Written by Patty Pearcy, President & CEO of SimplyFun
When did we stop playing games as adults? When you entertain adult friends, is your first suggestion after dinner to play a game or is it to watch a movie or play cards? When the power goes out and our devices don’t work, what then? The fact of the matter is that our game closets are likely woefully low in adult brain games to play. Sure, we may have games in the closet - cherished titles from childhood, or our favorite four-hour high-level strategy game. But what about the go-to games for a quick hour of play, especially for your non-gamer adult friends? Help is on the way! Following is a list of board games for adults to consider adding to your game library.
Creative Games: For this category, we focus on the creative part of your brain. Games with a strong creative component allow you to imagine, story tell, and manipulate objects in new and different ways. Sometimes there isn’t even a right or wrong answer, the answer is in the eyes of the creator and the solver. Asymbol’s creative bones are strong, as gameplay requires a player to take various objects and assemble them in a way that someone else can guess the object/theme you are trying to create. Not all of us see things the same way, and in this game, the solution is in the eyes of the beholders.
Puzzle Games: Puzzle games let you work as individual players, but they can usually be adapted to a cooperative-style game. The focus is on working with images and shapes to solve challenges and earn points. The game mechanic can be as simple as matching two sides of an object or manipulating complex images into new forms. Take a look at Trifusion as an example of a puzzle game played with bigger tiles and images which can be played solo, cooperatively, or competitively.
Math Games: Math games don't need to be boring and often contain qualities of other games you already like, such as matching/planning in dominos or the risk and reward of dice games. They can also get your quick math skills back up to speed (put away that phone calculator!) and can help you get to know how much risk for reward your friends are willing to take. Quartile is a great example of a domino-style game that gets you practicing addition while tapping into your spatial reasoning skills to get the highest score.
Word Games: Independent play opportunities are more often found within this category in the form of crosswords, word searches, and wordles, but many other forms of multiplayer word games exist and are well suited for adult gameplay. Quick thinking word matches, story building and telling, and vocabulary challenges all share the benefits of getting silly fast when the adult mind is involved. Something quick and simple to play like Word Bits can be just as much fun as a more complex word game while providing plenty of laughs. Do expect a few challenges with your spelling creativity!
Memory Games: Memory or concentration-style games require a player’s short-term memory to go into overdrive! Notice how kids are great at these? Well, you can be too, with some practice. Memory games often rely on hidden elements, remembering a sequence, or digging up long-forgotten vocabulary. Amalgam uses a concentration-style format, but you aren’t trying to remember what is in the grid but rather what you take and put in your pile - face down and no peeking! While it has great strategy during play, the key element is to remember what you already have collected with penalties for items that are ‘strays’ in your pile.
Dexterity Games: Working with our fingers and hands helps keep fine motor skills nimble! Often these games require balancing pieces, placing or removing pieces, or even a quick grab, all with potentially tragic consequences for your score if your actions cause the pile to spill! Rules, however, may be relatively straightforward so that they can be quick to learn and play. A game like Kilter using two crossed teeter totters as the playing field adds a sense of challenge for dexterity as the field tips and dips as you try to add pieces. Knowing a little something about the science of levers and weight distribution is quite helpful. Bonus! A science refresh is included in gameplay.
Social Games: Social media is all around us, but is it really all that social? Social games allow you to interact with your friends for the purpose of getting to know them better with light-hearted fun. You may share experiences, cooperate to solve a problem, or try to put yourself into the shoes of others. Eye to Eye is a game that focuses on identifying how we are alike and not how we are different. Ever try to guess what other people might say? For example, name three things found in your car’s glove compartment. You will be shocked enough by those answers to never open a friend’s glove compartment again! And it will be a great laugh!