This is a post that I have been extremely unsure in writing, but maybe it will help someone as much as it helped us.
My husband and I had some very unfortunate events happen to us this time last year. We were going through a rough custody case and ended up going several months without seeing our children. During that time, we had no clue what to do with ourselves… we went through a large amount of depression and the thing that helped the most was board games.
We played Ticket to Ride and Castle Panic like they were going out of style. I think it’s quite obvious that it didn’t fix the entire situation, but it was one heck of a coping mechanism and a healthy one at that. Board games exercised our minds and made us interact. I know that there were many days when my husband and I only wanted to curl up in balls and pretend like the world outside did not exist.
I know it most sound silly for me to say “if we can beat this game against all odds, surely we can put the pieces of our lives back together.” Something like that probably seems childish, but you know what it really was to us? Hope. It was a moment in our day where we could conquer this or that and have hope in our life. You’d be surprised at how far a small glimmer of hope can take you. No matter why you have that hope and how you got it, it becomes a powerful thing that can lead you out of your sadness and help you maintain sanity until the storm passes.
I can see how someone would doubt that board games could make that much of a difference, but it did for us.
If you are having a difficult time in life, board games are incredibly helpful. If you are frustrated by the way that things are going competitive games are great, like Ticket to Ride or King of Tokyo. The competitive nature of the games help let out the anger in a more productive manner, you can take a minute to strive hard to beat your competition and even if you do not win… it has taken some of the stress off of you.
If you are feeling alone or sad, cooperative games are perfect, like Castle Panic or Sentinels of the Multiverse. When you work together to reach a common goal, you automatically get a sense of closeness and it’s beautiful.
Our situation definitely called more for co-op games, although we did have our times when we wanted to compete.
We had many late nights with board games, tv shows in the background, and snacks by our side. The more we played our games, the more the two of us bonded. We started to consider board games part of our family and you know what? Well after we got our children back and that storm passed… board games are still part of our family. They’ve helped us bond with our children. We played board games with them before and after the custody battle and that is something that made the transition much easier on all of us. When we got them back, our board game nights made it feel like they were never gone.
Even now, when we have a stressful day or week we play board games to help overcome the stress. It works like a charm every time.
Having gone through sadness with and without board games, I can tell you that they really did make a difference. If you don’t try to relax you end up going through life so serious all of the time.
You know The Game of Life? While I can say that real life doesn’t quite happen the way that it does in that game, the creators weren’t entirely wrong in making a game called Life. I for one consider many pieces of real life to be like a game. I even make up “game plans” for stressful situations and more often than not I do manage to defeat the goblins or dragons and get prizes… like my car getting repaired.
Alright, now I’m just babbling and probably not making a whole lot of sense. My point is that board games are perfect for escaping life for a bit. You can be someone else, lead a different life… for however long it takes you to complete that game and it’s wonderful. I realize that these are things that you can also do in books and video games, but holding a controller is vastly different from moving your game pieces around the board or rolling actual dice as opposed to flicking the controller or tapping a screen.
In all honesty I can’t sit here and tell you for sure that board games will make as big of a difference in your life as they have mine, but what I can tell you is it never hurts to try. The games you play do not have to be the ones I’ve mentioned in this blog. Go out and try Jenga, Monopoly, or even Uno. Don’t let the stresses of life beat you down, take your dice and roll as best as you can. Until next time… Live by the Board.