Booming resurgence in board games bring health benefits to older adults.
Everyone remembers the classic games – Clue, Monopoly and Risk to name a few. These games, and others have been enjoying a huge growth in popularity across North America, in Europe and in Asia, pretty much everywhere.
For the older set, these tabletop games can evoke great nostalgia – a throwback to simpler times and fond memories of childhood and times gathered with family and friends.
“Interest in both classic games and some modern entries is overwhelming”, says Richard MacRae, President of Analog Games Studio and co-developer of new entry in the marketplace – Centrix. “Growth in board games is actually outpacing sales of video games and really becoming a huge worldwide trend” he continues. It’s true, Scrabble and the like are still top sellers and continue to be a multi-billion-dollar industry and with more niche games being produced at a rapid pace over the past several years.
For Boomers and Seniors, game board manufacturers are taking care to appeal. There is large print scrabble and even a color-blind friendly Centrix game board to properly address issues of vision impairment and aging that allow full inclusion of all ages and abilities.
And in a nod to the older gamer, there is even the Baby-Boomer Game. The object? Be the first to complete your retirement portfolio by collecting tokens in life, experience, health, assets as you strive to reach inner peace.
Haven’t yet taken notice of this new big trend? Take a stroll in your local neighbourhood and you’re likely to find a board game café. These are the new ‘go-to spots’ for board game fans both young and old. Local pubs and restaurants are also incorporating board game nights into their offering to attract those looking for an alternative way to enjoy a good time out socializing with friends.
So how does playing board games benefit Boomers? You might say that regular play keeps the doctor away.
Tabletop games offer a bevy of health benefits. Board games are great for brain fitness and are prefect for retirees – keeping them social as they get out and meet up with friends. Any nowadays games are easy to learn.
Major health benefits identified in regular game play include relieving stress, combating memory loss and depression. Board games provide an opportunity to learn new things – thinking both logically and strategically. A British medical journal notes that the risk of dementia was 15% lower in board game players that in non-players.
Board games can enhance memory formation and help exercise cognitive skills. Plus, a lot of games require hand dexterity and some coordination which is important for older adults.
Classic games are good but mixing it up with something new is quite beneficial.
Fitness is not just for the body – Board-gaming affords people the opportunity to connect, device free, in the real world. “That is its big appeal in our digital age”, says Toronto-based Richard MacRae who is releasing several new game titles this year to cater this huge board gaming trend. His titles offer something for everyone and great for Boomers to play with friends and family.
The added social component of playing a game together, is hugely beneficial for all ages but in particular for Baby Boomers and Seniors who can tend to grow isolated as they age. Tabletop games also bridge the generational gap and allows all ages to play together. It also fills the time and gives purpose when visiting older relatives – to share in an activity all can enjoy and look forward to.
A new breed of board games exist now called cooperative games that are more inclusive and have gentler themes with an emphasis on teamwork. Not like Monopoly as most remember the regular winner take all outcome. In cooperative games, all players must work together on a specific theme like farming or landscaping and nobody feels left out. The cooperative gaming trend provides more social interaction and positive outcomes.
Newer board games that have resonated strongly with Boomers include Ticket to Ride, Suspect, Incan Gold & Qwirkle. “Centrix has been selling well to both young and older players” says MacRae. “It’s been dubbed ‘an instant classic”’. For more information about Centrix and other new titles, visit analoggamestudios.com
So based on the big benefits to board gaming it’s certainly a pastime to get involved in. Hope to you see you all at a game board café soon. Remember, it’s just what the doctor ordered!