys R Us for games. There are amazing games out there just waiting to be played but they are typically only available at specialty game shops or on the internet. For some game suggestions, just send me the ages of the family members and things they like to do, or you can check out the On Board Games podcast ( that I co-host, or visit


So surprise your kids this year and get them some together time. My family loves it and I’m sure yours will too.