The Value of Board Games

Classic Monopoly BoardTo some people, the Hasbro game Monopoly is little more than a children’s game. Other people think of it as a collectable and purchase new versions shortly after they are released. Some people are compelled to buy the game for no other reason than the “flat iron” will soon be replaced. There is, however, another reason to be interested in the game. According to the April 15, 2013 edition of the Orange County Register, Matt McNally (winner of the 2003 U.S. Monopoly championship) was asked whether or not Monopoly skills can be applied to real life. In response, McNally answered “Monopoly is all about reading people, dealing with different personalities, negotiating, managing resources, and developing ideas. The skills I employ in a Monopoly game are no different than those I use on a daily basis at work.”

At an event I recently judged, a team used a game Candy Land Boardsimilar to Candy Land to describe the concept of entrepreneurship. I would argue that even if the game had not been customized to suit the purpose of the team, the original board game is a strong reflection of real-world concepts. The goal of the original game is to be the first player to reach the Candy Castle. Depending on the card you receive, you will either move forward or backward. In the real world, our goals may be different but we all have goals. Some events in the real world propel us forward, while other events set us back. In both the game and the real world, how we progress after a setback determines our success. I believe the game mirrors the real world very closely.

Scattergories BoxBoard games are more than just a way to waste time; they can be used in a beneficial manner as well.  Thomas Ragone, contributing author, tells us that he likes to play Scattergories for many reasons.  The game helps him remember the names of products, foods, companies, etc. that he might not have remembered without playing the game.  The rules of Scattegories require the use of a timer — players develop time management skills while having fun. The nature of the game provides players with a safe environment in which to find multiple solutions to a challenge, problem, or obstacle. In the real world, if you want to impress your boss, you have to be able to think about solutions in ways that other don’t. Clearly, Scattergories is much more than a waste of time; the skills you learn and practice in the game help develop practical real-world skills.


1. Will playing board games 20 hours per day improve the speed of your recovery?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Maybe

2. Which of the following board games is most likely to improve your memory?

  • Go Fish
  • Volleyball
  • The Logo Board Game

3. Which of the following games is most likely to improve your decision making skills?

  • Battleship
  • Chutes and Ladders
  • Candy Land

4. The game Scattergories will most likely not help you develop which of the following skills?

  • Future Planning
  • Time Management
  • Communication

Thanks to Thomas Ragone, contributing author, for sharing his thoughts about Scattergories in this post. Thanks to Hasbro for producing games that teach valuable real-world skills to the players of its games.

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