Cheap Entertainment With Board Games


board games

If I had it my way, I would spend all my time researching stocks, watching CNBC, and writing new blog posts.  Thankfully though, I have a wife who isn’t as enthusiastic about these things.  She helps me step back into reality by reminding me to enjoy other areas of life as well.  One of these areas is playing board games.  It’s one of my favorite things to do these days.


Since we have a young son and going out tends to be a lot of effort, we gravitate towards staying in.  Most nights we are exhausted anyways.  So, we choose to relax in the comfort of our own home and opt for a fun, fast-paced game.


Exploding Kittens

cheap entertainment board gamesRight now, our favorite is Exploding Kittens.  It’s actually a card game, not a board game, but is nevertheless tons of fun.  The game is amazingly quick, taking around 15 minutes to play from start to finish.  We love that the game can’t drag on and on.  The basic premise behind the game is to avoid the Exploding Kitten card at all cost.  It’s a pretty easy game to pick up.  Even still, it’s interesting enough as there are all sorts of twists and turns that require strategy.  My friends that have played the game end up loving it as well, so I know we are not the only ones.


While we currently enjoy Exploding Kittens, my wife and I also scour Amazon to see if there are any other fun, highly-rated games out there.  In the past during holiday seasons, I’ve seen Amazon run a “Buy Two, Get One Free” deal.  We also scope out Craigslist and other sites to see if we can find these same board games gently used for even less.


Cost Value

board gamesOne of the best things for us about board games is they provide cheap, repeatable entertainment with an initial outlay of the cost of going to the movies.  I had three friends over the other night, and we played two different board games for four hours.  The best part was we got into probably 10 games within those four hours.  So, everyone was able to win at some point and stay engaged.


I loved Monopoly growing up but started to prefer Risk more as I got older.  However, after a decade of playing these games, I became a little burned out due to their length.  It wasn’t until I started to play Settlers of Cataan that my love of board games was rekindled.  


Benefits for Kids

board gamesOf course, my son is currently too young to play board games.  But as soon as he is old enough, I want to get him interested in them.  Learning board games is a fun way to learn how to “follow rules, focus, take turns and defer gratification, which helps with self-regulation, the basis of problem-solving and thinking creatively,” explains Peter J. Pizzolongo, the senior director of professional development at the National Association for the Education of Young Children.


Since many board games require multiple players, studies have shown that this helps children develop interpersonal intelligence skills.  This is due to the fact that the games involving competition and collaboration help the children understand and interact with others more effectively.


board gamesOne of the best things about playing board games is the benefits of exercising your brain and keeping your mind flexible and active.  The more complex the game is, the more you must actively strategize as `the game progresses.  It doesn’t help to capture your opponent’s pawn if it means that they will take your queen in the next move.  The ability to think ahead while playing games will hopefully help your kids think ahead in real life, too.


Rich People Like Games, Too

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates exercise their brains by playing Bridge.  In an interview with CBS, Warren Buffett said this about Bridge, “You have to look at all the facts. You have to draw inferences from what you’ve seen, what you’ve heard. You have to discard improper theories about what the hand had as more evidence comes in sometimes. You have to be open to a possible change of course if you get new information. You have to work with a partner, particularly on defense.”


The Stock Market as a Board Game

board gamesWhen I pick stocks, I research and analyze everything about the company until I have overwhelming evidence that I should add it to my portfolio.  In many ways, the stock market is the world’s biggest board, and investing is the ultimate game.  If I’m adding a stock to my portfolio, that means that someone is selling the stock.  So one of us is going to be right, while the other is going to be wrong, hence a winner and a loser.


Just like the stock market, information is constantly changing, and your luck can change in an instant even when you have done extensive analysis.  Right when you feel ready to give up, the stock market can quickly turn around and reach all-time highs, if you stay in the “game” for just a few more moves.


Do you play board games?  Have you noticed a connection between board games and investing?  Share your thoughts below.

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Welcome to the website. A mustard seed is a very small seed but astonishingly grows very large over time. My hope is that through your financial journey that your small investment in time, money and faith will grow beyond anything that you could ever imagine.


  1. We like board games a lot-it does help with all those things you quoted, and it also teaches them not to be a sore winner/loser. When they’re little and first start playing, you’ll hear bragging when they win and sometimes a tantrum when they lose. They have to learn the polite way to react in both cases.

    My kids actually have made their own board games! I spent this weekend playing a board game based on Monopoly with amiibos and printed money that my 9 year old created. He’s very proud of himself.

    I picked up “Ticket to Ride” at Target on sale for a Christmas gift this weekend-I’ve heard good things about it, so I’m looking forward to playing it with my kids.
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    • Wow that’s awesome that your child created their own board games. That’s super fun and definitely creative. I will definitely need to encourage my son when he’s old enough to try something similar.

      Thanks so much for sharing!!!

