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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.
Right 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.
One 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
Of 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.
One 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
When 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.