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Joined: 2010-01-04

[B]Board games may not enjoy the riches conferred on their digital cousins, but a combination of tough economic times and educational research seem to haven given a boost to the old-school family pastime.[/B]

According to NPD, sales of board games rose 4 percent in 2008. It's a modest but an impressive jump, considering that sales of web-connected toys, all the rage the year before, dropped 39 percent during the same period.

Analysts say the recession helped the industry. Board games are cheaper than videogames and have the same replayable advantage over movies. They also play into parents' nostalgia for a time when games came in brightly colored cardboard boxes and didn't include seizure warnings.

Whatever the reasons, experts say that board games offer many of the social benefits of videogames, such as mathematical and strategic thinking. In 2007, a study at Carnegie Mellon University found that low-income pre-schoolers who played number games like Chutes and Ladders improved their numerical skills. The gains were still evident nine weeks later.

The physical nature of board games also gives them a few benefits videogames lack, said Peter Pizzolongo, director of professional development at the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

"One of the primary skills (board games) develop is self-regulation. You have to be able to wait your turn and think ahead."

At the end of the day, however, board games and videogames are more similar than not when it comes to education. Marilyn Fleetwood, president of the Academy of the Child, a Montessori preschool in Maryland, encourages teachers use board games to improve fine-motor skills and foster social skills. For Fleetwood, it's all about the value of play.

[URL=http://www.gameculture.com/2010/01/18/board-games-making-comeback]read more[/URL]


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