  2. We love game night! Our favorites are cranium and trivial pursuit.

    I like how you tie this into educating kids and picking stocks. Kids can be so isolated today by just playing games on an ipad. As you mention, board games are great at teaching kids rules and learning how to lose as well as how to win.

    Based on the Warren Buffett quote, you can see why he has been such a great stock picker. His quote about bridge can be directly applied to picking stocks. I don’t do a lot of investing in individual stocks, but when I do I try to gather as much information as possible. In the end you’re still making inferences about what will happen in the future, just like many card games and board games.
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    • Thanks for stopping by. I love cranium and trivial pursuit. Such fun games!!!

      We definitely hope our son will get some educational value while playing board games and it will be nice to have someone else to play with 🙂

  3. We like board games as well but most of our ability to play has stopped until the kids are old enough to not eat the parts. Still every time we get away from the house with friends we tend to end up playing. Added bonus is we tend to prefer types with some sort of economics bend, so when the kids come of age it might help to explain the concepts of saving for the bigger item and focusing on the means of producing (investing) in a fun way.
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  4. I’m a big fan of board games. I’ve played Exploding Kittens and had fun with that. I’m also a fan of Ticket to Ride. It’s longer game (although not on Monopoly level), but is a lot of fun.

    I had never really thought about the benefits of board games in educating children. You identify some really interesting thoughts there. Thanks for the information!
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  5. Great point about how board games can be so helpful developmentally for children. I too am looking forward to my little one becoming of age to enjoy them with me. I remember fondly playing the card game “memory” with my Grandma and also my parents.

    I haven’t heard of exploding kittens before though. At first I thought you were just making it up, but I guess it is a real game! 🙂 That might be a fun one to play over the holidays. Thanks!
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    • Oh man Exploding Kittens is so much fun. I was just playing it with my sister and brother in law and we were laughing up a storm as we played. It’s definitely a fun game. Hope you enjoy it!!!

  6. I haven’t played board games in a while, but they’re pretty fun at dinner parties. I definitely agree with the cost efficiency of games. I used to play video games when I was younger and it was great repeatable fun and so much cheaper than going to the movies.

    Haha love the Warren Buffet quote on bridge! I think a lot of successful investors play card games. Bill Gross played a lot of black jack in Vegas before he started PIMCO and David Einhorn is a big poker player as well.
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    • Wow I didn’t realize Bill Gross and David Einhorn played cards. That’s really interesting. Seems like a lot of relaly great investors enjoy cards. Thanks for sharing!!!

  7. Yes! We love games at our house. The kids aren’t as into “family game night” as they were when they were younger, but they still love to play (especially on holidays/vacations). I’ve heard good things about Exploding Kittens – it’s on the holiday wish list! I love Monopoly and Scrabble myself, but the a couple of games the whole family loves include Settlers of Catan, Saboteur and Love Letter.
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  8. I visit my 93 year old Nana about once a month. Every time I go there we break out the Rummikub game and have a tournament. 2 out of 3 or 3 out of 5 depending on the time. These are some of my favorite days of the year – time spent with her playing a game she taught me years ago.

    I have since tried to teach my BF and his kids but haven’t gotten any takers to play steadily. Instead, this year I started Geocaching. It’s free, get’s me outdoors, and makes me feel stealth like a spy or investigator. 🙂 I started geocaching to have something to do with the kids but they had no interest so I kept doing it alone. I love it!!
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    • I’ve heard Geocaching is super fun. My friend and his wife were big time into it and he ended up proposing to her once they reached their “destination.”

      Hopefully you can find some like minded people to do with you 🙂

  9. I think we can all use a little more ‘play time’ in our adult lives! I haven’t played many board games recently, but I do like poker. Not serious poker, but playing for small change. I can play video poker for hours at a casino on only $10. The funny thing is that I am not a gambler at all. I just like games that make you think. I think that is why I’m so good at math… every problem is like playing a game or solving a puzzle.

    On a side note… I know you wrote a post about this recently, but have you thought seriously about becoming a financial advisor or something similar so that you can make researching stocking, watching CNBC and writing posts your main job? You just seem so passionate about it, and isn’t that true success when we are getting paid for something we would do for free? 🙂
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    • I would love to be a financial advisor or some type of role like that. I’ve looked into it but haven’t found the right fit yet. So in the meantime I write and have a creative outlet here on the blog 🙂

      Thanks for sharing!!!

  10. Ha! I hadn’t heard about that Exploding Kittens game, but it has a hilarious name!

    I’m a Scrabble fan, and Lady Libre and I used to have some pretty epic games. I also used to play Risk from time to time. Both are fun brain games. Kinda like financial planning in their own ways, I guess. Neither, sadly, features felines. I have to check out this Kittens game!

    Thanks for the fun read, MSM!
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    • You’ll have to let me know when you play Exploding Kittens your thoughts. I think it’s a pretty simple game but has a lot of twists and turns that make it fun.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing!!!

    • Francesca – You have got to play and let me know what you think. My friends and I love it. Such a simple game to learn but so much strategy!!!

