Board Games Helping Friends and Families Find Quality Time
There’s an art to bringing family and friends together for the holidays: Spending hours together, keeping everyone away from their cell phones and trying to refrain from politics as a general topic of discussion. Easier said than done once all the presents have been opened and the big meals devoured!
But more and more, everyone from high schoolers to millennials to families are getting together to play board games with an enthusiasm that rivals the Candy Crush craze from a few years ago. Sales of board games have been on the rise every year for the past decade.
According to the American market research group NDP, U.S. sales of board games in 2017 were $1.1 billion, up 7 percent from the previous year. They also estimate that U.S. sales growth in adult hobby games to have grown more than 180 percent between 2016 and 2017. Meet-up groups for games are abundant; bars and cafes are even providing board and card games to attract customers.
“Gaming around the holidays is the go-to choice to encourage quality time with families and friends,” says Mark Menichini, a buyer of Games and Toys for Meijer, a midwestern retailer that carries more than 300 different games. “Where it may have seemed geeky, or that ‘nerds’ only played games, it’s now become the norm.”
Experts suggest multiple reasons and benefits for the booming trend. First, games encourage face-to-face interaction and real quality time. When you’re playing a board or card game, you’re engaged with friends and family in the same room and not distracted by Facebook posts or Snapchat messages. Hilarity ensues!
Next, playing games helps you practice strategic thinking and encourages life skills like organization, pre-planning, resource management, and the ability to think on your feet.
Menichini says some of the top games and gaming trends to consider this holiday season include:
Retro-active! Everything from Jenga, Scrabble, Sorry, Candy Land, and Battleship are back with retro-editions as parents are sharing their favorite games with their kids. Monopoly has also re-emerged with Harry Potter, Stranger Things and Fortnite Editions, not to mention a Cheaters Edition that is one of the top games of the season.
Card and Carry: Games that fit into top games include Exploding Kittens, Relative Insanity, Five Crowns, and Uno are great for fitting into pockets and can be played anywhere!
Poop there it is! For some reason, poop is an emerging trend in kids’ games this year. Games like Flush N Frenzy, Poop The Game and Pull My Finger are some of the top games this holiday season. Boogers, farts, and pimples were all the subject of toys appropriate for kids too … as toymakers can’t seem to stop pushing the limit.
STEM and world-building: On the other end of the poop trend, Games like Settlers of Catan and Risk have been staple items year over year. Cognitive games like Match it Spelling, Match it Math and Match it First Words are also a very popular choice by moms and dads.
The other benefit, according to experts, is that the more games you play, you eventually find yourself in the lead or way behind on the scoresheet.
So, whether it’s card games, board games, or even a quick game of Pictionary, getting together to play and interact in groups helps kids and adults in multiple ways. Not only continuing to develop and build various life skills, but to also learn how to be better sports, win or lose.
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