cover image for an article discussing why board games are not only for kids but also for adults, the picture depicts the age gap when playing tabletopgames

Are Board Games Just for Kids? Debunking the Age Myth

Are Board Games Just for Kids? Debunking the Age Myth

Think board games are just child's play? Think again! Gone are the days when the words "game night" meant dusting off old boxes of Monopoly and Candyland, destined only for the family's youngest members. Today, board games are reclaiming the spotlight, and this time, it's the adults who are rolling the dice and claiming victory!

Adults—yes, full-fledged, tax-paying adults (myself included!) —are flocking to board games in droves, seeking both the strategic challenge and the sheer social joy they offer.

From fun party games to intricate story-driven campaign games to war games that sprawl across the table like mini battlefields to laugh-out-loud party games that challenge your wits and your friendships, the new era of board gaming has arrived, and it's anything but juvenile.

So, buckle up and prepare to debunk the myth that board games are just for kids. Through tales of strategy, laughter, fantasy, and camaraderie, let's explore how these tabletop adventures have become a beloved pastime for adults everywhere. Who knows? By the end, you might just be itching to join the game night renaissance yourself!

close up of adults playing a board game, hands and the board game in close up

The Rising Popularity of Board Games Among Adults

Once relegated to rainy days and power outages, board games have undergone a dramatic transformation, moving far beyond the realm of child's play.

Today's board games offer a vast universe of themes and complexities designed to cater not just to children but to a sophisticated adult audience. This shift has helped board games surge in popularity among adults, who are now gathering around tables worldwide to engage in this age-old pastime.

Evolution Beyond Children's Games

The evolution of board gaming can be traced back to a renewed interest in games that challenge the mind and foster social interaction. Unlike the straightforward paths of Monopoly, Jenga, Uno, and other classics, modern board games often involve complex strategic decisions, intricate themes, and a level of detail that caters to more mature players. Games today might explore everything from building ancient civilizations to managing dystopian societies, appealing to diverse interests and intellectual curiosities.

Cultural Shifts and Market Response

This renewed interest is evident in the proliferation of board game cafes, clubs, and conventions catering to adults. These venues have become cultural hotspots where enthusiasts gather to test new games, revisit classics, and socialize with like-minded strategists.

Social media platforms and online communities further fuel this trend, with countless groups dedicated to board game reviews, news, and events. These groups illustrate a vibrant, growing community that bridges generations.

Moreover, the market has responded enthusiastically. The last decade has seen a significant increase in the production and sale of games that promise more than just entertainment. They offer an immersive experience that many adults find appealing as a form of escapism or intellectual stimulation.

As a result, publishers are increasingly targeting adults with deluxe editions and expansions of classic games, along with innovative new titles that push the boundaries of traditional gaming.

card game spheres of life and its contents on white background

Spotlight on Adult-Focused Board Games

As board gaming evolves, a variety of games have emerged that are distinctly tailored for adult audiences. These games range from the intellectually challenging to the socially engaging, catering to different tastes and group dynamics. Here, we spotlight a few unique games that have captured the attention of adult gamers around the world.

Game 1: Spheres of Life: Mythical Forest

The Spheres of Life is an original card game from Joyful Games, where players team up with a hero to save the Mythical Forest from the evil forces. This competitive card game is illustrated in dark fantasy style and includes set collection, bluffing, and agility mechanisms making it a fantastic game to play with your adult friends or your teen kids.

> Buy Spheres of Life here.

Game 2: Gloomhaven

Gloomhaven is a big-box, campaign, cooperative board game that combines tactical combat with an ongoing role-playing adventure. Players take on the roles of wandering adventurers in a dark, branching narrative where choices have far-reaching consequences.

The game's complexity lies in its strategic combat and the management of the player characters' growth and development. Its depth and immersive storytelling make it particularly appealing to adults looking for a challenging and engaging experience. Gloomhaven has gained substantial popularity and can be found at major online retailers like Amazon and through specialty gaming shops.

Game 3: This War of Mine: The Board Game

Adapted from the critically acclaimed video game, the War of Mine: The Board Game throws players into a besieged city where survival depends on making tough moral decisions. The game is designed for an older audience, with mature themes that explore the horrors and challenges of living in a war-torn area. Players must work together to manage resources, overcome obstacles, and face ethical dilemmas that test their humanity. This game appeals to adults due to its profound narrative and the emotional depth of its gameplay. It is available for purchase online through platforms like GameNerdz and Miniature Market.

Game 3: Terraforming Mars

In Terraforming Mars, players take on the role of corporations working together to terraform Mars by raising the temperature, creating ocean areas, and cultivating green areas with flora.

