I want to talk a little bit about how non traditional board games can bring everyone just a little bit closer, and maybe even encourage people who thought that they couldn’t- or shouldn’t get into this hobby. Tabletop gaming changes and improves people’s lives in too many ways to really count. There is an army of gamers that will tell you about the various effects that games have had on their lives. I myself am among those ranks.
Inclusion is defined as “ the action or state of including or of being included within a group or structure.” It is a practice that teachers and other educators are using to teach children how to learn to live with each other on equal and friendly terms. Most importantly, it’s something the gaming community has been doing since the dawn of its existence.
I proposed to my wife while playing DnD 3.5 (out of character but still). I’ve reconnected with friends because of games, met new people, and now I’ve even built my own website to share my hobby with the world. Most importantly though, games shaped my young life and helped teach me how to cope with ADD.
I’m going to hop up on my soap box for a little bit and talk about myself. I was in the fifth grade when I was diagnosed with ADD, and at my time not too many people really knew about disabilities like this. My parents didn’t know what was wrong when my tests were written perfectly, but the last five questions were just guesses. They did not understand my social problems and how hard it was for me to get along with other kids. I was simply too much and I couldn’t understand why I was being bullied and ignored. Almost as bad as the bullying, I was being told that there was something wrong with me and I had to take pills to get better. Don’t get me wrong- my parents weren’t jerks or insensitive, it was just something we all had to learn about. I didn’t get it though, I mean I didn’t think I felt bad or that there was anything wrong with me. I had to find a way to learn about myself and how to be me without being an annoying little twerp (haven’t mastered that yet). Gaming, good friends, and my relationship with God literally saved me. Don’t worry I’m not trying to be political, I mean I wrote the tenants in our about page. Just giving credit where it’s due. See my problem is seen by people as minor by normal standards and there are so many issues that all sorts of people are working on that I can’t even shine a light on. There are three truths that can help anyone with or without these problems though. Gaming is meant for everyone, gaming is meant for fun, and gaming is meant to bring people together. I truly believe those three truths to the core of my being.
Alright (puts away soap box) let’s get into this whole thing and talk about what gaming means for inclusion. I was inspired by a website called Pathofplay.com to write this article and hopefully I will be able to give more to my community as I continue writing for the Nerd Blog Collective. Right now the best way for me to help is to talk about gaming’s affect on my life and the impact I think it can make.
Now I wasn’t always a tabletop gamer. That is a relatively recent part of my life but I’ve always been a gamer. Games helped me talk to people while at the same time stimulating my interests and focusing my conversation. They gave me a platform to engage people. That was so important for me in helping me to learn how people worked, and to harness my energy to be constructive. Non traditional board games offer this to people.
Board games encourage thought patterns of all kinds. Depending on the game you play there are types of thinking that start at strategic to social. From a board game perspective you have coordination games like Flick It Up that works on hand eye coordination, strategic games like Ticket to Ride or other euro games, social games like Secret Hitler, or just plain up dice rollers like King of Tokyo. All of these games and more teach opponents to analyze and understand each other. Games use these thought processes in combination with engaging settings to create that very same social platform that I used to overcome my own hurdles and make lasting bonds.
While I learned to interact with the world around me and develop my mind, the most precious people in my life are the people who can understand my mind in it’s natural chaotic environment. I can guarantee you that games, in part, brought those people close to me. All games create a critical component by engaging different types of thinking. To win a game, cooperative or otherwise, players have to understand their opponents to win.This works towards inclusion on the most important level. It has to work both ways. Inclusion isn’t about bringing people up to speed with other people, and it’s not about teaching people to think about reaching down to others. Inclusion is about people having genuine engagements that support an environment where people feel respected, loved, understood, and safe with everyone around them. Board games and tabletop games allow us to engage each other in critical ways that are hard to find in other environments.
With board games we can create this safe social, and mental place where people can learn from each other. Together we can create a place for people to learn how to live with each other in a way that’s second nature. I know that games can be a major step in that direction too. I encourage anyone reading this to try and prove me wrong. Go to your local board game shop, ask the manager for help and buy a game, and then play it. Play it with anyone who wants to. Set up game nights and play with your friends, parents, kids, neighbors, or whoever you can think of and see what happens. There is a game out there for anyone who wants to play. It’s just waiting for you to pick it up.
What do you think about games role with inclusion? Do you have any board games that really bring the table together? Let us know in our comment section below! If you have anything you want us to talk about then let us know in our Contact Us page or look us up on social media @nblogcollective. Feel free to share our article with the links below and as always,