The Board Game Makes a Comeback, and College Students Rejoice!

By Jennifer Sung

In the 21st century, there are different forms of entertainment for college students. Whether it be deep late night conversations at 3am on a school night or binge watching a Netflix tv show, the majority of college students spend most of their time bumping up their social life. Once greatly underrated, playing board games became popular recently as another form of entertainment amongst college students. Amongst the many, there are three board games that have been placed at the top of most recommendation lists: Codenames, Settlers of Catan, and Avalon. All of these board games aim to stimulate teamwork, cognition, decision making, logical reasoning, and the ability to work in social contexts.

Codenames is a word associated game that encourages cleverness and creativity. Codenames was labeled as the 2016 Game of the Year. Everyone is split into 2 teams, and is given a handful of words to describe to the other team. The “spymasters” for each team need to give one word clues that group up meanings or hint at one or more words that the rest of the team need to decode. This game tests the closeness, the teamwork, and the communication skills of the group. There are two versions of this game (uncensored vs censored). The uncensored version utilizes more adult-appropriate words that seem to be more popular amongst college students. The censored version is a more family-orientated game.

Settlers of Catan is a game that gambles luck, strategy, and decision making. The board is different depending on the initial roll, placement of the boards, and the actions of the other players. Fairly different from other games, this game has everyone involved on every turn. Anyone is eligible to receive a resource each time the dice are rolled, no matter who rolls. Additionally, everyone is allowed to trade with the current player rolling the die. This game is about trading sheep, wood, bricks, and wheat to build roads, houses, buildings, and cities. The goal is to monopolize the resources and other players to win the game. This amount of time spent on this game varies from 30 minutes to even 2 hours. This game is all about player interaction, replayability, and a beautiful mix of luck and strategy.

One of my favorites, The Resistance: Avalon requires decision making, ability to trust, and intense replaying of logical thinking. The game pits the forces of Evil and Good in a battle of controlling the future of civilization. This game includes multiple roles, each of which are given limited  knowledge of the other player’s roles. The goal of the Good is to win on the board, by succeeding the missions, through assurance of having Good people on their mission over the Bad. The goal of the Bad is to either win on the board by tricking the other players of entrusting them in succeeding with their mission, or to assassinate the Merlin of the Good group. The Merlin knows all the identities of the Bad people, and has the role to not only hide one’s identity, but also hint at his/her own people.

So, if you’re low on “going out” funds or you just simply want a low key pleasant night at home with friends, try out some of these player favorites. International students – playing these games are a great way to practice your English conversation skills too!

Jennifer is a rising senior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Education and Society & Public Policy and Law. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Jennier had the opportunity to learn, flourish, and prosper as a first-generation college student within the greatly diverse inner cities of LA. Currently, she dedicates most of her time to her favorite service organizations: Asian American Tutorial Project (AATP) and CircleK International. In the future, she hopes to either teach students in lower socio-economical communities and help balance out the opportunity gap within different socio-economical communities through law and policy, or focus and strengthen her knowledge in psychology, mainly on Social and Developmental Psychology.