034 | Games of Adventure with Mat & Board

Board Games and Adventure
Austin and I discuss use of board games as a means for mini-adventures and points of connection. We unpack the neuroscience aspects of playing game and share examples of great games to experience adventures and family connections.

Austin is a cognitive scientist and the host of the Mat & Board Podcast – a show that studies the intersection of tabletop gaming and how we think. He has always been interested in innovative ways to help people learn and earned a master’s degree from Harvard in Mind, Brain, & Education. In his free time, he enjoys learning about new cultures, trying new recipes, and of course – playing board games.

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Podcast: Mat & Board 

Key Takeaways

  1. Think about gaming more than just entertainment, but as this vehicle to bring us closer together or teach us about ourselves.
  2. Games are an interesting way to foster multi-generational connections. Games have a way to make the content and experience beneficial for the child, parents, grandparents or even aunts and uncles.  From a neuroscience perspective, it has skill-building value for all ages.  
  3. Games can help build strategic thinking skills with transference to many other areas of life.  
  4. A misconception about games is that winning is the main objective. Winning isn’t the best teacher.  If we reframe games as vehicles for fun, discovery and creativity, Individuals can use games to reinforce skills of perseverance, continuous improvement, and learning more about themselves in the process.  
  5. Games can be tools for connection, often triggering memories, either through the content of the game or the shared experience playing games with others.  
  6. Playing a game can be a mini adventure in times when you might not be able to physically adventure.  Likely 2020 brought forth a resurgence, but also times such as poor weather, or or having a down day.  
  7. Games can be a tremendous tool for learning about something new or deepening your learning in a fun way.  
  8. Many consider games to be something in a box, the simplicity and versatility of a deck of cards can’t be overlooked.  
  9. Kids have an amazing ability to suspend reality and dive into something by creating games. Embrace and continue to nurture those opportunities.  
  10. As adults we lose some of our creative edge as we get older. Board Games can provide a medium to help keep our brains fresh. Activities that have been looked into in neuroscience show some games have the ability to expand our memory or our cognitive agility.

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