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in: Diversions, Hobbies, Podcast, Travel & Leisure

April 8, 2020

Podcast #600: What Board Games Teach Us About Life

Board games have long been a source of social activity and family entertainment. But my guest today makes the case that board games can be more than just a way to while away the time, and can also offer insights about relationships, decision making, and the changing currents of culture. His name is Jonathan Kay and he’s a co-author of the book Your Move: What Board Games Teach Us About LifeWe begin our conversation discussing the board game renaissance that has taken place in the past twenty years and how today’s board games are much more nuanced, complex, and arguably more fun than the classic games you probably played as a kid. Jonathan and I then discuss how the evolution of the board game Life can give us insights into our culture’s changing ideas of virtue and how board games often reflect the attitudes of a given time. We then discuss what cooperative games like Pandemic tell us about how to handle overbearing people and how the game Dead of Winter highlights the way private interests often conflict with group interests. Jonathan then shares why Monopoly is such a divisive game and whether board games can teach resilience. At the end of the show, Jonathan gives his personal recommendations for board games to check out that are way better than the chutes and ladders type games you played growing up.

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Show Highlights

  • The board game renaissance of the last couple decades and how they’re different from the games of the mid-20th century
  • The surprising WWII legacy and response of modern board games 
  • How board games explore and inculcate a culture’s values 
  • Games and negotiating 
  • What the game Pandemic can teach us right now in the midst of a real pandemic 
  • What games teach us about group dynamics 
  • The rise of cooperative games 
  • Why does Monopoly cause such strong opinions? What are its inherent flaws?
  • The real life lessons that board games can teach even adults 

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

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Jonathan on Twitter

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