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Collage of small circles connected by lines, a large bird, a rabbit, game pieces and dice
Illustration by Hanna Barczyk

Board Games That Put Learning into Play

These three games are educational for both teens and adults

At U of T Mississauga’s Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre, students will find the Boardgame Café – a place where they can relax and make new friends while playing a game of their choice. The café is run by the centre’s learning strategist, Thomas Klubi. He says playing board games enhances the student experience but also fosters academic competencies, such as social skills and information processing. Due to COVID-19, Klubi has cancelled the café for now – although playing continues online. Below, Klubi and his student mentors recommend three games that are good for both teens and adults.

Photo of Pandemic board game box

Pandemic

Klubi calls it “the best cooperative game” he has ever come across as multiple players, each fulfilling a different role, learn about managing a pandemic while trying to discover the cure. It’s especially appropriate for the current situation, he adds.

 

Photo of Wingspan board game box

Wingspan

Aside from its esthetics and artwork, this ornithological board game is praised for how it encourages players to learn about bird habitats, wildlife and nature. It is a great example of an entry-level strategy game that essentially teaches you as you play.

 

Photo of Root board game box

Root

Two to six people play as animals fighting for control of the forest in a game that incorporates economics and psychology. With so much variance in how Root unfolds, you won’t get bored no matter how many times you play.

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