Board games have a history of over 5,000 years. They’ve been found in ancient Egyptian tombs, and are mentioned in documents from old Rome and China. They’re more popular now than ever before, though, with new games appearing alongside old favorites every year.
The variety of modern board games is a big part of their appeal. Some require players to move along a path of spaces as directed by rolls of dice. Some, like Dominion, are actually card games with no board. Others offer very different challenges. Most older board games, such as chess and go, are designed for two players. Many newer games, however, can be enjoyed by larger groups. In Scrabble, two to four players must create words from tiles showing individual letters and point values to finish it.
Monopoly allows up to eight players the chance to buy and sell property for play money. In Chinese checkers (which is actually from Germany), two to six people "jump" over their own and each other’s pieces to move across the board. And in Trivial Pursuit, teams answer questions on different topics to try to finish first.
In recent years, a new generation of board games has become very popular. These "designer games" often feature themes such as the settling of land (Catan), building of cities (Citadels), and development of resources (Carcassonne). Social in nature, they are usually easy to learn and designed to keep all players in competition until the end.
Of course, any board game requires a place to play and people to play with. Having trouble with that? No problem! Many board game stores rent games and tables to players, who may be complete strangers until they sit down together. So give Super Mario a rest and try a face-to-face contest against other humans. You just might find it a lot more fun!