In the last six to nine months, in my quest to complete more first times, I’ve pursued learning and playing new board games. It started out with buying the game Sequence to play with some of my family members, followed by planning one and then a second #365FirstsChallenge Meetup at Meepleville, a board game cafe, here in Las Vegas.
In the process, I’ve come to really enjoy playing new board games and have discovered how beneficial they are to my well being, self-discovery, and social abilities.
This is a leap from how it was as a kid, I was quite a sore loser, as in a temper tantrum-throwing sore loser when I lost a board game. My stepmom wouldn’t have that so she told me I needed to learn how to lose. The concept of learning to lose did not compute with me. What was the point of playing a game if you didn’t play to win?
I didn’t understand then, what I do now. It is absolutely better to play, learn, and reap the benefits of playing, although you might lose than to not play at all.
The aim is still to win but winning isn’t everything – the benefits of learning are everything – especially as you get older.
The Benefits of Learning and Playing New Board Games
Identifying Your Process for Assessing Your Odds of Success
Playing board games, again, did bring back the distaste I have for losing. However, this time, being older and having lost and failed in life, I’m better equipped to understand what goes into the process of losing. Losing could mean being outwitted, outmatched, and out skilled, having a lack of information, abilities, and assistance or even not feeling lucky enough. The commonalities between losing at a game and failing at something in life are incredible.
However, losing at a board game offers a much lower cost (money, time, emotional toll) process for figuring out how to identify your belief system, shortcomings, weaknesses,and areas for improvement. The faster you understand how you stack up against what you need to do, game your playing, or opponents you’re facing – the better equipped you become to pivot, shift, and succeed.
Meet, Observe, and Study People While Being Social
Playing new board games with new people is an excellent way of being social while working on your observation and people skills. As previously mentioned above, learning, playing, and mastering (winning) at a game requires the application of who a person is and what they have to offer. Therefore, you can get to know a lot about a person simply by sitting down with them and playing a new board game.
You can find out how they process and apply information, formulate tactics, plan, how competitive they are, get insights into their thinking and logic, how they manage time, pressure, and even stress.
Exercise and Re-Wire Your Brain
As you already know, brain health and neuroplasticity are very important to me – to all of us – therefore, finding easy and fun ways to exercise the brain is key.
Breaking a new board game open and reading the directions of how to play exposes me, and most of us, to something that is not common in our lives. Unless you work in the technical job or do some other type of work that requires reading jibberish aka directions for a living – it is not the type of content your brain is used to processing.
Reading, grasping, understanding and applying directions is a skill. Too many people lack even the attention of span to listen to directions.
Playing new board games on a regular basis activates the requirement to read, understand, grasp, and apply directions. In return, this exercises your brain and re-wires it to stop being lazy, tuning-out, and not knowing how to implement directions.
As an adult, it’s entirely too easy to put ourselves and our brains on auto-pilot where we stop having to learn, be challenged or even simply engaged. The extremely low barrier of entry and level of fun to learning and playing a new board game makes it a logical monthly add to your list of first times and new experiences. And the beauty of it is, you’ll never run out of games.
So go ahead, find a Meepleville-like place in your town or start a game night at your house. The key is – play a new game each time you play and don’t worry – it’s impossible for you to run out of games.