What We Can Learn from Board Games

Zack Kelly // January 31, 2018

Over the years, board games have really seeped into adult culture. They're a great way to bring everyone together, have fun and create some memories. Amidst all the fun, it's very easy to overlook some of the skills they can give you that extend beyond the table. There are takeaways from many games that could give you better deductive reasoning, more confidence, a more tactically thinking brain and so much more.

One prime example of this is the classic game of Clue. Clue is all about reading the other players and figuring out who committed the murder. Systematically, you are looking for any ideas, or… clues.. using everyone around you and the knowledge they gained. This tactic builds into the game of trying to read the other players in the hopes of extracting knowledge of what cards they have based on things they say and the gestures they subconsciously act.

playing board game

Of course, many other games help build skills. Let’s consider the game Risk. There's a common tactic of gently poking the enemy's defenses until you find the weak spot and then striking through there. At that point, you keep going until you've conquered everything. This is much like developing business with a client. You try to read the stakeholder you are working with based on their interactions, mood and talking points and then you “strike” to aid them where they are most susceptible to the help. Just hope you roll 6's on the attack!

Other more social games like Werewolf or Resistance teach you how to interact with people and how to read your friends. These games rely on a lot of manipulation, deception and bluffing, but they also help you read a situation accordingly. Everyone has their "tell" or way they keep approaching a situation. No one has a perfect poker face and social games help you learn how to pick this out.


Game Night at Improving - Columbus

These examples are such a limited scope of the things you can learn and apply from board games. In most games, you learn to play the odds and hedge your bets so you always come out on top. It's highly likely that no matter what you're playing, you have something to learn and act on in your daily life.

At Improving, we like to foster this kind of learning activity by hosting game nights where we get to play games with the coworkers we don't get to see on a day-to-day basis. It gives us an opportunity to know the other Improvers as well as practice some of our social skills.

So on the next game night; whether it be with your coworkers, pals, or family, think about what you learned from the game and how you're able to apply that to your clients, teammates and family.

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