Top 5 Board Games That Have Proven Health Benefits

Board games have been greatly enjoyed since time immemorial. They come in various types. Some have been around for thousands of years, while others have been developed more recently. Board games are popular among people of all age groups and walks of life and people of vastly varying interests, tastes and preferences.

Though board games usually tend to be popular among the younger members of society, many people in their advanced years also play these games as they are fun and provide a means to enjoy their free time and even socialise with family members, friends, colleagues and acquaintances. It is not uncommon to see people play chess games or Ludo or Scrabble, regardless of their age, profession or background, and this goes to show that board games are well-liked by a broad spectrum of people around the world.

Board Games For Health Benefits

A List of Board Games That Have Proven Health Benefits

Board games come in varying levels of challenge and difficulty; some require a great deal of strategic thinking, such as chess, while others require a thorough knowledge of the English language and a vast vocabulary, such as Scrabble. Other board games involve a mix of skill and chance, such as Ludo or Snakes and Ladders. Whatever one’s taste or preference, there is at least one board game to match, and board games have been shown to benefit one’s health.

Here are some of the board games that are well-known for the benefits they provide:

1. Chess

A list of board games can only be complete with the mention of chess. Chess is regarded as the ultimate game of strategy, and despite being one of the oldest invented board games, its relevance in strategic thinking has only increased with time. Chess is a game that has been hailed for its positive effects on the brain. It exercises both hemispheres of the brain, requiring logic and reason and creative and innovative thinking to outsmart one’s opponent, helping to increase a person’s overall intelligence quotient. Chess helps to improve concentration and focus. 

2. Scrabble

Since its launch in the early 1930s, Scrabble has become a household favourite for millions worldwide. As is well known, playing Scrabble involves building words using tiles that bear an alphabet each and placing the tiles in such a way that helps maximise the total word score. Scrabble is very helpful in increasing one’s vocabulary and improving one’s spelling. The game is also known for enhancing one’s ability to think strategically. Scrabble also improves social skills as it stimulates conversations between players. 

3. Monopoly

Monopoly is a board game that is centred around the buying and selling of real estate. A game that can be played by a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 8 players playing Monopoly entails buying and selling and developing property across the board, and whoever has the most money at the end of the game is the winner. Monopoly is a game that fairly accurately represents the decisions one has to take to succeed in life and is also helpful in teaching the importance of investing wisely. It also helps to improve memory and cognition skills.

4. Mastermind

Mastermind is a code-breaking game that two players play. The game has a decoding board and code pegs. Of the two players, one is the code maker, and the other is the code breaker. The code maker creates the secret code, and the code breaker needs to decipher the code in as few turns as possible. Mastermind is based on a much older game played using pencil and paper called Bulls and Cows. Mastermind helps stimulate a person’s ability to use logic and reason, enhancing their deduction and problem-solving skills. Mastermind is so versatile it has been adapted to be applied in fields as diverse as computer science, mathematics and even psychology. 

5. Snakes and Ladders

Snakes and Ladders, which also has a variant called Chutes and Ladders, is one of the most popular board games for children. However simple as it may seem, the game does contain plenty of profound lessons. While the ladders represent opportunities to rise, the snakes (or the chutes) represent setbacks and challenges. Another important lesson the game teaches is that even if a player suffers a setback and slides down to the game’s starting point, new opportunities always await. There is always the possibility of landing on the most extended ladder in the game, which can take the player up again. With all these lessons, Snakes and Ladders is a game that helps to shape a healthy perspective.

Benefits of playing board games:

The Cognitive Connection

1. Strategic Thinking:

Board games often require players to formulate and execute strategies, fostering critical thinking skills. Games like Chess or Settlers of Catan challenge the mind, promoting problem-solving abilities and strategic foresight.

2. Memory Enhancement:

Many board games involve memorizing rules, keeping track of moves, and recalling information. Regular engagement in these activities can contribute to improved memory retention and cognitive function.

Emotional Well-Being

1. Stress Reduction:

Engaging in board games provides a break from the stresses of daily life. The immersive gameplay promotes relaxation, reducing cortisol levels and fostering a sense of calm.

2. Mood Elevation:

Laughter and enjoyment are inherent to board game sessions whether a friendly round of Scrabble or an intense game of Monopoly, social interaction and positive experiences contribute to an uplifted mood.

Social Bonds and Relationships

1. Quality Family Time:

Board games catalyze quality family time. Sitting around a table, sharing laughs and friendly competition, strengthens familial bonds and creates lasting memories.

2. Friendship Building:

From game nights with colleagues to gatherings with friends, board games facilitate social interaction. They provide a structured and enjoyable way to connect with others, fostering the development of meaningful relationships.

The Physical Aspect

1. Fine Motor Skills:

Certain board games involve intricate movements and precise actions, contributing to developing and maintaining fine motor skills. This is particularly evident in games that involve cards, dice, or small game pieces.

2. Active Board Games:

Beyond traditional board games, there is a growing trend of active board games that incorporate physical movement. Games like Twister or Jenga require players to be physically involved, promoting exercise in a fun and engaging way.


Board games transcend mere entertainment; they are a prescription for holistic health. By engaging in strategic thinking, promoting emotional well-being, strengthening social bonds, and even incorporating physical activity, board games offer a multifaceted approach to enhancing our lives. So, the next time you gather around a game table, know that you’re not just playing — you’re investing in your health and well-being.

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