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5 Games for Building Critical Thinking Skills

Micah Owens / November 8, 2021
5 Games for Building Critical Thinking Skills

Games can be more than just a fun way to pass time; they can stimulate your brain and help you develop critical thinking skills. Critical thinking is the ability to examine information rationally and make a logical judgment based on your analysis. Critical thinking skills help us solve problems, make good decisions, and understand the consequences of our actions.

In this blog, we discuss five of our favorite games to improve critical thinking skills and sharpen the mind.

1. Chess

Chess is the most widely played board game of all time. Your goal in chess is to get a checkmate by getting your opponent’s king into a position where it can be captured and cannot be freed by your opponent’s next move. To win, you must use critical thinking and problem-solving skills to decide which pieces to move to yield the best results on the board.

Chess is all about thinking strategically, anticipating consequences, weighing options, and making strategic decisions. If you want to beat your opponent, you’ve got to get your mental muscles moving!

2. 4 in a Row

4 in a Row is a classic strategy game that encourages players to think strategically with every move to trick and beat their opponent. The objective of the game is to connect four pieces horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. Like Chess, you’ll have to plan your moves in advance to stump your opponent.

Identifying patterns and thinking ahead are both key critical thinking skills and 4 in a Row teaches both.

3. Backgammon

Despite being one of the oldest known board games, Backgammon is still one of the most popular critical thinking games. The objective of the game is to move all your checker pieces off the board and into one of the boxes on the right side.

Playing Backgammon can help teach basic arithmetic as well as more complicated themes like probability and luck. The game teaches players to not rely on pure luck by using strategies and tactics to overcome a bad roll. Players must use critical thinking skills to think ahead and identify patterns to determine the least damaging move and what move will give them an advantage if their opponent has a good roll.

4. 2048

2048 is a single-player puzzle game that encourages players to plan ahead and think strategically. The objective of the game is to join the numbers to get a single tile to be 2048.

2048 requires you to use critical thinking skills to identify the best way to move a tile to generate the number 2048. The game also promotes strategic planning to maximize your time before you run out of moves.

To further improve your critical thinking skills and make the game more challenging, consider setting a time limit.

5. Minesweeper

This single-player puzzle game teaches pattern recognition and deductive reasoning. Minesweeper is a game rooted in logic, problem solving, and deduction. The objective of the game is to clear all the squares on the board that don’t have mines and flag all the mines in the shortest time possible.

Minesweeper teaches pattern recognition as you’ll learn how to look at a series of numbers and figure out what the numbers mean when they’re in a specific order. The more you play the more you’ll pick up on different patterns and the quicker you’ll be able to solve deduction-based problems.

This goes to show that games are not just a form of entertainment. The right games can also be intellectually stimulating and improve critical thinking skills. To further improve your critical thinking skills while having fun at the same time, check out our favorite thinking games to put your critical thinking skills to the test and train your brain.

Micah Owens