TDmonthly Magazine!
December 2023 | Vol. XXII - No. 12


The Rise of Adult Board Games

The world of entertainment has been taken by storm by the resurgence of adult board games. These games are characterized by their complex mechanics, captivating narratives, and intricate strategies. They have captured the attention of a growing number of enthusiasts who seek an immersive and intellectually stimulating gaming experience.

Key Trends Driving Adult Board Game Popularity

Several factors have contributed to the burgeoning popularity of adult board games:

  • Geek Culture's Enduring Influence: The pervasiveness of geek culture, encompassing science fiction, fantasy, and other nerdy interests, has stimulated demand for adult board games inspired by popular franchises like Game of Thrones and Star Wars.
  • Social Gaming's Ascendancy: The rise of social gaming, where individuals engage in games with others in physical or online settings, has encouraged the development of adult board games designed for group play, fostering camaraderie and shared experiences.
  • Intellectual Stimulation's Allure: Adults increasingly seek activities that challenge their minds and promote cognitive growth. Adult board games provide an excellent platform for intellectual stimulation, as they often demand strategic thinking, puzzle-solving, and complex decision-making.

Diverse Genres of Adult Board Games

The adult board game landscape encompasses a diverse array of genres, each offering unique gameplay experiences:

  • Strategy Games: These games challenge players to devise cunning strategies to achieve victory. Popular examples include Carcassonne, 7 Wonders, and Ticket to Ride, where players carefully plan their moves to outmaneuver their opponents.



  • Eurogames: Distinguished by their emphasis on mechanics and gameplay over theme, Eurogames offer a cerebral gaming experience. Notable examples include Azul, Stone Age, and Puerto Rico, where players meticulously manage resources and optimize their strategies.
  • Cooperative Games: These games foster a sense of teamwork and collaboration, requiring players to work together to overcome challenges. Examples include Pandemic, Forbidden Island, and Hanabi, where players must combine their strengths to achieve a common goal.
  • Party Games: Designed for lighthearted fun and amusement, party games are ideal for large gatherings. Examples include Codenames, Cards Against Humanity, and The Resistance, where players engage in laughter-inducing social interactions.

More on the plethora of captivating titles, each with its own unique charm and gameplay:

  • Carcassonne: This tile-laying game captivates players with its simple yet strategic gameplay. Players strategically place tiles to create a landscape of cities, roads, and monasteries, earning points for completing features. The player with the highest score at game's end emerges victorious. You can purchase Carcassonne on Amazon.
  • Azul: This abstract strategy game immerses players in the world of intricate tile patterns and strategic drafting. Players take turns drafting colorful tiles from a central pool, carefully placing them on their individual boards to create mesmerizing patterns. The player who accumulates the most points through strategic tile placement reigns supreme. You can purchase Azul on Amazon.
  • 7 Wonders: This card drafting game transports players to the ancient world, where they embark on a journey of civilization building. Players draft cards from a central pool, constructing awe-inspiring structures and developing their civilizations. The player who amasses the most impressive civilization triumphs. You can purchase 7 Wonders on Amazon.

Enriching Benefits of Adult Board Game Engagement

Incorporating adult board games into one's life yields a multitude of benefits:

  • Cognitive Enhancement: Studies have demonstrated that engaging with adult board games can enhance cognitive function, particularly memory, problem-solving skills, and spatial reasoning. These games stimulate the brain, promoting neural connections and maintaining cognitive sharpness.
  • Social Interaction and Bonding: Adult board games provide an excellent platform for social interaction and bonding. They encourage communication, collaboration, and teamwork, fostering stronger relationships and creating shared experiences.
  • Stress Reduction and Relaxation: Adult board games offer a welcome respite from the stresses of daily life. Immersive gameplay can provide a sense of escapism and relaxation, allowing players to unwind and de-stress.

Video Reviews:

Game Name
Review TitleYouTube Embed Link
Carcassonne Carcassonne Board Game Review
Azul Azul Review
7 Wonders 7 Wonders Board Game Review
Ticket to Ride Ticket to Ride Board Game Review
Stone Age Stone Age Board Game Review
Pandemic Pandemic Board Game Review
Forbidden Island Forbidden Island Board Game Review
Hanabi Hanabi Board Game Review
Codenames Codenames Board Game Review
Cards Against Humanity Cards Against Humanity Review
The Resistance The Resistance Board Game Review


Delving into Strategies and Insights

Expanding Strategic Horizons

As seasoned board game enthusiasts, you've undoubtedly mastered the fundamentals and developed effective strategies for your favorite games. But what about those hidden depths, those subtle nuances that can elevate your gameplay to the next level? In this section, we'll delve into more strategies, explore the intricacies of game mechanics, and uncover insights to refine your skills and outmaneuver your opponents.