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  11. Board games are definitely a nice (and frugal) past time. Before Miss CF came around, we did do board games on a regular basis. But we have not touched any of them in a very long time…. Do need to plan an evening with card games with my high school mates again, that’s for sure!
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  12. Exploding kittens is definitely a new one! I’ll need to check that out. We played lots of board games when the kids were little. We like a good card game now and we have some frugal nights with friends playing cards during our at home “happy hours”. Euchre is the main thing we play and I remember learning it on Sunday’s at my grandparents house. You were “big” when they let you sit at the table and play a game! Great post!
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    • Oh wow I’ve never heard of Euchre but I am definitely going to look it up. I still remember when I “graduated” to the big people’s table and could play penny gin rummy. That was a big day for me 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing!!!

  13. We love board games too, we used to play quite often before our soon was born. When he gets a little older we will get back into it because I believe they really can keep the mind sharp. Plus anything to keep their eyes off of the tv screen and or a tablet for awhile. I have not heard of Exploding Kittens so thanks for the recommendation! Good quality time with family is priceless!
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    • I definitely agree with you that playing board games keeps the mind sharp. I love the strategy and thinking ahead of what your opponent may due.

      When my son gets old enough we too will be playing games as much as possible and keeping the TV unplugged as long as possible 🙂

  14. I don’t have the patience for many board games, but I do see the value in strategy like Chess and regular Monopoly and how that can translate into real life. My favorites were Monopoly Jr., Cashflow Jr. & we like “Ticket to Ride” as other commenters have mentioned. Of course I could play Trivial Pursuit or Wits and Wagers all day long.
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    • I remember as a kid I thought my Dad was a genius when he could answer all of the Trivial Pursuit questions.

      Now that I’m older I definitely want to show off to my son in the same way 🙂

  15. My daughter likes Monopoly, but we have to play in multiple short sessions (she’s 6). She needs a little help sometimes with the change aspect, but she’s memorized most of the rents. She and her dad currently have a game of No Stress Chess going (you draw cards to see which pieces you can move), which is a good way to teach her the game. We also play King of Tokyo and Go Fish.

    Needless to say, Santa will be bringing some new games this year so we can add some variety to our family game night.
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    • I hope Santa visits our house with some new board games as well 🙂

      I’ve never played King of Tokyo but heard some really great things about it. I might put that on my list.

      Thanks for sharing!!!

  16. I haven’t played board games in a while, but I grew up playing board games. I was very fond of Scrabble, Monopoly, and Connect Four. I also played a lot of checkers and chess and was actually a member of our chess club in high school! Yeah, I was a bit of a nerd back then… still am actually. I agree in that they are a cheap form of entertainment and can be good for “family bonding” time. Thanks for the great post!

    • You’ll have to let me know what you think of Exploding Kittens. We have a blast at our house.

      I’ll have to check out Scotland Yard.

      Thanks for the recommendation.

  17. YES! Board games are probably one of my favorite hobbies. I would play anytime. Exploding Kittens is a great little game. The creator of it runs which is hilarious, they also just closed a new kickstarter campaign for their newest game, which I’m on the list for.

    If you’re into short easy to learn and interactive games like exploding kittens, I’d recommend checking out Code names, One night ultimate werewolf and Spaceteam. All of them are max 20 mins, most <10 and tons of fun. I'd highly recommend all of them.

    If you ever need a good recommendation for board games let me know I can certainly suggest a few!
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    • Thank you so much for the recommendations Stephen. I will definitely check these games out. Plus with the holidays coming up I will definitely be adding them to my Christmas list 🙂

      Thanks so much for the recommendations!!!

  18. We absolutely love board games. I think I worked out that we were under £3 per game for pandemic (bought for £30), which is one of my favourites. All players play together against the board, so you all win or all lose. It’s great for working as a group. I think the skills you use in board games apply in lots of cases- taking risks, weighing up options, changing your plans, thinking strategically, etc.

    Not sure how old the little one is, but I’ve just got some ‘story cubes’ for my niece who is 5. 9 dice with different pictures on each face- just roll them and make up a story using all the pictures that come up. It’s for her birthday after Christmas so I can personally tell you what it’s like, but the reviews are overwhelmingly positive 🙂

    • My wife and I love Pandemic. We have a blast teaching it to friends and even play two player when we pull out the board games 🙂

      There are so many fabulous board games that we have to rotate through in order to play all of them. The good news though is we never get bored 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing!!!

  19. Man how epic is exploding kittens ;)? My girlfriend got her brother the game for Christmas and it was fun playing with it..

    Yeah I enjoy playing cashflow (the Kiyosaki one) and Monopoly and I agree that they do reflect investing to a large degree, it’s great to see the learning you can gain from them as well

    • Exploding Kittens is one of our favorites. My family had an epic game on Christmas eve and it’s definitely a family favorite 🙂

      Hope you and your family had a great Christmas!!!

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