We all have childhood memories of that one game we liked most. A game that you longed to play? A game that had you rush through your homework so that you could get started with it? It was before phones and gadgets took over our lives. Then, during the pandemic, everyone was consumed by technology and screens. However, slowly but surely, the humble board game is making a comeback.
Some would argue that board games never went out of fashion and the classics have always stayed relevant and always will, at least the ones that combined the elements of education and fun.
I recall a time when as a fifteen-year-old, I got a board game from a friend in the US, it was called Wall Street and this had me hooked. This was 1991 and the only thing that everyone in my family was talking about was Harshad Mehta and the amazing run they were having in the stock market. I, of course, couldn’t trade in the real market and didn’t even have a bank account, yet we played the equity game and learned the nuances of the financial markets. Thanks to those afternoons spent arguing over trades with my friend, we both ended up building a career around the stock market.
Educational board games have always played an integral part in my life, be it to understand the dynamics of the stock market, the ups and downs of entrepreneurship or learn how to harness the power of goal setting. Educational games offer an interactive way to learn important concepts and skills and by incorporating gameplay into the learning process, students become more engaged and motivated. Studies have shown that educational board games can improve academic performance and increase retention of information. They’re also a great way to build social and communication skills. Several schools and educational institutions maintain a healthy inventory of board games that students can play on campus and there have also been a host of start-ups that rent out educational games to subscribing families, clubs and institutions.
Educational Board Games are a great approach to education, it makes learning fun, it develops critical thinking abilities and creates a problem-solving mindset. An interesting development in the world of board games is the adoption of 3D printing techniques in manufacturing components. What this is doing is enabling students, institutions, inventors to create smaller batches of board games and experiment with concepts before going in for larger runs. So, a person with an innovative board game idea could create even one copy of a game and test it in the market, and this is a far cry from the past where the minimum order quantity could have been in hundreds. All of this is leading to differentiation and a unique experience for players. On the distribution side, I remember getting quality board games was not easy. They were always gifts from relatives visiting from overseas. Today, thanks to the advent of e-commerce portals and global shipping, there is almost no title or subject that one doesn’t have access to. This is again a very positive development in the space.
In conclusion, I want to say that while homes become smaller and space is sometimes a constraint, there will be and always should be a place for that educational board game at home. You never know what it may spark amongst children and the future leaders of tomorrow.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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