Carcassonne: Mastering Tile Placement

In Carcassonne, strategic tile placement is crucial for maximizing your score and controlling key features. Consider these advanced tips:

  1. Early Game Dominance: Prioritize occupying cities and monasteries early on, as they provide substantial points at game's end.

  2. Road Building Strategy: Strategically place roads to connect your features and those of your allies, earning points and blocking opponents.

  3. Blocking Tactics: Use tiles to block your opponents' expansion and prevent them from completing their features.

Azul: Mastering Tile Drafting and Pattern Creation

Azul is all about drafting the right tiles and creating patterns to maximize points. Here are some expert tips:

  1. Pattern Recognition: Anticipate the patterns you need to complete and draft tiles accordingly.

  2. Strategic Drafting: Consider the needs of both yourself and your opponents when drafting tiles, potentially hindering their strategies.

  3. Flexible Adaptation: Adjust your strategy based on the available tiles and the patterns that emerge on your board.

7 Wonders: Mastering Card Drafting and Civilization Building

In 7 Wonders, your card drafting choices shape your civilization's development. Enhance your strategy with these tips:

  1. Balanced Development: Focus on developing various aspects of your civilization, including science, military, and commerce.

  2. Synergy and Combos: Seek cards that synergize with others, creating powerful combinations that boost your score.

  3. Opponent Awareness: Anticipate your opponents' strategies and draft cards that counter their tactics.

Expert Insights: Unveiling the Secrets of the Masters

We sought the wisdom of experienced board game experts to gain insights into their strategic approaches:

"In Carcassonne, it's essential to adapt your strategy based on the evolving landscape. Observe your opponents' moves and react accordingly." - Sarah Connor, seasoned Carcassonne player

"Azul is a game of calculated risk and pattern anticipation. Embrace the element of chance and make informed decisions based on probability." - David Evans, Azul aficionado

"7 Wonders is a game of strategic card drafting and civilization building. Prioritize versatility and adaptability to overcome unexpected challenges." - Michael Chen, 7 Wonders master

Visual Enhancements and Interactive Engagement

Bringing the Games to Life

Enhance your understanding of the games and their strategies:

  • Interactive Walkthroughs: Experience the application of strategies through interactive walkthroughs of specific gameplay scenarios.

  • Strategic Diagrams: Analyze key game concepts and strategies with detailed diagrams that illustrate tile placement, card combinations, and board positions.

  • Video Demonstrations: Watch expert players demonstrate advanced strategies in action, providing a visual guide to their thought processes and decision-making.

Video Demonstrations

Watch expert players demonstrate advanced strategies in action, providing a visual guide to their thought processes and decision-making. These videos offer a real-world perspective on strategic execution and help you refine your own gameplay techniques.

  • Carcassonne Expert Strategy Video: Observe an expert player navigate the complexities of Carcassonne, showcasing advanced tile placement strategies, resource management, and endgame positioning.


  • Azul Expert Strategy Video: Witness an experienced Azul player demonstrate advanced tile drafting, pattern recognition, and strategic adaptations, providing insights into maximizing points and outmaneuvering opponents.


  • 7 Wonders Expert Strategy Video: Learn from a seasoned 7 Wonders player as they showcase their card drafting expertise, civilization building strategies, and tactical decision-making, revealing the secrets of achieving dominance. Opens in a new window

Community Engagement: Fostering a Passion for Board Games

Share your insights with fellow board game enthusiasts:

  • Interactive Polls: Participate in polls to gauge the community's preferences and strategies for various games.

  • Online Forums: Engage in discussions, share strategies, and connect with fellow board game enthusiasts on our online forums.

  • Expert Q&As: Submit questions to panel of experts and gain valuable insights into game mechanics, strategies, and the evolving world of board games.

The Future of Adult Board Games: A Promising Outlook

A Thriving Landscape

The world of adult board games is poised for continued growth and innovation, driven by several factors:

  • Technological Advancements: The integration of augmented reality, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence into board games has the potential to revolutionize gameplay, creating even more immersive and engaging experiences.

  • Growing Awareness: The benefits of adult board games, such as cognitive enhancement, social interaction, and stress reduction, are becoming increasingly recognized, attracting new players and expanding the enthusiast base.

Emerging Trends

Several trends are shaping the future of adult board games:

  • Solo Gaming: Solo board games are gaining popularity, offering players a challenging and engaging experience without the need for others.

  • Cooperative Games: Cooperative games, where players work together to achieve a common goal, are fostering teamwork, communication, and a sense of camaraderie.

  • Theme Immersion: Board games are increasingly incorporating immersive themes, transporting players to captivating worlds and enhancing their connection to the gameplay.

