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The Best Board Games for Nerds, Brains, and Thinkers

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Many of us have that one member of the family or friend. You know, the one who gets all the answers right on Jeopardy, reads the Alexander Hamilton biography for fun, or does math problems in their head. They are often known as “a Brain,” “a Nerd,” or “a Thinker.” And they can be difficult to shop for.

Finding the perfect gift is next to impossible. Have no fear, I’ve got you. If you have a Thinker on your shopping list this year, look no further. These Brains often love games: video games, board games, word games, and probably a Sudoku or two.

I love board games because they create a space for time spent together as a family or as friends having fun, making memories, and building relationships. All of these things are crucial for our own mental and emotional health in the hyperconnected world that we live.

This list of favorite board games was given to me by my “Thinker” of a son-in-law who recently received a master’s degree in Physics and is often the smartest person in a room. These are some of his favorites and they make excellent game nights for the entire group because most of these games are cooperative. Cooperative games are also a good idea for a group that has anyone who is often a sore loser (or winner).

man in bike helmet and sunglasses
My brainy son-in-law, Michael




Betrayal at the House on the Hill

Scotland Yard

Escape Zombie City


Escape Zombie City is already on my gift list for my son-in-law as he so helpfully pointed out when he sent me the list, that it was the one game he did not already own.

What are some of your family’s favorite board games that suit a wide variety of skill and age levels? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to help my son-in-law find a new favorite game!

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