Episode 24

5 Spiritual Lessons from Cooperative Board Games


February 19th, 2023

53 mins 41 secs

Your Hosts

About this Episode


  • Jim from Pennsylvania


  • Episode 21 feedback - So grateful to @CampingMeeple's response to episode 21 - how to start a board game group:  "We are trying to keep a Board game day happening more often at our church, but it was actually interesting listening to your last episode because it’s generally hobby people at ours and you were talking about card games and stuff a lot. I am a relatively newer convert to hobby games, but my addiction started at one of these events. Interestingly, I attended one a few years prior and it didn’t stick the same way. But just like you said it generally needs to be accessible games not heavy and the last time I brought my 10 year old."
  • This episode - @Reengineer_the_game offers this response to our question about spiritual lessons learned from cooperative games: "Humility is the first one that comes to mind. You can be humbled in competitive games by being out played but in cooperative games you can choose humility over being an “alpha player” or simply get beat by the game."

What is a cooperative game?

  • You win as a group against the board, and not against each other
  • You share information and ideas, and sometimes even resources
  • You have a shared objective (achieve a certain amount of goals)
  • You coordinate your moves and plan out as a group what to do

Note the original Monopoly game had 2 rules-sets, and the second one (that we don’t play anymore) was cooperative.

From Wikipedia:

In 1903 Elizabeth Magie patented "The Landlord's Game", inspired by the principles and philosophy of Henry George. The Landlords' and designed as a protest against the monopolists of the time, the game is considered to be the game from which Monopoly was largely derived. In it, Magie had two rule-sets - the Monopoly rules, in which players all vied to accrue the largest revenue and crush their opponents, and a co-operative set. Her dualistic approach was a teaching tool meant to demonstrate that the co-operative rules were morally superior.

Spiritual Lessons

  1. Learning to take turns and moves that help the group and not yourself.
  2. Learning that diversity of gifts is important. Many cooperative games assign roles with special powers. Everyone has a different role to play. See 1 Corinthians 12 & Romans 12 in the Christian Bible.
  3. Encouraging everyone to participate in a low-stress way; cooperative games allow players to give and receive advice on what to do in a turn.
  4. The importance of trusting others' choices. Sometimes we have to let others fail in order to respect that actions and choices.
  5. Individual achievement can feel different from communal achievement. A shared victory is much sweeter in the end, don’t you think?