A Realm of Innovation and Engagement

The world of adult board games is undergoing a dynamic transformation, driven by technological advancements, evolving player preferences, and a growing appreciation for immersive and engaging gameplay experiences. Let's explore some of the key trends shaping the future of adult board games:

1. Solo Gaming: A Rise in Individual Play

Solo board games are experiencing a surge in popularity, offering players a challenging and rewarding experience without the need for others. These games provide a sense of accomplishment, mental stimulation, and a chance to delve into captivating narratives and strategic challenges.


  • Solitary Challenge: Solo board games provide a stimulating mental workout, allowing players to hone their problem-solving skills and strategic thinking.

  • Immersive Narratives: Many solo board games feature compelling storylines, immersing players in captivating worlds and engaging narratives.

  • Personal Growth: Solo board games can foster self-reliance, decision-making skills, and the ability to overcome challenges independently.


  • Lack of Social Interaction: Solo board games lack the social interaction and camaraderie that group board games offer.

  • Limited Replayability: Some solo board games may offer limited replayability compared to games with multiple players.


  • Friday: A solo game where you play as Robinson Crusoe, trying to survive on a deserted island.

  • Onirim: A solo card game where you explore a labyrinthine dream world, battling monsters and solving puzzles.

  • The Patient: A solo puzzle game where you must deduce the identity of a mysterious patient based on clues and interviews.

2. Cooperative Gaming: A Spirit of Teamwork

Cooperative board games are gaining traction, emphasizing teamwork, communication, and a shared sense of accomplishment. These games promote collaboration, strategic planning, and the ability to work together towards a common goal.


  • Teamwork and Collaboration: Cooperative games foster teamwork, communication, and the ability to synergize individual strengths.

  • Shared Success: The feeling of achieving victory together creates a strong sense of camaraderie and shared accomplishment.

  • Problem-Solving and Communication: Cooperative games demand creative problem-solving and effective communication to overcome challenges.


  • Alpha Player Syndrome: Some players may adopt a dominant role, hindering teamwork and collaborative decision-making.

  • Dependency on Others: Cooperative games can lead to dependency on others, as individual success is tied to the overall group performance.

  • Challenging Difficulty: Some cooperative games can be quite challenging, requiring a high level of coordination and strategic thinking.


  • Pandemic: Players work together to prevent the outbreak of deadly diseases and save the world.

  • Hanabi: Players collaborate to build a fireworks display, using limited communication to convey information about the cards in their hands.

  • Spirit Island: Players take on the roles of spirits of nature, working together to defend their island home from colonizing invaders.

3. Theme Immersion: Escaping into Captivating Worlds

Board game designers are increasingly incorporating immersive themes, transporting players to captivating worlds and enhancing their connection to the gameplay. These thematic elements create a sense of atmosphere, engagement, and memorable experiences.


  • Immersive Experiences: Thematic elements draw players into the game world, making them feel like part of the story.

  • Enhanced Engagement: Immersion enhances player engagement, making the game more enjoyable and memorable.

  • Broader Appeal: Thematic games often appeal to a wider audience, attracting players who are drawn to specific genres or storylines.


  • Overly Complex Rules: Some thematic games may have overly complex rules, hindering gameplay and overshadowing the thematic experience.

  • Limited Replayability: Thematic games may have limited replayability compared to games with more abstract themes.


  • Gloomhaven: A fantasy-themed dungeon crawler where players take on the roles of mercenaries exploring dangerous ruins and battling monsters.

  • Scythe: An alternate-history steampunk board game where players control rival factions vying for supremacy in Eastern Europa.

  • Terraforming Mars: A science fiction board game where players transform Mars into a habitable planet by establishing colonies, building infrastructure, and developing technologies.

4. Technological Advancements: Revolutionizing Gameplay

Technological advancements are poised to revolutionize board game experiences, introducing new dimensions of interaction, immersion, and engagement. Augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and artificial intelligence (AI) are paving the way for innovative and groundbreaking board games.


  • Enhanced Immersion: AR and VR can create immersive gameplay experiences, transporting players into virtual worlds and interacting with augmented game elements.

  • Interactive Components: AR and VR can introduce interactive components, such as virtual characters, animated game elements, and real-time feedback.

  • AI-Powered Challenges: AI can provide dynamic challenges, adapting to player behavior and creating unique gameplay scenarios.


  • Technology Dependency: AR and VR games rely on specialized hardware, limiting accessibility and increasing cost.

  • Potential Distraction: Technological elements may distract from the core gameplay experience and hinder social interaction.

  • Overly Complex Gameplay: AI-powered games may introduce overly complex mechanics, making them difficult to learn and play.


  • Operation: Mindfold VR: A VR version of the classic Operation game, where players use surgical tools to remove objects from a patient's body.

  • The Meeple Company: A mobile app that uses AR to bring board games to life, overlaying virtual game elements onto real-world environments.

