Why are Board Games Bad? – 8 Downsides of Board Gaming

Every coin has two sides and it’s no different with board games. This article will explain the factors why are board games bad, and what to do to negate that and get maximum enjoyment out of them.

Why are board games bad?

There are several factors that can make board games bad for you and others. There’s the environmental impact of producing and shipping them.

Board games can also be an addiction, which takes up a lot of time, space, and money. Learning them can be stressful, while a competitive environment will often bring out the worst in people.

Environmental impact

Producing board games is not an environmentally friendly activity. Although paper, cardboard, wood, and plastic can be made from recyclable sources and be made recyclable themselves, the process itself has a fairly large carbon footprint. Unfortunately, it’s very rare to see declarations on the box whether a board game has been made recyclable.

Then there’s the packaging. One-time-use plastic shrink-wraps and bags are a waste and paper-based or biodegradable plastic wraps are uncommon.

As most board games are produced in China, shipping is a large portion of their carbon footprint. In shipping containers, planes, lorries, and vans – the games travel many miles before arriving at your doorstep.

Playing, on the other hand, is environmentally friendlier. Other than traveling, not much energy is used for playing and maintenance. They don’t require special supporting equipment and don’t generate any waste. (Except for those cards you tear up during legacy games. :))

Therefore, if you wish to further keep their environmental impact down, you’ve got to focus on playing, not buying. Don’t buy games just for the sake of buying and make sure you play the hell out of the games you own. That way the resources they were made and delivered with, will be well-spent.

And don’t forget about the second-hand market. You can sell your unplayed games and buy used games locally – board games are perfect for this.

Why are Board Games Bad Mage Knight
Modern board games can contain a lot of components. Pictured: Mage Knight Ultimate Edition

Board games can be addictive

Like a lot of other activities, board gaming can be harmful in large doses. Regular players often neglect physical activity and healthy eating, which can be detrimental to your long-term health.

Then there’s the shiny new object syndrome. A new board game has come out (or even more dangerous – is available on Kickstarter) and you just need to have it. Even though you have a large shelf of unplayed games (many of them unopened still!) right there at your home, just collecting dust.

Such behavior can lead to a dangerous hoarding addiction – luckily, in the board gaming world the damage is mostly monetary and you can re-sell some of your games later. But it can easily spin out of control. I’ve seen gamers with hundreds or even thousands of games in their collection.


Just like you, I’d like nothing more than to fill out my days (and nights) with gaming – maybe even play a full table of Twilight Imperium in one sitting. But rarely do we have a chance to dive in that deep and forget about the outside world for too long.

In reality, we’re limited by the free time we have, and the time other people have. Often, real life will get in the way and you’ll only have time for a short, light game with your partner before bedtime, instead of a meaty gaming night. Other times, work and kids will tire you too much, and all you want is just some quiet time on the couch.

Organizing a game night can be a tough nut – it depends a lot on the stage of life you (and your group ) are in. In school/college/retired? Great, you have all the time in the world and I envy you for being able to play every day. Long working hours, family obligations, other hobbies? Much, much harder to get everyone together.

Space consuming

Many modern board games come with a plethora of components, boards, and other moving parts.  It’s said they have a large footprint, meaning they require a large surface to play on. Often, such games also have long playing time, together with a long set-up.

These facts are a real pain if you don’t have a dedicated playing table. Sure, the dining table will do just fine. But how will your family look when you’ve set up a 5-hour Mage Knight solo scenario and all they want is table space to eat dinner?

I know many people use special board game tables, but I also know many people don’t and are forced to improvise.

There’s also a matter of storing board games. If you have a large house with a lot of spare space, there’s no problem installing another shelf or two. But for people in small apartments, every inch is precious.

Why are Board Games Bad Gaia Project
A game like Gaia Project can easily take up the entire table.

Board games are expensive

If you’re US-based, this one might come as a surprise, but in other parts of the world, the board games are much more expensive, especially if you take the income side into account. In Slovenia, a larger board game can easily come at 5-10% of the average monthly salary. At this rate, you have to consider your purchases really carefully. The ratio is even worse for other countries.

On the other hand, board games are a much better investment than video games. They usually hold their price well and it’s not hard to re-sell them.

They can be stressful

A package has arrived! All excited, you rush to open it and start unpacking your newly acquired board game. Then you come to the manual … what? 28 pages? Oh, man …

We are all very familiar with this feeling – learning is after all an essential component of board gaming. But nonetheless, complexity and learning the rules can bring a lot of frustration and stress to players.

After you’ve grasped (the basics) of the rules, the real learning begins. Trying to remember everything you’ve already learned, you learn more intricate rules and mechanics and try out new strategies and approaches, often accompanied by a lot of losing, especially if you’re playing against more experienced players (or a challenging cooperative game).

To many, this stage is where the magic of board gaming happens, but to many others, it will be a stressful experience, especially if they’re dragged into a game that is more demanding than what they’re comfortable with.

Competition can bring out the worse in people

If a game ends with someone winning, then someone else must lose. That is the nature of competitive games.

The problem arises when there are players who can’t handle losing (always blaming the wrong factors for their loss), can’t behave when they win (boasting and belittling others), or just generally can’t handle a competitive environment. It’s not fun being attacked or blocked every other turn and it’s in human nature to feel frustrated when something is taken away from you.

