May 18, 2022

Board Game Resource Guide For Mental Health

Board Game Resource Guide For Mental Health

This guide was created by Shayna to reference the games discussed in episode 6 of Mental Mages. Additional games are also included as potential resources for therapeutic interventions—or just fun!

Cooperative games

Cooperative games challenge players to work together to beat the objectives designated by the game. Many cooperative games have win conditions and losing conditions. Communication, coordination, problem-solving, and trust are skills that are used during game play.

Pandemic by Z-man Games

  • Players take on important roles in the science field to research, share knowledge, cure, and manage epidemics across the world. Can you work together to eradicate the four diseases?

Marvel United by CMON

  • Become your favorite marvel superhero and create a story in which you fight famous villains with heroic actions and punches.

Fox in the Forest Duet by Foxtrot Games

The Game by Pandasaurus Games

  • Can you beat The Game? Players work together to play 100 cards in order—without direct communication! This game takes a lot of impulse control, strategy, and trust as well as figuring out ways to communicate with one another.

Horrified by Ravensburger

  • If you like classic horror, this is a great game to build lots of communication and teamwork. Players fight to vanquish classic monster such as the wolf man, Dracula, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Two Player Games

Two player games help build trust between players as well as greater understanding of the other’s thought processes. Two player games help newer players begin to track both their own strategy as well as the other player. Many games can be played with just two players but here are a few that are specifically designed that way.

Fox in the Forest Duet by Foxtrot Games

Kodama Duo by Action Phase Games

  • Kodama Duo is a beautiful card game in which players build a tree and gain points based on repeating symbols. This game takes a lot of planning and attention to detail.

Patchwork by Lookout Games

  • Patchwork is a fun puzzle game that is great for building critical thinking, planning, and assertive decision making skills. Make a pretty quilt with patches to earn the most buttons!

Fluttering Souls by Good Games Publishing

  • Fluttering Souls is a very pretty game based on butterflies and collecting. Players take turns trying to get the best collection of butterflies to gain the most points. The game is three rounds and is great for planning, decision making, and focus.

Competitive Games

Competitive games come in all kinds of styles, themes, mechanics, player count, and difficulty. Competitive games help players build skills related to learning to overcome challenges

Sagrada by Floodgate Games

  • Sagrada is a dice drafting puzzle game based on the Cathedral in Spain. Players take turns drafting colored dice to fill in their stained-glass window—but be careful as it is easy to get stuck and out of moves! Skills in this game include focus, planning, assertive decision making, and critical thinking.

Fluxx (various themes) by Looney Labs

  • Fluxx is a card game in which the rules and win conditions are constantly changing. This game is great for attention to details, frustration tolerance, reacting to change, flexibility, and adaptability.

Sequence by Jax, LTD

  • Sequence is great game for more passive discussions. It is simple, straightforward, and can be played as a team game. Skills include problem-solving, attention to detail, and balancing defensive and offensive moves.

Set by Set Enterprise inc.

  • Set is a game of visual perceptions that is excellent for critical thinking, attention to detail, quick thinking, and communication.

Blink by Adlung-Spiele

  • Blink is another game of visual perception but with a slightly different feel. You have to be quick cause the game is over in the blink of an eye! This is a great game for frustration tolerance, focus, and quick thinking.

SkipBo by Mattel Games

  • SkipBo is a classic card game that includes operating multiple tasks and managing multiple rules and guidelines. It is a really great segue from UNO to more challenging games and helps players with task management and decision making.

Rhino Hero by HABA

  • Rhino Hero is a super cute game that challenges players to build a tower with cards so the Rhino can climb as high as they can! This game is great for all ages to practice impulse control, frustration tolerance, planning skills, and patience.

Kingdomino by Blue Orange Games

  • Kingdomino challenges players to build the best kingdom using domino tiles with different terrains. Players must plan carefully and pay close attention as they place tiles. Kingdomino can be played with 3-4 players with a 5x5 grid or with 2 players using a 7x7 grid.

Azul by Next Move Games

  • Azul is another puzzle style game in which players draft colored tiles to create patterns to decorate “the palace.” It is very important to plan carefully and choose wisely when placing the tiles.

Games for groups or families

These games are moderately competitive and require lots of communication and focus on understanding one another’s thought processes and ideas. The below games can help families or groups learn more about one another and how they think.

Dixit by Libellud

  • Dixit is a beautiful game that uses picture cards to communicate ideas and interpretations to other players. This game is truly excellent in helping players better understand one another and their different thought processes. You can truly learn a lot about your friends and family through this game!

Codenames by Czech Games Edition

  • Codenames is a great big group game that requires players to use “codes” to communicate ideas to their teammates. Codenames is another great option to help players build communication and positive teamwork.

Mysterium by Libellud

  • Mysterium has a similar feel to Dixit with slightly more story—one player is the “ghost” and must give clues to the rest of the players through picture cards to solve a murder mystery. Other players may work together to solve the mystery but must be careful as we all interpret things differently!

Hues and Cues by The Op

  • Hues and Cues is a giant board of different color shades. Players take turns giving a “cue” to help others guess what color they might be referencing. It’s a fun and colorful way to practice communication skills!

Great Starter Games

Where do I start?? The below games are really great ways to get started with gaming!

Catan by KOSMOS

  • Resource management and trading

Ticket to Ride by Days of Wonder

  • Set collection

Pandemic by Z-man Games

  • Cooperative

Sushi Go! By Adventureland Games

  • Card drafting

King of Tokyo by Iello

  • Yahtzee style player elimination

Carcassonne by Z-man Games

  • Worker placement

If you are interested in learning more about board games and therapeutic integration, please contact Shayna at for training information.

Additional links