When the weather is chilly and there’s snow on the ground, hibernation mode kicks in. I’d do anything to snuggle under a warm blanket and watch a movie or read; unfortunately, those activities can only do so much for my social life. Enter the board game, providing countless hours of fun without the heavy cost or the hassle of stepping outdoors. Besides, nothing warms your soul quite like charging your friends $1,200 for landing on your Marvin’s Gardens hotel. Entertainment, however, isn’t the only thing you can gain from a rousing game of “Risk” or “Scrabble.” These plastic- and cardboard-filled boxes are kind of like fortune cookies in disguise, offering many a life lesson — and minus the food baby!
Look Before You Leap
While you may be able to hit restart when you don’t get the angle quite right in “Angry Birds,” you don’t have that luxury with a regular board game. Each move matters, whether you’re deciding to go to college in “LIFE” or laying down a 30-point word that opens up the Triple Word score space in “Scrabble.” You need to keep your eyes open because there are no cheat codes, walkthroughs, re-rolls or repeats. When you have fewer opportunities to play it right, you need to know when to hold ‘em, when to fold ‘em, and when to walk away.
Patience and Perseverance, Young Grasshopper
The right moves take an awful lot of thought. If you’ve ever finished a game of “Risk” and you’ve got your eyes set on global domination, you know you’d better clear out your schedule. Building an empire takes time, especially if you start the game at a disadvantage; and sometimes, it can take a good 20 to 30 minutes before you can reinforce those armies again. You wouldn’t breeze through your senior project, would you?
It Isn't What You Know, It's Who You Know
When you’re crossing that newly-developed, hotel-laden stretch between “Go To Jail” and “Go,” you could be strolling on through instead of sweating over which properties you may have to mortgage. If you play your cards right, you may be able to work out a deal with another player — just like in real life, when knowing the right people can give you an unfair advantage. Similarly, when you’re looking for work, you might as well be as faceless as those “Trivial Pursuit” player pieces. Many students have similar qualifications and accomplishments. Your relationships matter, and they can make all the difference.
Say It Like You Mean It
It’s a difficult truth to swallow, but what you see may not exactly be what you get. If you learn to speak with confidence — or lie convincingly — then there may be more than a “Balderdash” victory in your future. Marketing matters. If you can convince a player that it would be ultimately beneficial to him to form an alliance or play up another opponent’s looming threat, then you’re one step closer to playing puppet master and making them bend to your every whim.
However, one of the most important things you’re ever going to learn is that life is unpredictable. Armies can fall with a roll of dice, you never know how many children "LIFE" is going to throw at you, and the community chest may bill you for street repairs. Sometimes you just have to cross your fingers, take a leap of faith, and give a little to get some.