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16 Fun Board Games that Exercise Your Brain And Make You Smarter

16 Fun Board Games that Exercise Your Brain And Make You Smarter

Games are generally considered to be mere entertainment devices. But anybody who knows anything about board games can tell you that the best games are the ones that are both fun and give your brain a workout. This is hardly surprising considering that fellow geeks are generally the ones creating them. With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of some of the most intelligent and fun board games on the market:

1. Ticket to Ride

Photo Credit: www.orientexpresswriters.wordpress.com

    Number of players: 2-5 people

    Time: 30-60 minutes

    How to play: Players need to collect train car cards to claim railway routes across the map. The longer the routes, the more points they earn. Additional points come from fulfilling destination tickets that connect distant cities. There are a variety of editions now out, each mapping a different country, continent or area of the world. My favorites are the original USA and Märklin maps, respectively.

    Why it’s fun: The rules the game is not complicated so you can play it with your family and friends of all ages. Also, it’s an exciting game as you have to act quickly so that you can occupy the ideal routes on the map!

    How it’s good for your brain: It’s a game that can train up player’s strategic and logical thinking skills. Also, some of the maps are historical so you can build upon your knowledge of geography in the past and present days by playing the game.

    Rating: 4.8/5 (from 3483 Amazon customers)

    Price: $30.95

    Online version: https://www.daysofwonder.com/online/

    2. Risk

    Photo Credit: www.freshnessmag.com

      Number of players: 2-5 people

      Time: 120-180 minutes

      How to play: Players take turns to use their myriad of army units to attack each other, take over territories and fortify their existing ones. To win in the game, players may also need to form or dissolve alliance with each other strategically to maximaize their occupation of territories.

      Why it’s fun: The game is a great imitation of warfare in which you make all sorts of decisions promptly. It’s pretty hard to predict who is the winner as the game is a combination of strategy and luck. So you need to fight till the last moment to know the result!

      How it’s good for your brain: Risk will definitely give your brain a work out because—like so many other games on this list—it’s all about strategy. It also builds your logical thinking and decision-making skills because everything you do has consequences. As such, the ’cause and effect’ gameplay is highly beneficial to building your intelligence.

      Rating: 4.4/5 (by 113 Amazon customers)

      Price: $19.89

      Online version: http://www.pogo.com/games/risk

      3. Puerto Rico

      Photo Credit: www.ageofgods.com

        Number of players: 3-5 people

        Time: 90 minutes

        How to play: Puerto Rico is a role-playing game. Players take turn to draw a role card, like “traders” and “builders”, and have to take actions appropriate to the role. The one who can make the best use of different roles to gain the most resources to either export goods or construct buildings will be the winner.

        Why it’s fun: There are a variety of ways for you to trump your competitors in the game. You can choose to produce a lot of goods, keep constructing buildings or striking a balance between these two for victory. So you will never feel the same way even you play several rounds of the game in a row!

        How it’s good for your brain: Being a strategy game, Puerto Rico is great for developing your strategic skills. It forces you to think ahead and weigh up the consequences of your decisions. In addition, the game has a fair amount of rules and gameplay that you have to get your head around, which helps strengthen your mental capacity and multi-tasking skills.

        Rating: 4.6/5 (by 398 Amazon customers)

        Price: $29.48

        Online version: https://en.boardgamearena.com/#!gamepanel?game=puertorico

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        4. Carcassonne

          Number of players: 2-5 people

          Time: 15-30 minutes

          How to play: At its core Carcassonne is a game in which players need to place tiles depicting a French landscape. They also have “meeple” that they can use to claim castles, land and roads.

          Why it’s fun: It is a simple game that people of all ages can easily pick up. But to be a master strategist of this game, you need to identify the traps and possible wrong decisions you might make throughout the process.

          How it’s good for your brain: The game requires players to think logically about their decisions, particularly when it comes to meeple placement, as well as to strategize against their fellow players.

          Rating: 4.8/5 (by 298 Amazon customers)

          Price: $49.99

          Online version: http://www.brettspielwelt.de/Spiele/Carcassonne/?nation=en

          5. Pandemic

          Photo Credit: www.digiboardgames.com

            Number of players: 2-4 people

            Time: 60 minutes

            How to play: Unlike other board games, this game requires players to be cooperative instead of competitive. Each player will play the role of dispatcher, medic, scientist, researcher and operations expert respectively. The ultimate goal is to find out the cures before the four deadly diseases break out in the world.

            Why it’s fun: It is a difficult game. Players can hardly find out the cures successfully in the first few attempts. But it is an interesting experience for you and your family and friends to put your heads together to figure out something intellectually challenging.

