These Aren't Your Average Board Games

Not Your Average Board Games

Summertime is nearly upon us. Soon, some of us will be riding our bikes, or perhaps cheering our family on as little ones engage in some fun summer sports. Beyond offering summer reading programs, how can librarians help to combat the infamous summer slide and keep patrons (especially children) coming in during the summer months? When it comes to enjoyable and engaging library programs, one need look no further than board games. Board games have the built-in advantage of combining learning with fun. 

Here are a few newer board games that libraries can offer to get the whole family involved.

In Wingspan, players take on the role of ornithologist to add a variety of birds to their aviary. Players learn about several different avian wonders as they “feed” their birds with custom dice, create combos, and collect egg miniatures. Released by Stonemaier Games in March 2019, Wingspan features 1-5 players and a playing time of 40-70 minutes. This is a perfect opportunity to teach players about nature, birds, and their habitats. Ages 10 and up. (Note: Due to high demand, this game is currently unavailable but will be back in stock in July; you can still preorder from retailers!)

All aboard the fun train for Ticket to Ride, from Days of Wonder. In this game, players collect cards of various train type and colors to claim railway routes in a cross-country race to earn the most points. Routes are claimed with colorful train cars players get to place on the board. Suitable for 2-5 conductors, each game lasts 30-60 minutes. This is a good way to teach kids how to strategize and be patient. Ages eight and up. For the younger set, try Ticket to Ride: First Journey, aimed at ages six and up.

Released in March 2019, Bad Maps, from Floodgate Games, is a programming board game that lets you piece maps together and send minions in search of treasure on an island filled with peril and promise. Each player acts as a pirate captain while following instructions in the hopes of finding treasure and winning the game. The game is played with 3-5 players, with a playing time of 30-60 minutes. This definitely checks some items off the STEM list. Ages 12 and up.

Looking for a storytelling board game that makes the player the hero or heroine of their own story? In Tales of the Arabian Nights, from Z-Man Games, players discover stories while gaining wisdom as they race to explore an adventurous world and be the first to fulfill their destiny. The game is designed for 2-6 players and lasts approximately two hours, providing a creative outlet for young storytellers. Ages 12 and up.

On the life skills side, there’s The Coping Skills Game, Revised, from Childswork/Childsplay. Children will have fun dealing with real-life situations as they learn to identify their feelings, adjust attitudes, verbalize their needs, and more. Featuring nine different coping strategies, this game is meant for 2-4 players. Ages 7-12.

The Stop, Relax & Think board game, also from Childswork/Childsplay, teaches vital skills to impulsive children, including motor control, self-expression, relaxation techniques, and problem-solving. Players collect chips as they roll the dice and complete the game’s Stop, Relax, and Think sections. Suitable for ages 6-12.

Bonus Parody Game for Adults: The Game of Life: Quarter Life Crisis

The goal is to pay off your $500K in debt before anyone else. This Hasbro parody game features Job, House, and Action cards. Featured situations include calling in sick to binge-watch TV, dropping your phone in the toilet, and more. This could be a good way to reintroduce adults to the wonderful world of board games. For 2-4 players, with each game lasting 15 minutes or more. Ages 12 and up.

Want to embrace the warm weather? You might consider hosting an outdoor board game get-together. Whatever your game of choice, board games help players practice patience, collaboration, strategy, and other essential life skills. So grab a game and get ready for some fun for all ages.

Board Game Geek 
8 Ways Board Games Teach Life Skills
Nerd Much?
Stonemaier Games – Wingspan
Z-Man Games – Tales of the Arabian Nights
Childswork/Childsplay – The Coping Skills Game