Board games are a specific type of tabletop game that often include pieces or counters that are moved on a board according to a certain set of rules. Board games vary significantly in complexity, with most including an element of chance and some being based purely on chance. For example, many board games require players to roll a dice, which depends largely on luck, whereas others are more skill-based or focused on turn-taking.

Types of board game

There are wide varieties and genres of board games for children. Some have no theme and rely more on the gameplay, while others embrace a specific theme and narrative. Here are some examples of the different types of board games and some of their defining characteristics:

Abstract strategy board games

  • require two players; 1 vs. 1
  • more reliant on skill than luck
  • no specific theme
  • examples include chess and chequers

Cooperative board games

  • players work together to complete an objective
  • players play against randomized game mechanics

Role-playing games (RPGs)

  • uses dice to randomize the mechanics of the game
  • very thematic, often including fantasy elements
  • relies on leveling mechanics so players can improve their character over time

A Short History of Board Games

Board games have been played and developed in most cultures throughout history. Records show that the earliest known board games were played in Egypt around 3100 BCE.

However, one of the oldest known board games still played today is Backgammon, first developed over 5,000 years ago in Mesopotamia. Another example of an ancient board game still played today is chess – this popular board game originated in India and is arguably one of the most well-known board games there is.

It wasn’t until the 19th and early 20th centuries that board games became commercially available in the Western world. Lizzie Magie, one of America’s first board game designers, created ‘The Landlord’s Game’ in 1903, which she patented but then sold to Parker Brothers, who used her idea to create what we know as ‘Monopoly’ – arguably one of the most popular board games ever made.

Board Games for Children

Board games are a versatile tool that teachers can use to help children develop essential skills such as teamwork, sportsmanship, motor skills, problem-solving, and general social skills.

Board games for children are extremely popular and can positively impact children who may struggle with any of the skills above and can be used as an activity to facilitate the learning of specific topics and subjects.

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