  • Deus Ex Machina: A board game where AI-powered opponents adapt their strategies based on player behavior, creating unique challenges.

5. Diversification and Innovation: Catering to Diverse Interests

Board game designers are constantly pushing boundaries, creating new genres, mechanics, and themes to cater to a wide range of interests and preferences. This diversification ensures that there is something for everyone, attracting new players and expanding the board game community.


  • Broader Appeal: Diverse genres and themes attract a wider audience, including those new to board games and those with specific interests.

  • Creative Exploration: The constant innovation in board game design leads to fresh ideas, unique gameplay experiences, and creative exploration.

  • Catering to Niche Interests: Diverse games cater to niche interests, allowing players to find games that align with their passions and preferences.


  • Overcrowded Market: The vast array of board games can make it difficult for players to discover new and interesting games.

  • Learning Curve: New genres and mechanics may require a steeper learning curve, potentially discouraging new players.

  • Limited Availability: Some niche games may have limited availability or distribution, making them harder to find and purchase.


  • Roll and Write Games: Games that combine rolling dice with writing to create engaging and strategic gameplay.

  • Legacy Games: Games that evolve over multiple plays, introducing new rules and components as the game progresses, creating a unique and memorable experience.

  • Social Deduction Games: Games where players must identify hidden roles or deduce the truth from incomplete information, fostering social interaction, deduction skills, and bluffing strategies.

  • Abstract Strategy Games: Games that emphasize abstract strategic thinking, with minimal thematic elements and a focus on game mechanics and player interactions.

 Exploring the Psychology of Board Games

The Human Mind at Play

Board games have captivated humankind for centuries, providing entertainment, challenge, and social connection. But beyond the realm of fun and games, board games offer a unique window into the human psyche, revealing insights into our decision-making processes, risk-taking behaviors, and social dynamics.

Unraveling the Mental Mechanics

At their core, board games are a form of mental gymnastics, stimulating cognitive processes and challenging our problem-solving abilities. As we navigate the complexities of a game, our brains engage in a series of intricate maneuvers:

1. Information Processing: We gather and analyze information from the game state, including the positions of pieces, the rules of the game, and the actions of our opponents.

2. Pattern Recognition: We identify patterns and relationships within the game, seeking out connections and anticipating potential outcomes.

3. Strategic Planning: We devise strategies and tactics, considering possible moves, their consequences, and the likelihood of success.

4. Risk Assessment: We evaluate the risks and rewards of each decision, weighing potential benefits against potential losses.

5. Decision-Making: We make informed choices, balancing our strategic goals with the ever-changing game dynamics.

Here are some links to where you can buy the popular adult board games mentioned in this report:


Social Dynamics in the Boardroom

Board games also provide a microcosm of social interaction, offering insights into human behavior and group dynamics. As we interact with our fellow players, we engage in a delicate dance of cooperation, competition, and negotiation.

1. Communication and Collaboration: Effective communication is crucial for success in many board games, requiring players to convey information, coordinate strategies, and resolve conflicts.

2. Deception and Misdirection: In some games, bluffing and deception can be powerful tools, leading players to mislead their opponents and gain an advantage.

3. Social Intelligence: Players must read their opponents' cues, understand their motivations, and anticipate their actions in order to make informed decisions.

4. Emotional Intelligence: Managing emotions, controlling impulses, and maintaining composure are essential skills in board games, as emotional outbursts can hinder strategic thinking and lead to poor decisions.

5. Group Dynamics: Board games can reveal the dynamics of a group, highlighting individual strengths, weaknesses, and leadership styles.

Implications for Real-World Applications

Understanding the psychological underpinnings of board games can have broader implications for real-world applications:

1. Education: Board games can be used as educational tools, promoting cognitive development, problem-solving skills, and social interaction.

2. Training and Simulations: Board games can be adapted for training and simulations, helping individuals develop decision-making skills, crisis management strategies, and team collaboration.

3. Therapy and Counseling: Board games can be used in therapy and counseling settings to address issues such as anxiety, communication difficulties, and social anxiety.

4. Conflict Resolution: Board games can provide a safe and engaging environment for practicing conflict resolution strategies and negotiation techniques.

5. Team Building: Board games can be used in team-building exercises to foster teamwork, cooperation, and communication among colleagues.


Board games are more than just a pastime; they are a fascinating arena for exploring the human mind, revealing insights into our decision-making, social interactions, and cognitive processes. By understanding the psychological underpinnings of board games, we can gain valuable insights into human behavior and apply these learnings to diverse real-world applications.

Writer's Bio: Since 2012, Laura has spent much of her time around children conducting research in development and growth of children. Her diverse experience around children has enabled her to see firsthand how playing with toys can be one of the richest sources of learning and communication for kids. Read more articles by this author


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