For the Love of Board Games | Casual Game Revolution

For the Love of Board Games


Playing board games is a unique experience which is fun, satisfying, intriguing, and challenging. With the board gaming experience being so varied, it got me thinking about why people love them so much. I know why I love playing board games. They provide an amazing way to socialize with others and build bonds of friendship. In playing a game, I can experiment with strategies and take risks I wouldn't take in real life. I especially love casual games because I can experience all of this quickly and with almost anyone, not just gaming pros. Since they are reasonably short, I can play lots of games and have varied experiences all in one evening.

That’s what I love, but I wanted to know why other people love playing board games, so I took the question to Quora and got some awesome answers I want to share with you. Here are some of the highlights. You can see the original question and complete answers here.

For me, playing board games was one of the first ways in which I could put into action my mathematical skills as a kid […]. I grew up with those games being a key part of my childhood and the games were always a learning experience.

Now, when I play, I enjoy the social dynamics of the various games and appreciate the competitiveness and interpersonal skills required to play Monopoly as well as the team building and leadership skills for a cooperative game like Pandemic.“

Kevin Tostado, Director of "Under the Boardwalk: The MONOPOLY Story."

Board games are a challenge, both in the obvious sense of trying to win the game, and in the sense of trying to win and lose gracefully. I enjoy these challenges, and I enjoy watching my friends face them. You can learn a lot about a person when you see them win and lose.

And I like the aesthetics. A good board game is beautiful. […] People talk and laugh and have fun, but there's also concentration, frustration, and triumph.

I play video games a lot, too, but with video games it's just the challenge, and almost no shared enjoyment and discovery. Even if you're playing with friends online, you don't get to see their expressions and body language. There's very little social about them, when you compare the experience to playing a board game with friends.”

Mike Ruiz, Go player for more than 20 years.

The best board games for me emulate a microcosm of the world […].  They adapt complex and seemingly random world systems into abstract, simplified […] mathematical puzzles with which you battle your friends.  As someone that seeks to understand the rules and regulations behind certain such systems in the real world and turn that understanding into a competitive advantage for my livelihood (aka a lawyer, in my case), I appreciate the experience of unpacking the rules behind these simplified games and testing them against willing friends who share in the fun.  

For me the joy comes most in creating an unwritten strategy out of the written rules, and tweaking that strategy by experience: playing games and discussing them afterward with my competitors (who are just as capable at this as I am and often teach me much).  That learning process is fascinatingly rewarding for me, and the wealth of quality strategy games out there ensures I always have novel variations of this sort of fun.  It greatly helps this process is social and not at all serious.  The stakes are your pride, briefly […].  It does not get any better than socializing and learning (about the game and about yourself and your friends) at the same time, and board games deliver."

Alan Ruiz

Why do you love to play board games? What is it that brings you back time and again to old favorites and new board game experiences?

Stewart Woods
Stewart Woods's picture


A bit of shameless self-promotion, I'm afraid.   Just a note to say that if you're interested in why people play board games, you might want to take a look at my book, Eurogames: The Design, Culture & Play of Modern European Strategy Games   Although it does get a little academic, the latter half of the book is devoted to exploring why people play hobby board games.   TL;DR It's a combination of intellectual challenge and socialising :)   cheers Stewart