You need to grow a thick skin and always keep in mind that it’s just a game. What happens on the table, stays there! The more comfortable you are around players, the more cutthroat games you can play. When playing with your grandmother and little nephew, perhaps it’s better to stick with family board games.

Why are Board Games Bad Scythe
In a game like Scythe, one bad battle outcome can completely turn the tables. Your hard-earned resources can go down the drain, which can be very frustrating.

Other adults will look down on you for playing board games

This last one is minor since it greatly depends on what social circles you’re moving in. Moreover, if you’re having fun and not hurting anyone, who cares what others think.

Bot board gaming (or gaming in general) is still not a widely understood and recognized hobby. Many adults will think it’s childish and will see you as immature. Let’s say you’re in a business meeting and somehow hobbies come up during a break. How will they perceive you if you say board games? How about golf or tennis?


Despite all the things mentioned above, I believe board games are one of the best ways of spending your leisure time. They’re sociable, encourage strategic thinking, and most importantly – fun.

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39 thoughts on “Why are Board Games Bad? – 8 Downsides of Board Gaming”

  1. lol what a clown article. This guy could write an article about how drinking water is bad for you and use all these same points. Get a real job you hack.

  2. Problem with link bait that is that it works once and turns off those baited from ever returning. I just set this site to “never show again” for this reason.

    • While you’re right, such articles also introduce a site to a fresh audience, who might find the content here interesting. And I can confidently say that the quality of content on our site compared to a typical ad-infested clickbait site is a few levels higher.

      • You actually believe that someone is going to read this and think “why I wonder what other valuable insights this person might have, I should hop on over to their site right now and find out!”?
        I think you’re going to be disappointed waiting for that bump in traffic.

  3. Nice article, really to the point. Those were what i was thinking lately. Though imho last three is a tad harsh with bias. Learning could be described as a bit intimidating at best, but it may even be enjoyable in itself. Competition may feel like a b*tch to some ppl sometimes, but they’ll remember it with fond memories if the place, friends, and the game itself was nice, in my experience at least. About prestige, yea maybe a bit credits down the drain, not any more than other hobbies like video games, or comics though. Also it has a positive side to the keen eye, cause of the team building and organizing side.

  4. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response was there anything that could even be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul. ‘

  5. Love that someone threw in a Billy Madison line in the comments. I found your article to be good satire from someone that probably plays a lot of board games. In seriousness the carbon footprint is something to think about. I’m about to publish a board game and the plastic wrap does seem to be a complete waste; as well as having it made in China so I’m opting to skip the plastic and have the game produced from local printers. It does make me curious though to find the regulations of what is necessary to be able to declare “green” manufacturing.

    • Thanks for the comment.

      The carbon footprint of a product is something that will be a big talking point in the future, not just in board gaming. Unfortunately, at this point, it’s still relatively hard to track resources, manufacturing, and shipping to be able to fully tell a product’s impact on the environment. And it’s even harder to produce something with 100% sustainability.

      I like your idea and fully endorse it. However, I fear that you will be hard-struck by reality when you’ll start adding costs together.

    • I wouldn’t call Catan bad for board gaming. It’s a pretty decent game even by today’s standards and it has significant historical importance in board gaming.

      On the other hand, Exploding Kittens, Cards Against Humanity, and other similar cheap shots put board gaming in a bad light.

  6. I do not usually leave replies and, in this case, what draws me to do so was how you handled the comments section. To be fair to some of the other commentators- I would not have been drawn to read your other articles based off the contents or style of this one. What draws me to reply was how you handled the comments section. To be fair to some of the other commentators- I would not have been drawn to read your other articles based off the contents or style of this one.

    It’s very clickbait and, while oddly humorous to me lacks much substance. My caveat is that I honestly had not considered environmental impact before your article. So, I appreciate the fact that you turned my awareness in that direction. However, (and yes I am aware of how the internet works) those who left comments were harsh in ways that belittled their own efforts. They wasted their own time to point out the lack of intellectual or informational value of your article with comments that also lacked any substance or even an argument any better than my five-year-old son might make.

    But… the way you handled those comments and still chose to respond to each one was admirable. And, rare. So – because of your better behavior as a human, which I personally appreciate, I am now happy and eager to read some of the articles you’ve written that you might wish had gotten more clicks 🙂 – I wish you the best of luck with your future articles and thanks for making my day better via the pleasure of reading interactions made with human decency in mind.

  7. Was prepared to be defensive but then I realized you love boardgames too 😉
    I will definitely check out your other articles later (when I am not running late)

      • Oh my god… This is my life in a nut shell. I love boardgames, card games, table top roll playing games. But finding the time to play….

        That said I do have some unplayed games in my collection, 4 of them. 2 were picked up for far to inexpensive for the amount of tree in the box and one need minis painted before it is very playable, enter time issue again.

        I have a rule for my games, I have shelves built into my wall and if those are full I must sell to make space before I can buy anything else.

        I do wish there was a “Green Gamer” label we could make to put on games made from sustainable sources. Or “Re-player” for games made of at least 80% recycled materials. Sadly I think these will only come to pass if the market demands it or laws are made requiring it.

        I do appreciate your effort hear and I think a long in depth article about the environmental impact of gaming and ways we the market can effect change is something the hobby as a whole should read. Any suggestions?

  8. Holy hell this article save my life without this article I would have suffered an extremely painful death there is nothing I can do to express my immense gratitude thank you for everything you wrote and will continue to write!!


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