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10 Board Games That Could Make You Smarter

Board games are amazing tools for developing your mind. From math skills to linguistic dexterity, communication and general knowledge, games are a fun and sneaky way to take care of your brain. The risk of cognitive decline can decrease for those who regularly indulge in these wholesome, screen-free pastimes. The games on this list are fun for families, couples and game nights with friends.

The more you play, the more you grow - it's like a gym for your noggin. Read on to improve your coconut's function with these excellent board games, while enjoying friendly competition and entertaining game mechanics.

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10 Rewordable

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Rewordable is an addictive, quick word game for 2-8 players, and can be enjoyed by all ages 8 and up. The difficulty doesn't decrease with age, as the more words you know, the more possibilities you have. In this game, players use color-coded cards with letters on them to form words and score points. Tokens are available each round with extra scoring criteria (such as an all-pink word or a 5-card word).

A twist is added in that players can steal from each other's words, adding their own letters to form new words and claim the points as their own. This is an addictive brain game that improves language and spelling skills, as well as allowing your brain to look at the cards from different perspectives to find words, like solving a puzzle.

9 Bananagrams

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This is another fast-paced game, full of letters. A match of Bananagrams is reminiscent of a game of Scrabble, but without the board and with a much, much faster playing time. In this game, 1-8 players aged 7 and up use letter tiles to form their own words, all attached in some way to form an individual, scrabble board-like arrangement. Players race each other, drawing new tiles every time a player runs out, to empty out all the tiles and finish their arrangement with no unused letters before anyone else.

This is a fast-paced game of friendly competition, where your mind will be challenged to use different viewpoints and strategies to use up all of your tiles faster than anyone else.

8 Bezzerwizzer

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Bezzerwizzer is a variation on the German word, "besserwisser," which translates to "know-it-all". This is a fun, playful trivia game for 2-4 players, in which tiles are drawn with symbols matching categories. Each player gets four tiles, with the option to arrange them in order of which categories they want to be worth more. It's important to consider what they think they'll be best at, arranging accordingly.

Players then ask each other questions and move around the board with their points. The first to complete a circuit wins. Categories include Architecture, Geography, Language, Literature and more. This is a great, lighthearted alternative to more rigid trivia games, with variation in the difficulty of the questions and an opportunity to expand your general knowledge.

7 Labyrinth

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This game stretches the mind to see routes through a labyrinth board, that is forever shifting and changing due to moving tiles pushed by players on their turns. 2-4 players aged 7 and up can take part. The tiles have items on them that must be captured in the correct order, so players compete to reach each item first when it's time for it to be captured.

The shifting tiles also act as a method to sabotage other players' pieces, as they can be rerouted, trapped and transported across the board, depending on how tiles are moved. This is a great strategy game and a favorite for puzzle fans, not too tough for youngsters and never too easy for adults.

6 Concept

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In Concept, players team up and take turns drawing words or phrases for which they must give clues to the other team. Clues are given by placing tokens on top of icons on the board, that represent elements, colors, and more. It's a mental challenge in creativity and communication. This game has interesting scoring as well. The team who gives the clues receives points for their success, as does the first player to guess the answer to the riddle correctly.

The player at the end of the game with the most points wins. Since the points are set up to make the game less competitive, this ends up being a brain exercise more than anything, as well as more of a fun hangout activity, rather than a down-and-dirty competition.

5 Hive

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Hive is often described as simple chess, without the board - and with a lot more bugs. In this game, 2 players compete to capture their opponent's Queen Bee, before the reverse happens. Queen Bees are captured when they are entirely surrounded with pieces of the opposition's color.

The board is formed by the pieces as they are placed down, so each decision has long-lasting repercussions and strategy is important. This game was honored for excellence by Mensa, as well as being named the Dr. Toy product of excellence winner. The game comes in a pouch and can be taken anywhere, with a quick 20 minute play time, perfect for impromptu matches wherever you may be.

4 Pandemic

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Pandemic is popular for fun nights with friends, as it is a cooperative game based on communication, teamwork and strategy that incorporates multiple minds and roles, with their own individual skill sets. In this game, the group works together to protect the planet from various viral outbreaks, trying to keep sickness contained in various world hotspots. For 2-4 players, this game lasts about 45 minutes, so it's a satisfying length and a good challenge for the brain.

The team must take advantage of each player's role, as everyone will be given varying strengths and weaknesses that can either make or break the game. Either everyone wins together, or the whole table loses, making this a fun, competitive game - but with the board itself,  not amongst friends.

3 Sequence

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This game can be played by groups of anywhere from 2 to 12 people, and gameplay lasts 10 minutes to half an hour. This is a pattern-forming game, where a board with a 10 x 10 grid that represents a deck of cards is placed in front of the group.

Players must then work to build rows, columns or diagonal lines of 5 connected checkers, on top of the spaces that match cards they have laid down. Players race to be the first to build the required number of 5-card connections, using strategy and betting skills. The game can be played in teams or with individuals fending for themselves.

2 Bohnanza

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Bohnanza is for 2-7 players and gameplay lasts about 45 minutes. The goal is to grow beans, gain enough sets of one kind of bean to sell sets for gold, and end up the richest player at the end of the game. The focus of the game is trading - players trade with other people at the table to dump beans that they don't want for ones they consider to be more useful. Once beans are laid down to plant, they cannot be removed, so each move is critical to the outcome of the game.

This strategy game is great for cognitive development while incorporating the trades to keep it social, lighthearted and fun.

1 Trivial Pursuit Master Edition

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No list of games that make you smarter would be complete without at least one Trivial Pursuit game. As any high schooler who hates studying knows, it's not always about knowing the answer, but being able to guess it from the way the question is being asked. This comes into play with Trivial Pursuit, as players are bound to be answering questions from categories they have no expertise in.

Critical thinking and analytical skills are combined with expansion and retrieval of general knowledge in this good-for-the-head game. The Master Edition is ramped up with 2950 questions from six classic categories - sports and leisure, art and literature, history, science and nature, entertainment and geography. A quick play version is possible with this board as well.

NEXT: 10 Board Games You Can Win in Less Than 15 Minutes

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