Games To Teach Discernment

Summary: Games can be an effective tool for teaching discernment, allowing individuals to develop critical thinking skills in an enjoyable and engaging manner. By using games, players can practice making decisions, evaluating options, and weighing consequences, all while having fun and building their mental agility.

1. Games that teach decision-making

Decision-making is a key component of discernment, and there are many games that help players practice this skill. One popular example is Settlers of Catan, a strategy game where players must make choices about how to use their resources, trade with other players, and expand their territory. By playing this game, individuals learn to analyze options, anticipate outcomes, and assess risks, all of which are essential skills for developing discernment. Other games that focus on decision-making include Risk, Carcassonne, and Diplomacy.

In addition to board games, there are also many digital games that teach decision-making skills. For example, the game Papers, Please challenges players to make ethical choices as an immigration officer, deciding who to let into the country and who to turn away. This game emphasizes the consequences of each decision, encouraging players to think carefully before acting. Other digital games that teach decision-making skills include Life is Strange, Detroit: Become Human, and Beholder.

No matter what type of game is chosen, the key is to encourage players to reflect on their choices and consider the impact they will have on the game’s outcome. By guiding players through this process, games can help individuals develop their decision-making skills in a structured and supportive environment.

2. Games that evaluate options

Another important aspect of discernment is the ability to evaluate options. This involves analyzing the pros and cons of different choices, considering potential outcomes, and determining the best course of action. Many games encourage players to practice this skill by presenting them with multiple options and challenging them to choose the most effective one.

One example of a game that focuses on evaluating options is Chess. In this classic strategy game, players must assess each move carefully, considering both its immediate impact and its long-term consequences. Through play, Chess helps individuals learn to analyze complex situations, anticipate their opponent’s next move, and identify the optimal path forward.

Other games that help players evaluate options include poker, bridge, and Magic: The Gathering. These games all require careful analysis of available choices, encouraging individuals to weigh the pros and cons of each option and consider the potential for unexpected outcomes. By honing this skill through play, individuals can develop discernment in a variety of contexts, from personal decision-making to complex problem-solving in the workplace.

3. Games that weigh consequences

In addition to evaluating options, discernment also involves weighing consequences. This means considering the potential outcomes of a decision and determining whether the benefits outweigh the risks. Many games help players practice this skill by presenting them with choices that have both positive and negative consequences.

For example, the game Oregon Trail challenges players to make decisions about their journey westward, weighing the risks and rewards of various routes and actions. By experiencing the consequences of each decision, players learn to evaluate the potential outcomes of their choices and make informed decisions. Other games that emphasize weighing consequences include Fiasco, Pandemic, and Dead of Winter.

In digital games, consequences can be visualized in a variety of ways, from changes to the game’s environment and story to alterations in the characters’ relationships or abilities. Games like Mass Effect, Fallout, and The Walking Dead all present players with choices that carry significant consequences, encouraging them to think carefully before acting.

4. Games that develop critical thinking skills

Discernment is ultimately about developing critical thinking skills, and games can be an effective tool for achieving this goal. By challenging players to analyze information, evaluate options, and weigh consequences, games encourage individuals to think creatively, logically, and strategically.

One example of a game that helps develop critical thinking skills is CodeNames. In this word-based strategy game, players must give one-word clues to reveal the identities of secret agents while avoiding traps set by their opponents. By forcing players to think creatively and logically, this game helps build critical thinking skills that can be applied in a variety of contexts.

Other games that develop critical thinking skills include Scrabble, Boggle, and Mastermind. These games all require players to analyze information, make connections between ideas, and develop strategies to achieve their goals.

5. Games that promote empathy and emotional intelligence

Discernment is not just about logic and strategy, but also about empathy and emotional intelligence. Games can help individuals develop these skills by encouraging them to understand and relate to others’ perspectives and emotions.

One popular example is the game Dungeons & Dragons, which encourages players to create rich, complex characters with unique personalities, backgrounds, and motivations. Through role-playing, players learn to understand and empathize with their character’s experiences, feelings, and beliefs, as well as those of their fellow players.

Other games that promote empathy and emotional intelligence include The Sims, Animal Crossing, and Journey. These games all allow players to interact with virtual characters in complex ways, building relationships and developing a deeper understanding of others’ perspectives.


Games can be a powerful tool for teaching discernment, allowing players to develop critical thinking, decision-making, and empathy skills in an enjoyable and engaging manner. By practicing these skills through play, individuals can build their mental agility and become more effective problem-solvers in a variety of contexts.

To get started with games that teach discernment, try exploring some of the titles mentioned in this article, or doing your own research to find games that are particularly relevant to your interests or needs. Whether you choose digital or analog, strategy or role-playing, chess or Settlers of Catan, there is a game out there that can help you build your discernment skills and become a more thoughtful, empathetic, and effective decision-maker.

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