Tyler Voigt, co-owner of the Board Game House in Nanaimo, demonstrates a game called Santorini that he says is simple to learn and a game that just two players can have fun with. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

Family board game nights are nostalgia worth revisiting

Board games have changed with the times a little bit

A family board game night has a nostalgic sound to it, but it can be something new and fresh and as fun as ever.

As some parents may have noticed, board games have changed with the times a little bit.

There are so many offerings beyond the ones like Monopoly, The Game of Life, Sorry and Parcheesi that we might remember from our youth.

Tyler Voigt, co-owner of the Board Game House in Nanaimo, said he understands how some parents can get bored with some of the classic board games.

“It’s a lot of just roll, move the pawn, draw a card…” he said. “A lot of new board games have stepped away from that mechanic and it’s a lot more interesting. There’s more memory involved, there’s more strategy, there’s just more depth to the mechanics of the game, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re more complicated.”

His shop isn’t exactly a board game store, it’s more a place to play. Customers pay $5, or $2.50 for kids 12 and under, and can play any game they like or as many games as they like for as long as they like.

He loves seeing families try out a new game and become instantly engrossed. He said he’s seen a mom and young son, for example, sit down, choose a fairly complicated board game and “power through it” for hours and hours on end.

There are lots of board games nowadays that suit just two people, a parent and child, for example, and there’s also a growing category of co-operative or collaborative games where all players are on the same team working toward an objective.

Board games have always been an educational tool and that hasn’t changed. Building a sense of fair play is an obvious one. Children will learn math, expand their vocabulary, think critically and creatively, Voigt said.

“There’s so much education in board games. It’s so well disguised that you don’t even realize it until three hours of having the best time of your life,” he said.

Whether it’s at his shop or around the rec room coffee table, there are a lot of reasons to revisit family board game night, Voigt said.

“It’s an opportunity to put the phone away and just have that face-to-face conversation time with your friends and family and actually engage with each other,” he said. “I think as individuals in society we’re actually craving a lot of that one-to-one communication time.”


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