Board Games Helping To Bring Refugees Together


We’ve blogged in the past about how board games can be an educational tool, teaching people about social justice (think Monopoly) and the importance of morality (snakes and ladders!) – and now we’re hearing that these games are also now being used to help unite refugees in the city of Berlin.

Writing for Ars Technica, Jeffrey Allers observed that tens of thousands of refugees have been welcomed in the city in the last 12 months, taking up residence in shelters and abandoned buildings. And he found he was able to connect with many of them through the experience of playing board games.

Games that Mr Allers plays with the people he meets include Tsuro, La Boca, Hey, That’s My Fish!, Turkish checkers, Trex, chess and more.

“Whenever I play games with others, we share each other’s stories. The games themselves do not have to tell a story; they simply give us a starting point and a framework for interaction. The multicultural game nights I host through Meetup.com are often just the beginning of ongoing stories—relationships that soon go beyond playing games together. And now the same is happening with my new refugee friends,” he wrote.

As Mr Allers went on to explain, he often finds himself frustrated because he can do little to help the refugees in his city work their way through German bureaucracy, get a job or even find somewhere to live but by playing these games with them he’s able to give them the sense that people do care, simply by spending a bit of time with them and listening to their different stories.

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