Games offer a great way to pass the time and keep us amused. However, if you peel back the layers and think about the skills you need to succeed in certain games, they can actually be a handy learning tool. From games where the skills are clear and present, such as chess, to less obvious options like scrabble, there are plenty of things we can learn from the gaming world. Whether you want to improve your timing, your ability to analyse a situation more thoroughly or need a new way to control your emotions, games can be fantastic learning tools.
With this in mind, here’s a look at some games that give you more than a good time:

Chess – Forward thinking

“Tired of Chess” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by iantmcfarland

When it comes to games of skill, few can match chess. Arguably the most cerebral of games, chess is all about outwitting your opponent by thinking further ahead than they can. Essentially, to become a high level chess player you need to simultaneously assess the dynamics in front of you while also assessing the impact a move will have on the future.

As Stefan Zweig said: “In chess, as a purely intellectual game, where randomness is excluded, – for someone to play against himself is absurd. It is as paradoxical, as attempting to jump over his own shadow.”
In life, the ability to correctly assess the impact of a move in the present and its impact on the future is highly important. From spending money to your interactions with a friend, if you can accurately predict the future, then it can help you to avoid costly mistakes.

Blackjack – Risk Management

“Blackjack” (CC BY 2.0) by adrperez

For those with a penchant for gambling games such as blackjack, the one skill you can take from these experiences is risk management. Whether you’re someone using an established betting method, such as the Martingale System, or simply thinking about your own bets, blackjack can help you manage your money (or any other commodity) better.

In fact, the online casino world has opened up the world of blackjack to many more people and that means you can hone these skills without leaving the comfort of your own home. Even if you don’t want to wager your own cash, an online casino,like Smart Live will allow you to play virtual blackjack for free.

A game like Smart Live blackjack allows you to ante-up with “play money” chips from ยฃ0.10. The game, which was created by NetEnt, is a great way to learn the basics and learn how to manage your money. For example, if your starting bankroll is 5,000 play money coins, you wouldn’t want to bet 2,500 on a single hand because you’d only have two hands before you’re out of cash.
The key to blackjack is betting just enough to ensure you achieve a healthy win rate while not staking so much that you can’t make it through the swings of bad luck you’ll inevitably face.

Scrabble – Timing

“Scrabble” (CC BY 2.0) by Kables

While you might assume that scrabble is a great game for improving your vocabulary (and it is), the other important skill you can glean from the game is timing. For serious players, certain letters are known as “power tiles” in the game of scrabble and, according to expert strategists, there’s a right and wrong time to play these tiles.

According to a research carried out by Professor Andrew C Thomas, an expert in Statistics at Carnegie Mellon University, the value of the letter Q increases as a game plays out. Although it’s generally known as a difficult tile to play (because you need a U to use it correctly), Thomas’ research suggests that playing it later is always better.

In contrast, the letter Z actually fluctuates in terms of effectiveness throughout the game. Understanding when a tile is more useful according to the dynamics of the board is crucial for scrabble players as the difference between 10 points and 15 points can be the difference between a win and a loss.

The same is also true in life. Learning when to make a move and when not to make a move can be crucial. For example, let’s say you’re sizing up when to eat a sandwich. Eating one early in the day is better for your waistline than if you ate one at night because you’ll have more chance to burn off the excess carbohydrates the bread will put into your body if you eat a sandwich in the day.
As you can see, games have the power to educate just as well as they can entertain. From improving your timing to your ability to think around a situation, games can allow you to broaden your skills in a variety of varied and interesting ways.

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