This complex strategy game involves resource management, project cards, and many strategic paths to victory, making it highly engaging for those who enjoy deep, thought-provoking gameplay. The thematic depth and scientific concepts appeal to adults interested in science fiction and environmental strategy.

Read our Terraforming Mars Review here.

Game 4: Spirit Island

Spirit Island is a cooperative, complex board game where players are spirits of the land, protecting their island's native culture from invading colonists. Players use power cards and strategic planning to repel invaders and reclaim their territory.

The game stands out for its reverse-colonial narrative and deep strategic gameplay involving intricate coordination and planning. Its appeal to adults comes from its thematic richness and cooperative yet challenging gameplay. Spirit Island is available for purchase at major online retailers like Amazon and directly from the publisher, Greater Than Games.

Game 5: Secret Hitler

Secret Hitler is a social deduction game set in 1930s Germany, where players are secretly divided into two teams - liberals and fascists. The fascists try to enact five fascist policies or elect Hitler as chancellor, while liberals aim to enact five liberal policies or assassinate Hitler.

The game is known for its intense player interaction, bluffing, and psychological play, which makes it especially appealing for adult game nights focused on social dynamics and strategy. Secret Hitler is popular in the social settings of young adults.

two adults, a man and woman, playing a board game with cards,

Personal Stories of Adult Beginners in Board Gaming

For me, playing board games is a reason to meet up with friends and have a fun time while stimulating my brain cells in the process.

Playing a strategy game like Brass: Birmingham brings out my inner strategist, urging me to make the best possible moves to win the game, all the while having a laugh when I mess up!

Also, opening a freshly delivered board game and marveling at the components and art style is one of life's simple joys. The only downside is that there is not enough room where to store all of the amazing board games!

The Benefits of Board Gaming for Adults

Board gaming is not just an enjoyable way to spend an evening; it offers a multitude of benefits that can enhance the quality of life for adults. These benefits range from social and mental to emotional, including significant opportunities for stress relief and relaxation.

Social Benefits

One of the most immediate benefits of board gaming is its ability to bring people together, and even making new friends.

Unlike many modern forms of entertainment that are solitary, board games are inherently social. They require direct interaction, fostering communication and teamwork.

For adults, this means a fun and engaging way to strengthen relationships, meet new people, and build a sense of community. Regular game nights can help individuals feel more connected and less isolated, which is particularly valuable in today's often fragmented society.

Mental Benefits

Mentally, board games are a win-win. Board games are good for your well-being.

They stimulate cognitive functions such as problem-solving, memory, and decision-making. Engaging with a complex game like "Terraforming Mars" or a strategy-driven game like "Chess" challenges the brain, keeping the mind sharp. This cognitive engagement can help delay or diminish the effects of aging on the brain, making board games a valuable tool for adults looking to maintain their mental agility.

Emotional Benefits

Emotionally, board games can serve as a great stress reliever. The focused nature of gameplay allows players to divert their attention from daily stresses and immerse themselves in a game world. This can be particularly therapeutic, as taking a break from one's troubles, even briefly, helps to reduce overall stress levels. Moreover, the joy derived from playing, whether from social interaction or the satisfaction of winning, boosts mood and can improve overall emotional well-being.

Stress Relief and Relaxation

The role of board games in stress relief and relaxation cannot be overstated. Setting up a game after a long day provides a peaceful transition from work to leisure, helping to clear the mind and relax the body. Whether it's the laughter shared over a silly game of "Codenames" or the serene concentration required by "Carcassonne," board games can significantly contribute to personal relaxation and mental health. They offer a unique form of escapism that is active and engaging, providing a fulfilling way to unwind and recharge.

Overall, the benefits of board gaming extend well beyond mere entertainment. For adults, they offer valuable social connections, mental stimulation, emotional uplift, and a wonderful way to relax and de-stress. This makes board gaming a highly recommended activity for anyone looking to enrich their life through playful engagement.

elderly friends playing cards, drinking and having fun, all are smiling


Throughout this exploration of board games, we've debunked the age-old myth that these games are solely for kids. The adult-oriented games we discussed, such as Gloomhaven, Terraforming Mars, and Secret Hitler, offer complex strategies, mature themes, and dynamic social play that appeal directly to adult players. These games provide not only entertainment but also substantial benefits, including intellectual stimulation, emotional engagement, and opportunities for social connection.

As we continue to explore the fascinating world of board games, I invite you to delve deeper and discover the joys of gaming for yourself. Whether you're a seasoned gamer or new to the scene, there's a game out there for everyone. For more insightful content on the transformative power of board games and to explore fun games perfect for any adult game night, subscribe to our newsletter and visit Join us in redefining leisure and challenging the conventional views on who games are for—because at the end of the day, the world of board games is as boundless as our imagination. 

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