            How it’s good for your brain: As well as helping you to build your problem-solving and strategic skills, Pandemic teaches players teamwork and cooperation. This may not sound like a way to make you smarter, but interpersonal skills and the ability to cooperate and compromise are imperative to most jobs in the real world. Overlooking social-skill builders isn’t particularly intelligent.

            Rating: 4.8/5 (by 1941 Amazon customers)

            Price: $27.02

            Online version: http://www.addictinggames.com/strategy-games/pandemic2.jsp

            6. Chronology

            Photo Credit: www.amazon.com

              Number of players: 2-8 people

              Time: 120 minutes

              How to play: The aim of the game is to be the first to collect 10 timeline cards, each of which contains an historical event and the year in which it occurred. During your turn, you take a new card and put it in the correct chronological position within your own timeline. If you are correct, you keep the card. If you’re wrong, the next player can attempt to place it in their timeline.

              Why it’s fun: The level of difficulty of this game will increase as it progresses as the time gaps between historical events narrow. So it is a game with implicit time constraint – the earlier you get more cards put in the right chronological order the better!

              How it’s good for your brain: 

              Rating: 4.7/5 (by 147 Amazon customers)

              Price: $17.24

              7. Dixit

              Photo Credit: www.escapadedirect.com

                Number of players: 3-6 people

                Time: 30-60 minutes

                How to play: Dixit requires players to take turns being the Storyteller, who then makes up a sentence about one of the cards in their hand. Other players then select a card from their hands that they think best matches the aforementioned sentence. The cards are then shuffled, displayed face up and players have to decide which was the Storyteller’s.

                Why it’s fun: You will keep being surprised by how vague the cards you hold. And it is fun to hear how other players tell stories through the vague cards they hold!

                How it’s good for your brain: You have to be creative and original with your explanations and card choices, as well as make sometimes difficult decisions. As such, you’re required to utilize both the right and left sides of your brain. In addition, the game also requires you to read other people, which helps to build your emotional intelligence.

                Rating: 4.6/5 (by 685 Amazon customers)

                Price: $24.97

                Online version: http://www.boiteajeux.net/jeux/dix/dix_aide_en.php

                8. Guillotine

                  Number of players: 2-5 people

                  Time: 30 minutes

                  How to play: Players need to draw two decks of card, which are “nobles” and “actions”. Sending the nobles cards to the guillotine is how players can gain points. But with the actions cards, players can disrupt the order and even steal cards from each other and make the result unpredictable.

                  Why it’s fun: Despite being a relatively light-hearted game (regardless of the macabre topic) players need to use their cunning and strategy skills to try and execute the most people. Charming, I know.

                  How it’s good for your brain: 

                  Rating: 4.7/5 (by 587 Amazon customers)

                  Price: $11.99

                  9. Telestrations

                    Number of players: 8 people

                    Time: 60 minutes

                    How to play: Each player gets a card with a secret word and draw something to represent the word on their sketch book. Then they pass their book to the player on the left and they need to guess what is drawn on the book they receive. This process rotates for several rounds. When everyone gets back their own book, they can see how things change created by miscommunication.

                    Why it’s fun: You and your family and friends can’t help laughing when you compare how the last picture can be different from the original one.

                    How it’s good for your brain: This game is a great boost of your creativity as you need to make use of your imagination power to describe some difficult and vague words shown on the cards and guess what others are drawing.

                    Rating: 4.8/5 (by 1526 Amazon customers)

                    Price: $24.29

                    10. Power Grid

                    Photo Credit: www.themineshaftgap.com

                      Number of players: 2-6 people

                      Time: 60 minutes

                      How to play: The aim of Power Grid is to supply power to the most cities. To do this you mark preexisting routes between cities for connection, and then bid against each other to purchase the power plants. You must also acquire raw materials to power these plants. Problems may arise if you expand too fast and miss out on new technology.

                      Why it’s fun: How it’s good for your brain: the game requires you to weigh up options logically and strategically, as well as deal with the potential fallouts of your decisions. This makes it a beneficial game for people like me who find it difficult thinking even a single step ahead and deduce that the best course of action is: “BUY EVERYTHING NOW, YOLOLOL

                      Rating: 4.7/5 (by 332 Amazon customers)

                      Price: $31.57

                      Online version: http://www.brettspielwelt.de/Spiele/Funkenschlag/?nation=en

                      11. Agricola

                      Photo Credit: www.vendetta-gaming.com.au

                        Number of players: 2-5 people

                        Time: 120 minutes

                        How to play: In Agricola you’re a farmer who’s responsible for feeding your family as well as building and expanding your land. You will lose in the game if you have trouble feeding your family so you need to compete with time and produce as many foods as possible in the game.

