Board Games vs. Video Games: Which is Better for Family Bonding?
September 21, 2023

In a world increasingly consumed by screens, family bonding seems to be more elusive than ever. While some families stick to traditional board games, others have shifted to the digital realm, exploring video games as a means of connection. It begs the question, which is better for family bonding: board games or video games? This article will dive into this compelling topic and unravel the pros and cons of each.

The Intangible Magic of Board Games

Board games offer an irreplaceable tactile experience. They invite members to sit face-to-face around a table, encouraging real-life interactions that modern life often deprives us of. Whether it’s rolling dice in Monopoly or strategizing in Settlers of Catan, these games require players to look each other in the eye, read physical cues, and respond in real time. Board games don’t offer the escape of anonymity; you have to be present, both mentally and emotionally. This physicality, this shared sense of space, fosters a unique closeness that’s hard to replicate digitally.

The Adaptive Nature of Video Games

Video games come with a different set of advantages, chiefly their adaptability and inclusivity. They transcend physical limitations, enabling family members to connect regardless of distance. Through online multiplayer platforms, families scattered across different locations can engage in the same activity in real-time. Video games can also accommodate varying skill levels and interests, thanks to the multitude of genres available. From cooperative adventures to competitive sports simulations, there’s something to engage every family member.

Skill Development and Educational Merits

Both mediums offer educational value. Board games often involve strategic thinking, problem-solving, and even basic math skills when keeping score or managing resources. On the flip side, many video games enhance hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness, and multitasking skills. They can also be more educational than they first appear; games like Civilization and SimCity teach players about history, economics, and urban planning.

Leveling the Social Playing Field

Video games can level the social playing field in ways board games can’t. They’re often easier to get into for those who might be socially anxious or less outgoing. The digital realm offers a layer of detachment that can make interaction more comfortable, allowing family members who might feel awkward or anxious in face-to-face settings to open up and truly engage.

The Nostalgia Factor and Accessibility

The nostalgia attached to board games is another factor to consider. They often bring back fond memories of childhood and simpler times, offering an emotional depth that’s unique to their physical form. Video games, while newer, also have nostalgia, especially for generations who grew up in the age of the arcade and the early console era. Yet, it’s worth noting that board games generally have fewer barriers to entry; they don’t require expensive hardware or the knowledge to operate them.


The debate between board games and video games for family bonding doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all answer. The physical intimacy of board games offers an invaluable space for emotional and social growth. Video games, on the other hand, bring adaptability, inclusivity, and a broad range of options to the table. Ultimately, the ideal medium for family bonding varies depending on the family’s needs, individual preferences, and circumstances.