I came across an interesting piece from Rachel McAlpine at Write Into Life, where she conducted a survey for mostly older adults (50+) about board games and shared some of the responses.
Reading the article and seeing the results got me thinking and so, keeping the information that Rachel gathered in mind, I’ve come up with a list of three games that I think would work well for older gamers.
I’d like to preface this list by first acknowledging that I am aware that gaming tastes and abilities vary. I know there are some 50+ gamers who would thoroughly enjoy an eight hour session of Twilight Imperium and trounce everyone at the table. However, for the purposes of this list, I stuck more with the idea of games I would recommend to casual gamers or those who aren’t necessarily into the hobby. I also tried to make sure the games I chose are easily available either online or at a big box store.
So without further ado, here we go:
Patchwork is one of the first games that came to mind when I started creating this list. Not because the theme is one that could easily appeal to older gamers (although, that is certainly the case here), but because of a number of the things discussed in Rachel’s survey results.
The majority of the respondents said that a good board game can be played over and over again and always be different. This is certainly the case with Patchwork. It is highly, highly unlikely that in two games of Patchwork, you would ever build the same quilt.
The other features of a good board game as indicated by Rachel’s survey were clear rules and a reasonable playing time. Patchwork has a rather concise set of rules and is often cited as a good “gateway game” into the board gaming hobby. As well, games of Patchwork usually only take around 15-30 minutes maximum.
Just One is an extremely fun party game that I believe can appeal to just about everyone, gamers and non-gamers alike. It won the 2019 Spiel des Jahres, one of the most prestigious awards in board gaming.
Just One hits all the board game features above. With the endless amount of possible words to guess and the imaginations of the players, no two games would ever be alike. The game has very simple, easy to explain rules and games typically last around 20 minutes.
However, it was the responses to the second question of Rachel’s survey that made me include this game on this list. When asked what they enjoyed about playing games, the majority of the participants answered that they liked the social interaction, the mood, and the laughter. I think Just One provides all those things. You’re working together to try and solve the words, you’re constantly interacting, and sometimes the clues that are given are outright bizarre and hilarious.
The most common response the question of what the respondents disliked about certain board games was that they didn’t like games where it involved cheating or hurting each other. That immediately brought to mind the plethora of co-operative games out there, and I believe that Forbidden Island is probably one of the most accessible ones.
To win Forbidden Island, players all need to work together, so there is definitely no “take that” to it. I think that sense of co-operation also helps bring a good mood and a good sense of social interaction. As well, the rules are pretty straightforward and the game plays rather quickly. This was one of the very first hobby board games I was introduced to and while I was not very good at it, it was still an enjoyable experience.
So that’s it for my list of games that I think would work well for older gamers. What games would you include? Let me know in the comments.