The Ungame

Board Games as Therapeutic Media

In an article in ROMchip: A Journal of Game Histories, Prof. Hilu explores the history of therapeutic board games.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s board games engaged with the hip and countercultural trends of group therapy and encounter groups. These therapeutic board games like Group Therapy and the Ungame offered players in suburban homes the tools to reflect on their habitual forms of communicating and attempted to reshape these habits to be more in line with idealized visions of liberated and authentic interactions. The therapeutic games analyzed in this essay represent early attempts to put games to work, using them to imagine better forms of relating. These examples help demonstrate some of the potentials and limitations of using board games as therapeutic media.