                        Why it’s fun: The complexity of the game makes you feel like you’re running a real farm, and variables that can affect the result keep coming out throughout the process.

                        How it’s good for your brain: The game is actually quite complex and requires a great deal of strategic planning and resource juggling for you to be successful. This makes it great for logical thinking and building problem-solving skills. In addition, it will help you to learn to multi-task and think ahead.

                        Rating: 4.6/5 (by 528 Amazon customers)

                        Price: $43

                        Online version: http://playagricola.com/Agricola/Board1/Agricola.html

                        12. Dohdles! What’s that?!

                          Number of players: 3-6 people

                          Time: 60 minutes

                          How to play: Players sculpt the shape of an object or a living thing with the modeling clay and need to guess what the Dohdles other players make represent.

                          Why it’s fun: It’s interesting to see how the imagination of you and your loved ones are demonstrated through their “masterpieces”!

                          How it’s good for your brain: This game is good exercise of your imagination.

                          Rating: 4.2/5 (by 42 Amazon customers)

                          Price: $26.5

                          13. Twixt

                            Numbers of Players: 2 people

                            Time: 30 Mintues

                            How to Play: Two players take turn in placing their pegs in any vacant holes on the board and you can add or remove your own links between pegs. Each of the member tries to block the other player from connecting one’s two sides of row and the first one who did will win.

                            Why it’s fun? It is easy to understand and could be play by kinds from 11-12 and it does not take much time, perfect for those who get boring easily.

                            How it’s good to your brain? This helps improves your logical and strategic skills as you would have to think about how every move will be and should be connected  from the start of the game.

                            Ratings: 4.5/5 (from 47 Amazon customers)

                            Price: $29.99

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                            Online Version: http://twixtlive.com/Play.aspx

                            14. Diplomacy  

                              Numbers of Players: 2-7 people

                              Time: 360 minutes

                              How to Play: Every player represents the seven European countries, and are required to use their armies and fleets to conquer as many European countries as possible.

                              Why it’s fun? The game involves a lot of history and geography about Europe and players will have to decide for themselves to trust or to lie before the start of or in a war.

                              How it’s good to your brain? It is not difficult to know how to play the game and it requires one’s logical and strategic skills as well in order to form possible alliances with other countries etc to train their own thinking before making any move.

                              Ratings: 4.5/5 (from 128 Amazon customers)

                              Price: $29.99

                              Online Version: http://www.playdiplomacy.com/

                              15. Mythos

                                Numbers of Players: 1-10 people

                                Time: 45 minutes

                                How to Play: You are the investigators who need to complete the story of a crime without oing insane. You draw 13 cards from 52 cards and stock your deck with at least 20 points of stories. When you completed the tasks required for a card, you gain points for ‘sanity’ and than when cards ran out, you come out and draw 13 cards more.

                                Why it’s fun? It is a story investigation which might easily trigger players’ interests and opponents can actually intervene with their moves making the game very interactive and fun.

                                How it’s good to your brain? One would have to use their logical skills to guess out the story of the crime and think of the ways to intervene their moves to keep them from winning.

                                Ratings: 4/5 (from 6 Amazon customers)

                                Price: $45

                                Online Version: http://www.riseofmythos.com/

                                16. Squad Leaders

                                  Numbers of Players: 2 people

                                  Time: 60 minutes

                                  How to Play: You are the leader of a squad in WWI who needs to make instant decisions regarding on the life and deaths of numerous of soldiers

                                  Why it’s fun? It portrays the days back in WWII and one might be able to experience the intensity and difficulties in being a leader in the army back then

                                  How it’s good to your brain? It is not an easy game and requires a lot of thinking from the player as he or she will need to consider about the rules for morale, leadership, demo changes and smoke etc

                                  Ratings: 4/5 (from 4 Amazon costumers)

                                  Price: $27.99

                                  Online Version: http://www.battle-board.com/minisl/

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                                  Tegan Jones

                                  Tegan is a passionate journalist, writer and editor. She writes about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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                                  Last Updated on August 10, 2020

                                  8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life

                                  8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life

                                  The importance of effective goal setting cannot be overstated on our personal journeys towards success. This is why there are countless articles out there on how to set your own SMART goals and even why it’s a skill commonly taught to a small degree in classrooms.

                                  Learning the importance of goal setting and the benefits of sticking to those goals can be the defining factor determining whether we truly embrace the importance of goal setting. The more willing we are to embrace this method, the more likely we become to reach our personal definitions of personal and professional success.

