We bring to you the best strategy games for seniors. If you are in a hurry, the table below provides a quick snapshot.
For the elderly, staying sharp and keeping their mind active is a very important part of preventing conditions such as memory loss, Alzheimer’s and dementia.
One of the best ways to do this is by playing games regularly. Games stimulate the brain’s memory cells, and keep the brain cells active as well as give a good way for seniors to pass time.
Research has shown that brain games help sharpen certain skills that tend to become weaker with age, such as processing speed, planning skills and reducing reaction time.
Games are also an important way to bring happiness into their lives. Having a good game with friends, laughing and playing while enjoying each other’s company, and also gaining a sense of accomplishment from winning a hard-fought game are experiences that bring a lot of joy into their lives.
Strategy games are games where the players’ decision-making skills impact the outcome of the game. Most strategy games require an ability to map out decisions across multiple stages, being able to process multiple outcomes and then making a decision based on that analysis to conclude the best move to follow in the present.
In this article, we would be exploring some of the best Strategy games available for the elderly.
Chess Armory Wooden Chess Set
One of the most popular strategy board games of all time, chess is the quintessential battle between two “armies” with 16 pieces on each side. The rules are deceptively simple, but the game is notorious for having an exponentially increasing combination of moves that are difficult to keep track of before deciding the best move in any given scenario.
Research on the game has shown that there are several benefits of playing chess regularly for the brain – it improves memory, enhances cognitive abilities, cultivates strategic thinking, improves attention span and enhances brain function.
There is research to suggest that activities such as chess help delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The Chess Armory chess set comes in two large sizes (15 X 15 inch and 17 X 17 inch) which is easy to view and hold for seniors with poor eyesight.
It also has a separate storage box with felted interior along with a strap for holding the pieces together in one place. The chess pieces all have felted bottoms to make them comfortable to touch and also reduce chances of injury.
- Large-sized board, easy to see and play
- Felted bottom pieces, soft to touch
- Separate storage unit for pieces to easily store and not to misplace them
- Some users complained that the hinges are misaligned
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Otrio LE – Strategy-Based Board Game
Otrio is a head to head strategy board game whose object is to complete a line of 3 pieces of the same colour and size, in either ascending or descending order or else within the same space.
Otrio helps improve reasoning and critical thinking, while also improving cognitive ability and strategizing skills. The game is meant for 2-4 players
- Similar to a 3D tic-tac-toe game, easy to understand and play
- Fun for the entire family includes 2-4 people
- The game requires a strong strategy and forward-thinking skills
- Some of the buyers received defective pieces with missing parts
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Monopoly Classic Game
Monopoly is another classic strategy board game which has been around for more than a hundred years. The game uses dice to decide player turns on the monopoly board, which directs users to buy houses and property while collecting rent from opponents for any house that you own.
There are Chance and Community Chest cards, and tax squares which lose money and there are also jail cards, which make the player immobile until a condition is met.
The ultimate aim of the game is to bankrupt everyone else except yourself, and the last player remaining wins! This is a full family fun game, where every-one can participate.
The classic edition from Hasbro is the original game. The game has been updated with an electronically maintained banker (using AAA batteries), which recognizes the cards and makes sounds for various game elements (car/plane/building etc.)
- The game is easy to understand
- A family fun game lasts for up to an hour
- It involves both chance and strategy in winning
- The electronic banker unit does not work for some users
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Unstable Unicorns Card Game
This is another addictive strategy game based on card play. The objective of the game is to build a stable of 7 unicorns. There are magic, instant, upgrade and downgrade cards which help you grow your own stable while hindering your opponent’s stable from growing.
The game won the people’s choice award in 2019 for best game.
The game involves decision making and a lot of strategy in trying to destroy other players unicorns while maintaining your own stable
- A unique concept, clever artwork that is pretty to look at
- Fun, family game for ages 14+
- Might be a little complicated for some players
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Plan B Games Azul Board Game Board Games
Azul is a game where the players are competing to score highest by selecting tiles and then placing them on the board. Extra points can be collected by finding sets of tiles of the same colour or creating patterns of a particular style, while there are negative points for choosing tiles that remain unused.
The tiles were chosen to impact the next tiles which can be taken by your rival, which is where the strategy comes in: choose wisely so that your opponent is not benefited, while you maximize your points!
The game was awarded the best game of 2018 by Spiel des Jahres, one of the most prestigious awards in board gaming. Apart from developing strategy skills, the tiles are made from beautiful patterns that stimulate the visual senses.
- Easy to learn, fun game for 2-4 players
- The tiles have beautiful patterns on them that stimulate visual perception
- Strong strategy element stimulates brain activity
- Some of the buyers complained about damage to the board during shipping
Catan is a beautifully complex strategy game that involves simulating settlement of an island – all the activities that are part of such an enterprise such as building roads, settlements and cities by discovering a new land
Players try to collect victory points by building their settlements larger and better, and the player to reach 10 victory points first is the winner
Catan typically involves an hour of gameplay and is good for 3-4 player. It places a lot of focus on optimum strategy to grow your settlement while making sure that others do not grow as fast.
- Quintessential empire-building and resource management strategy game, a lot of thinking involved
- Easy to understand in one sitting of the game
- Needs at least 3 players
- Winner takes all – as your production and settlement grow, you win more and more. The players who fall behind will lose interest quickly
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Jax Sequence is a fun and challenging game of strategy. It involves playing a card and then placing a chip corresponding to the card on the board. Once you have 5 chips in a row, it’s a sequence
You can block your opponents, remove their chips. There are wildcard “Jacks” which allow you to place your chips anywhere on the board – a huge strategic advantage.
The game helps to develop strategy and skill and is useful for improving memory retention as well.
- Easy to play and understand the rules
- Builds cognitive function, improves memory retention
- Fun game for the family
- More focus on chance rather than strategy, thus while it’s a fun game, but not as brain-stimulating as other games in this lineup
Bicycle Large Print Playing Cards
Playing cards have been around since the 9th century AD when they were invented in China. Since then, this set of 52 cards in groups of 4 has seen so many games invented. Some of the strategy games, to name but a few are Bridge, Poker, Blackjack, 21, Rummy and Slapjack.
The bicycle large print playing cards are a perfect set of playing cards meant for the elderly. The cards have a large font with easy read indices, which are easy on the eyes, and can be used by anyone who has poor vision.
- Large easy to read numbers and indexes.
- Comes with only one deck
- Very smooth, slippery on the hands
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While there is a lot of emphasis on “brain games” for the elderly (such as puzzles or Suduko), most brain games are individual activity games.
Strategy games, on the other hand, involve facing off against another person, which usually helps stimulate the brain cells a lot more than simply solving a puzzle or detecting differences between two pictures. Strategy games help improve memory functions, reduce the onset of diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s’, and keep the mind sharp and healthy.
Strategy games are also fun since they inculcate a spirit of healthy competition and camaraderie. They also allow seniors to interact with family and friends who may otherwise be too busy to spend time with them – bringing them otherwise rare moments of joy.