A great deal of psychological study has been placed in the realm of figuring out what it is about board games which makes us, as people, so devoted and loving of the activity. What exactly is it about the brain that makes it so attached to the activity of competing against each other to solve a problem and win the game? A great deal of it relates to the way that we, as humans, have grown over time and both the value that we place on certain ideals and the deficiencies that we try to make up for in our daily lives. Board games offer us a chance to fulfill many of these needs and because of this, they have maintained a place in our culture for quite some time.
The types of challenges presented from board games come in the form of activities, challenges, and puzzles that we feel that we are qualified to handle. It is a challenge which requires some skill, but they are skills that we feel that we are qualified to operate. Playing a game against a well-matched opponent will provide us the greatest amount of pleasure for it will challenge us and our skills. Playing against someone much better than us would ultimately make us feel inferior, which is against the goal of playing the game; playing against someone not as good as us would ultimately bore us for the game would offer no challenge.
When the game is good enough, it will focus our attention entirely on the task at hand. If we are doing something which is interesting enough to entirely captivate us, we often will slip into a state where we enjoy what we are doing and time will fly past us. This offers us a sort of “escape” from the troubles of everyday life. This state usually will come about much more easily when the goals of the game are clearly defined. If we know what we are working toward, we can figure out what needs to be done much more easily. This helps us in achieving that state of satisfaction.
Learning how to play the game well enough to determine our progress is another important level in determining out satisfaction in playing the game. If we know enough about the game to determine that we are doing well within it, we will be much more happy than if we are lost or confused and not sure of if we are winning or far behind.
The level of control that a board game can provide will often fulfill some of our deepest needs and desires. It allows us to take fate within out hands, within a certain, controlled environment, and allow us to pursue our goals in a way that will have no lasting effects on our lives. It gives us a chance for escapism, where we can enter into a situation and pretend that we are anyone or anything. It gives us a sense of fantasy, allowing us to fulfill our needs for a thrill while staying within the comfort and safety of our own homes. Board games can be a great way for us to feel content with ourselves and the world around us and playing one can be a great way to give ourselves a boost of esteem.