                                  Thus, today’s article is going to walk you through some of the benefits you’ll see from learning to set goals for yourself and answer the question, “why is goal setting important?”

                                  1. Goals Guide and Align Our Focus

                                  It’s hard to get to where you want to be in life if you don’t know what you’re aiming for. Some people believe avoiding goals means living a more care-free life. How many times have you heard the phrase “If I have no expectations, then I can’t be disappointed”?

                                  But is that really what our lives have come to? Living just to avoid disappointment? It doesn’t seem like an overly optimistic view in my opinion. And since you’re reading this article, I’m willing to bet that you agree with me.

                                  Without goals, we lack a degree of direction and focus. Sure you may be able to avoid disappointment, but just avoiding disappointment doesn’t mean you are necessarily happy.

                                  Without goals, we will pointlessly waste our time, energy, and efforts. Listen to anybody who is the top of their field and they’ll tell you something like this,

                                  “Yes talent is important, but often your success depends much more on what you decide to do with that talent.”

                                  And what you will do with your talent largely depends on your focus.

                                  Your goals give you direction. Your goals give you something to shoot for. This direction and target you create in your mind will help you to progress towards your main life goals rather than simply wander around aimlessly. These goals will help you align your actions and behaviors as you continue moving forward.

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                                  So, why is goal setting important? Because it gives you direction, alignment, and purpose!

                                  2. Goals Help You Avoid ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’

                                  Basically, shiny object syndrome is always being in pursuit of the next big thing, constantly switching your goals based on what you feel is most fun and interesting at the given moment, but never actually giving yourself time to accomplish any of those goals.

                                  You don’t get anywhere because you continually change the direction you are heading in. This is one of the consequences that may result if you decide to live a life without goals.

                                  Your goals can sometimes help you to create mental barriers, or blinders, that help you to remain focused on what you think is important and avoid the things that are second priority. When you outline goals for yourself, you are better able to avoid things that distract you from achieving and accomplishing those goals.

                                  Setting goals helps you to step around the other shiny objects because you’ve taken the time to make some mental notes that remind you what it is that you want from your life. Your goals act as subconscious deterrents to anything less than your main priorities. This is what helps you to reach your personal definition of success.

                                  So, why is goal setting important? Because not only do goals tell you what you want from life, but they also help you realize what you need to give up and avoid to achieve that.

                                  3. Goals Turn Our Largest Goals into Manageable Steps

                                  A lot of us have big hopes and dreams. It’s one of the things that make our lives exciting!

                                  But a lot of us never take the time to figure out how we can effectively get from point A to point B. So, sadly, we never fully achieve those goals. We look at our dreams and convince ourselves that only a select few people ever achieve them, so we write ourselves off as people not meant to reach that level of success. Looking at the end product of a goal can be intimidating, daunting, and discourage us from even pursuing them.

                                  Thankfully, goal setting helps us break large intimidating goals into smaller ones. These small steps and more achievable goals will help us to build momentum and will encourage us to keep working towards the next phase of our goal. The form the foundation from which we can begin building the life that we truly hope to have for ourselves, our families, and may even for our communities depending on how big your goals are!

                                  Whenever I get talking about this aspect of goal setting, I can’t help but think about the mountain climbing analogy, and that the easiest way to climb a mountain is simply step by step.

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                                  So, why is goal setting important? Goal setting gives you a list of manageable steps that you can take in order to take your life from where it is now to where you want it to go both effectively and efficiently.

                                  4. Goals Encourage You to Take Action

                                  This builds on the last benefit of goal setting. Not only does effective goal setting help you break down your larger goals into smaller, more manageable ones, but it also encourages you to actually begin taking action on those goals. After all, a plan is completely worthless if you aren’t willing to invest the effort required to execute it.

                                  Setting your goals and putting your plan in place motivates you to begin taking action towards achieving them. These goals give you something to plan and work towards. Essentially, they help propel you forward.

                                  What I like to do is write out and place my goals somewhere that I’ll regularly see them. This constantly serves as a reminder of my top priorities. It allows me to focus on taking small progressive actions towards achieving these goals daily.

                                  This ensures that I don’t fall into the trap of setting a goal, beginning to work towards it for a while, but then having my motivation fade resulting in me falling off track. This is exactly what many people see happen when it comes to their “New Year’s Resolutions.”

                                  If you want to learn about how to take action towards achieving your goal, here’s how: How To Take Action Towards Your Goals Right Now

                                  So, why is goal setting important? Because goal setting actually motivates you to stop thinking about your goals and actually get out there and achieve them!

