Forget About Bingo and Cards, These are the Board Games You can Play During Retirement

Bingo and card games–these are the games associated with retirement. For upcoming seniors who cringe at the thought that their social calendar will include bingo or despair that perhaps card games will be the only games they are capable of playing when they get older, think again. You’re never too old for board games, and I’m not referring to the traditional board games of Monopoly or Parcheesi. Instead today’s board games have you taking the helm of a pirate ship, building an empire, or laying railroad tracks across Europe. If your friends complain that they’re too old for board games or games take too long to play, they haven’t experienced the board games of today. With their high-quality art and storylines, you will find yourself in another universe, and many are easy to learn and can be finished in under an hour (no more never-ending board game marathons!).

The board game universe is pretty diverse with games that appeal to any interest, whether more social versus strategy, says Ian, a salesperson at Card Kingdom in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. When seniors visit Card Kingdom, he says they are usually there to purchase a board game for their grandchildren, perhaps becaus they don’t realize that board games don’t have an age or gender bias. HABA even advertises their games for ages 3-99!

This holiday season, consider purchasing a board game for yourself as a way to reinvent what you’ll be doing during retirement. Instead of your friends getting together for coffee, how about a game night instead? Instead of arts and crafts hour at the senior center, how about board game hour? And with the health benefits of keeping your brain active, board games are the perfect way to combine socializing and exercising your brain.

If you need an idea of what board games to consider, here’s  few favorite board games that Ian and Nelly recommended as being easy to learn and fun to master.


qwirkleForm a row of either six blocks of the same color or with each a different shape. Sounds simple right? Not when you are playing with other people who are trying to block you and create their own rows. And don’t space off for a minute, otherwise someone will steal your space!

This game can include 2-6 players, with more players making it even more challenging. Not only does the game test your ability to strategize, but your math skills are also tested when you add up your points gained when laying down a tile. With all the tiles fitting neatly into a bag, Quirkle is easy to carry around and clean up.

Ticket to Ride

Win by completing all your train routes and building the longest train. With your opponents having the same mission and needing to use the same route as you to reach their destination cities, winning this ticket-to-ridegame requires knowing when to pick up a card or lay down track. That’s because once the track is claimed, you may find yourself cut off from your city! (Helpful advice: When playing with 3 or more people, be sure to claim your track through the middle of Europe early, as this quickly becomes taken.)

Two to five players can participate in this game, which is the ideal for playing when meeting new people because you can learn about where people have traveled or their favorite cities. With game boards featuring Europe, Asia, India, and America you can travel around the globe. Because there are small pieces, this game is for ages 8+, and when you play with grandchildren, they can learn about your world travels and world history at the same time.

Lanterns: The Harvest Festival 

lanternsThis game I hadn’t heard of before Ian and Nelly introduced it to me, but Lanterns will soon be added to my game collection. In less than five minutes, Ian explained the rules so it’s quick to explain to players who are newcomers to the game.


splendorAs a gem merchant during the Renaissance, your goal is to build your commercial empire and gain an audience with Henry VIII. Splendor is another game that I haven’t played but sounds intriguing. Ian describes it as having “almost a chess-level of strategy.”
Yet unlike chess, the game can be explained in five minutes and can be finished in a half hour.


tsuroTsuro is a quick game that can be played with 2-8 players. Simply laying a tile on the board and moving your piece along the chosen path can quickly prove disastrous if someone else plays a card that sends your piece off the board. This game makes you think ahead as to where paths might lead, and the challenge is not to use your finger to follow the path!

For those who like nautical-themed games, they will enjoy Tsuro of the Seas where you are navigating your ship through the treacherous seas. This game has the added challenge of sea monsters to dodge.

Do you feel inspired to visit a board game store build your collection? They are fun to visit and the staff are more than happy to share their favorites, as Ian and Nelly were when I stopped in for a visit. And remember, you can never have too many board games!

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