Board Games are Making a Comeback – By Jason Shriner

In Big Book of Madness, up to five players work together to collect spells to take down monsters.
In Big Book of Madness, up to five players work together to collect spells to take down monsters.

In the era of everything going digital and “there’s an app for that,” old fashioned tabletop board games are making a comeback.  Between a growing desire to spend time unplugged and away from screens and the pure tactile joy of rolling dice and handling cards, board games are becoming the popular answer for connecting with friends and family in a meaningful way.

I could make the argument that board games can teach you and your children lots of life skills such as reading comprehension, teamwork, competitive graciousness, and creativity. While those skills are important, let’s just focus on the one reason why we want to play board games: It’s fun! You can spend hours playing a tabletop game or weeks playing through a story in Dungeons and Dragons. The time flies by because you’re so immersed in a fictional world with your friends. That alone should be enough of a reason to start playing board games again!

What’s great is there’s been an explosion of new games over the past few decades of fun, inventive, and easy-to-play games so you don’t have to go to your standard Monopoly. What games do I recommend?

If you’re looking for a twist on a familiar experience try Machi Koro, Settlers of Catan, Scoville, Power Grid, New York 1901, Splendor, or Takenoko.

Do you want to have a fun time with a big group of friends? Try Codenames; Snake Oil; Spyfall; Sushi Go; Rock, Paper, Wizard; or Deception: Murder in Hong Kong.

Like the idea of working together to achieve a goal? I recommend Pandemic, Mysterium, or the Big Book of Madness.

When you’re ready to try out a complex game that has a deep story and many layers of actions, try Dead of Winter, Eldritch Horror, Small World, or Istanbul. They may be complicated, but the intensity makes them so much fun.

One concern a lot of people have about buying new board games is whether they’ll actually enjoy it. Well thanks to an enterprising gamer, you’ll soon have the opportunity to try out over 1,000 different games before you commit to a purchase. Crossroads Tabletop Tavern is opening up in Downtown Manassas and will be a bar and restaurant where you can try out a board game or bring one of your own. As somebody who is always struggling to find a place to meet with friends to play games, I’m very excited for the new addition to the area.

You can also come out to Adult Board Game Night here at the Manassas Park Community Center. On the 2nd and 4th Friday of every month, a group of us get together to play some of our favorite board games. It’s just a drop-in fee of $5 if you aren’t a member, and we all chip in to buy pizza. It’s a great time in a familiar place.

Take some time to unplug and try out a new board game. Once you do, comment below and let me know how it went!

Jason Shriner is the Marketing Manager for the City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation. He can be reached at 703-335-8872 or via email at


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