Four Life Lessons to learn from Classic Tabletop Games

Games can tell us a lot about life. How we make good moves and take calculated risks.

Here is a post about what games can teach us and teach us to be happy with the hand we have been dealt.

Board game lessons
Board games teach us important life lessons



They say that life is a game (and there’s even a board game called ‘The Game of Life’ to support this) but many of us have underestimated the real-life lessons we can get from these games. For example, The Game of Life is set up in such a way that you bump into other players (people) no matter where your starting point is, and influence their decisions. Here are 4 life lessons from classic table top games.

There are many tabletop games that hold invaluable lessons you can adapt. And here are four of them…

Sometimes, you’ll be forced to make bad moves – Chess

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There’s a chess word that’s German in origin called ‘Zugzwang’, which means to move (Zug) you’re forced to make (Zwang). The results of a Zugzwang are disadvantageous for the player, but not pulling the Zugzwang will result in an instant loss. In life, you may sometimes find yourself in a dilemma. But choosing the lesser evil means that you avoid the worst outcome, giving you an opportunity to bounce back stronger.

Take calculated risks – Poker

Poker teaches you that if you want to succeed in life, you need to take risks. After all, there are many opportunities for you to win, but they all come with different levels of risks. In fact, there’s a poker term called ‘equity’, which refers to the player’s chances of winning that round. So, in a battle between pocket aces and kings, aces have higher equity since they’re higher in value. In life, you, too, will need to calculate the ‘equity’ of your choices. For example, you should consider what stocks are more profitable before you invest.

Poker also teaches you how to control emotions during bad moments – which is why the phrase ‘poker face’ was coined – and not make any decisions you’ll regret.

Look at the big picture – Solitaire


When playing a game of Solitaire, it’s easy to fall into play traps. For instance, if you see a black four, your instinct might cry ‘I need a red three to stack on it!’ However, beneath that red three is a black five and nothing can be stacked on it! To win, it’s much better to look at the entire playing field. Maybe it’s better to move the red three when the black five behind it can be moved onto a near-completed build.

Make the most out of what you’re given – Scrabble

If you’re looking for a nice, relaxing game to play when you’re bored, Scrabble is a great option — and it can teach you an essential life lesson to boot! Scrabble may not be a literal card game like poker and Solitaire, but it’s one of the few tabletop titles where you’re permanently stuck with whatever ‘hand’ (a set of letters in this case) you’re given. Your task now is to look for opportunities to use the ‘hand’ that you have and turn them into successes (or points).

Plus, while you can create your own words or opportunities, you can also create them with help from other people. Even when you’re dealt with a ‘bad’ hand, like an all-vowel or barely used consonants like ‘V’ and ‘Z’ list, it’s possible to still make words out of them. You just have to be smart about it!

If you found this interesting, you might also enjoy our article on journaling, and why it is an important well-being tool.

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