How Board Games and Video Games Can Improve Your Skills

Playing both kinds of games will improve your cognitive and gaming ability

How Board Games and Video Games Can Improve Your Skills
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We often view video games and board games as two very different subsets of entertainment. Board games are seen as family-oriented and ideal for building skills. However, many video games require the same level of thought and communication.

The skills learned while playing board games can enhance video game performance and vice versa. Here’s how.

Team Collaboration

One of the overarching benefits of playing board games and video games is developing one’s ability to collaborate as a team. Many video games are team-oriented, requiring communication and cooperation. During board games, players often have to work together or create alliances to avoid mutually assured destruction.

Playing board games with friends and family helps build interpersonal skills and connections. These carry over into team-focused video games such as Fortnite, Call of Duty, Halo, and Valorant. Developing better social skills and learning how to work together (or respectfully against each other) is valuable for players of all ages.

Research and Retention

People who become engrossed in video games often catch some flack from society. However, science proves that finding passion in video games comes with significant benefits. A 2020 study conducted by the University of Oxford found a positive correlation between video games and one’s wellbeing. When played in moderation, they observed video games providing healthy brain stimulation and relieving stress.

We see this with board games, along with the development of analytical skills. You learn to follow instructions and retain information about gameplay in order to immerse yourself in the content. While video games are often easier to learn and navigate, the same skills apply. For those passionate about gameplay, it could prompt players to take the time to research different approaches and strategies, utilizing sites such as FPS Champion to share and access this information.

This exploration helps players develop research skills, information retention, and even the scientific process — i.e., reading data, developing a hypothesis, testing it out, and analyzing the results.

Strategic Problem-Solving

Problem-solving and strategy development are perhaps the two most valuable skills learned from board games and video games. During board games, you often have to think a few steps ahead and consider the broader impacts of your decisions. Even kid-friendly card games like Uno and Sushi Go engage these skills.

Learning to look ahead and solve problems carries over into video games and vice versa. When trying to open a door with puzzles in The Legend of Zelda or Pokémon, you need these skills to determine if pushing that block will hinder your progress. When playing an FPS game, you’ll have to consider whether you have the resources to partake in a melee or if you should retreat for cover.


Taking risks is an often overlooked skill. In fact, we built our society to minimize risks as much as possible. However, learning to take risks in a safe environment is incredibly valuable because of the analytic skills developed as a result.

As you play board games and video games, you learn to assess the risks of your actions. As a child, you might impulsively take the jump in checkers, only to have your opponent triple jump you all the way to getting kinged. This experience teaches you to slow down and consider the risk versus the reward.

Playing a video game or board game also helps you overcome the fear of failure through risk-taking. As you become better at assessing the environment and taking minor risks, you’ll learn to push past the fear of failure and try something new. This skill carries over into many games and real life.

Slow and Quick Thinking Skills

Board games push you to slow down and consider the next steps. By doing so, you're training your brain to process information. The better it gets at processing information, the quicker and more efficiently you'll make decisions.

In other words, you can learn to think fast by thinking slowly. A study conducted by both Queen Mary University of London and University College London (UCL) found that participants who played strategy focused video games were "quicker and more accurate in performing cognitive flexibility tasks." Developing this critical thinking skill will improve your reaction times in video games without sacrificing logic.

Through these observations of the benefits both board games and video games can provide, it’s easy to see how both can elevate your skills. Playing board games can help you develop your video game performance and life skills, and vice versa.

So the next time someone pulls out Carcassone for a family game night, put down the controller and give it a try. You may find after game night that you’re quicker on the draw with the controller.


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