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  1. Board games are nice, but there are also a couple of other options as well. One would be miniatures games. You can go the traditional wargaming option with Napolean era battles all the way up to science fiction games like Battletech. they can also be used to teach strategy and logistics. Role playing games are also an option. Most people associate RPGs with Dungeons and Dragons but there a wide variety of other games. My particular favorite is Traveller which is an RPG set in the far future. Again, the modern to science fiction games can be used to teach problem solving such as logistics. By setting the game in a modern, technological era, you get away from the swords and sorcery theme that has plagued D&D and get the players thinking about more contemporary themes and issues while still having lots of fun.

    1. Good ideas Jerry! Some of my fondest memories are miniature battles with my father (we favored the American Civil War in 54mm). Just remember minis take up a lot of space. RPGs, of course, need not take up much at all – many can be played without a table (I’ve played in a tent).

  2. I pick up games/entertainment (board games, puzzles, bocce ball, croquet, horseshoes, art and crafts supplies, etc) at garage sales for very cheap prices, along with many other tools and supplies.

  3. Playing board or card games can really reveal a persons nature. Some people are very competitive and want to win at all costs. They could be difficult to live with in a survival situation. Also some lose their temper and blame others for their loss. Another eye opener. I told my kids to be sure and play some games with any future spouse s to learn about their chatacter. ☺

  4. Great article and great ideas to share with others! I enjoyed reading it.

    We love playing games as a family and with friends. Many games are useful at teaching mathematics, logic, and reasoning skills for kiddos.

    1. Thanks The Recovering Feminist. I have friends who taught their children math by playing RPGs – or, perhaps, convinced them of the *importance* of math by playing RPGs. 🙂

  5. If you ever find any games from Animal Town Game Company at a yard sale be sure to grab them for the children. They are cooperative. My children liked to collect the dark and light golden colored beads representing honey in Nectar Collector.
    You can get one of the Animal Town games from cooperativegames.com but I don’t know about all the other games on the new site. There’s cooperative and then there’s “let’s make everyone the winner”

  6. There are lots of entertaining games, Agricola is a personal favorite. However, even the best of games get tiresome. $10 buys a deck of playing cards and a book of rules for hundreds of card games. When one game gets boring, find and learn a new game.

    1. Cards are a good ‘minimalist’ option for sure. I have a deck in my BOB. You can also find decks with things like knot tying instructions, plant recognition, or other information, thus allowing the cards to do double-duty as reference material.

  7. Don’t forget the tried and true classics checkers,chess,backgammon,chinese checkers etc. These can be found in travel form (multiple games,very compact,place keeping(a bump doesn’t upset the board),storage. They are also almost universal(no language barriers) and ice breakers(a friendly(?) game beats staring at someone to pass time or gain cooperation /resolve tensions).

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