According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives and around half a billion people suffer from such conditions at any one time. A year ago, the WHO announced their 11th International Classification of Diseases was to include the condition “gaming disorder“. This is characterised by “increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.” Although there is no doubt that there are some boardgamers to whom this might be applied, the WHO specifically meant “digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”; in fact, anecdotally there’s lots of evidence that boardgames can help with depression.
|– Image from who.int|
There is more evidence, indeed research by Colin Camerer, of the California Institute of Technology, suggests that when players are doing the best that they can to “win” their brains tend to show a high degree of co-ordination between the “thinking” and the “feeling” regions. A boardgame group at a mental health recovery centre is reported to have had a positive impact on its clients, building their social and communication skills as well as their self-esteem and helping to reduce social isolation. Now, Billy Brown is taking this one step further. Billy was an agoraphobic who spent seven years in his dressing gown just sitting at his computer, only going outside for doctor’s appointments. Now he is designing a role-playing game to help young people build their social skills. So, it would seem that as every boardgamer knows, playing boardgames really is good for you.
|– Image from bbc.co.uk|