                                  5. Goal Setting Helps You Continually Improve

                                  This is something that a lot of personal development and self-improvement writers talk about, continual improvement. For those of you who are not aware of the term, continual improvement is exactly what it sounds like — taking small steps towards improvement as frequently as you can to develop into the person you want to become.

                                  What’s the point in improving a little bit each day if you’re not improving in the areas that you want to improve in after all?

                                  The goals that you define for yourself will inevitably shape you into the person who you want to become. They’ll shape your character. Your goals can help you measure your progress as you strive for this type of development.

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                                  Essentially, having goals helps you determine where you started, where you are now, and how much further you need to go. In this manner, your goal setting can serve as milestones and benchmarks that help you determine how well you’re progressing towards your most important goals!

                                  So, why is goal setting important? Goal setting helps you make improvements each day that will slowly transition you into the person you want to become.

                                  6. Goal Setting Keeps You Accountable

                                  Not only does setting goals help you measure your progress, but it also is a means through which you can keep yourself accountable. Too many goals fail because they lack this crucial aspect of outlining accountability.

                                  For example, if I have the goal to do 50 push-ups, that’s great. Most people would support that goal. However, this goal lacks accountability. When do I want to accomplish this goal by and what steps do I take to get there? These are important questions that the original goal leaves unanswered.

                                  A much more descriptive and specific goal could be to do 50 push-ups within the next 3 months by starting at 5 push-ups, and then adding 5 each week. This goal outlines the deadline as well as the steps I’m going to take to achieve it. This plan will keep me accountable because if I fail to retain my progression schedule, I will know that I’m not going to achieve the goal on time.

                                  Additionally, it can serve as a marker helping to signify when something is impeding my progress that I may not have initially accounted for. This tells me that I need to re-evaluate what I’m doing and figure out what adjustments I can make to facilitate my success.

                                  So, why is goal setting important? Setting goals is key to keeping ourselves accountable and on-track towards accomplishing our goals according to the schedules and deadlines we set for ourselves.

                                  7. Goals Make You Feel Good

                                  Trust me, the progress you feel as you set and achieve goals can become super motivating and super addicting (in a good way)! The dopamine release you get from achieving your goals is like a little reward for our brains that continually motivates us to try and hit that next goal!

                                  Having some clearly defined goals will help you to feel better about yourself and your life in general, especially when you stick to those goals, actively work towards achieving them, and end up accomplishing and surpassing your initial expectations. I’m not the oldest book on the shelf myself, but I can attest that there are not many feelings quite like the one you experience when you truly get on a roll!

                                  Additionally, our goals give us an endpoint to shoot for. Rather than progress for progress’s sake, you can actually see where you’re heading! That’s so much more rewarding. Think about a long car trip as a kid. You ask “if you’re there yet?” ever 20 minutes. It seems like the drive drags on forever.

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                                  If you don’t know where you’re going, you risk the journey becoming tedious. It doesn’t tend to be much fun wandering around aimlessly. Goals make us feel good about where we’re directing ourselves.

                                  So, why is goal setting important? Because setting goals and accomplishing them plain and simply make us feel better about ourselves and our lives!

                                  8. Goals Help You Live Your Best Life

                                  I’ve talked a lot in this article about how goal setting helps us progress towards our top priorities and live the way we truly want to live. So I think it’s fit to end the article with this goal because, in the end, I feel it’s the most important one.

                                  Setting your goals and clearly defining what they mean to you will help you live a life that is tailored to your beliefs and values. Your life will become directed towards the things that you most want to achieve.

                                  Life is a tricky game and only in very rare circumstances are things handed to us on a silver platter. Often it takes a great degree of work, planning, and effortful execution of both.

                                  There is no point clinging on to things in your life if they don’t bring you happiness or help you accomplish something that, in some way, aligns with your goals.

                                  Simply put, setting goals helps us live a life that allows us to pursue the challenges and rewards that we truly want to achieve.

                                  So, why is goal setting important? Because our time is always limited, and setting clearly defined goals can help ensure that you make the most of your life and live to the fullest! Find out more here: How to Use SMART Goal to Become Highly Successful in Life

                                  Final Thoughts

                                  These are just a few of the benefits of goal setting that outline why it truly is so important. If you take a moment or two, I bet that you can even think of a few more benefits yourself that you could add to this list.

                                  If I could leave you with something, it would be this:

                                  Goal setting has the potential to take us to some amazing places in life because we all have talent and ambitions. To achieve your biggest dreams, you need to be willing to sit down and create a life design uniquely tailored to you that will help you achieve them!

                                  More Tips About Goals Setting

                                  Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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