Learn to win board games more often!
Board games are enjoyable, even if you don't win every time. In fact, if you did always win, games would probably become boring very quickly. The challenge and uncertainty is what makes winning fun. So it's okay to lose, but that being said, winning more often couldn't hurt! But how can you increase your odds at winning not just a single game, but all games in general? I'm going to give you some information that will help you learn how to win at board games that applies to virtually any game.
It may seem obvious, but the first thing to keep in mind is the object of the game. All games have an object, which is to win. Only the method of achieving the win is different from game to game. It may be as basic as getting three X's in a row or it could involve scoring victory points through a complex series of steps. No matter how complicated the object seems to be, what you need to do is recognize that you have one goal and stay focused on it. Some games make it easy to get lost in the details and lose focus, and when that happens you won't be winning unless every other player is making the same mistake AND you get lucky.
Most games combine elements of luck and skill, and the best games usually lean more toward skill and only leave a few factors up to chance. Games get boring when increasing your skill does not pay off because others with less skill get lucky and win despite your better efforts. These tips apply more to board games that do not rely too much on random chance, but any game with some element of skill can be won at least slightly more often using my suggestions. Once you firmly grasp the concept of focusing on the object of the game as opposed to the details, it's time to apply strategy and tactics to your goal.
Strategy and tactics are not the same thing. Many people confuse the two or define them the same way, even some online dictionaries list them as synonyms, but the distinction is important. The author of The Art of War Sun Tzu had this to say about the concepts: Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Clearly this ancient military genius knew the difference and applied both correctly. So how do you use strategy and tactics to win at board games? First, know the difference. Strategy has to do with an overall plan to reach your goal. It can be flexible, but if you keep changing your strategy during a game you may as well not have one. Tactics are the individual moves or choices that best serve your strategy. They should be thought out ahead of time, but can change when necessary to adapt to misfortune or opportunity.
You need a clear strategy from the start, one that includes everything you know about the game's requirements and also how your opponents play. If John always makes a certain move in a game, make sure your strategy takes that into account and undermines the benefit he receives from playing the move or blocks it altogether. If you can't win without getting a certain amount of a particular resource, your strategy should not only get you that resource but take measures to prevent others from getting it. In general, a good strategy should consist of: A- a plan that combines the best ways for you to achieve the object of the game while: B- doing everything you can (as long as it doesn't conflict with part A) to block your opponents from achieving that object, in order of whoever is closest to reaching it.
If you are the only player with a solid strategy, you will probably win. It may be a painfully slow victory, but others will flounder while your strategy steadily moves you forward. To improve the effectiveness of your strategy and do better than opponents who have a strategy themselves, you will need to have superior tactics that always support your strategy. Tactics should be chosen and modified based on what actions you can take that best suit your plan at any given moment. Sometimes the choice is obvious and doesn't require much thought, but usually you will need to carefully weigh the consequences of your action both for yourself and for others. In chess this involves thinking several moves ahead. In games centered around making money you need to determine how much profit will be gained versus the risk involved. Sometimes the best move is one that does not benefit you directly but blocks a major advantage to another player who is getting too close to winning.
Tactics should be planned ahead as much as possible, but there need to be contingency plans. The best move is X, but if X becomes impossible Y is the next best choice UNLESS player C plays X, and then Z becomes more important than Y. This kind of thought process, with tactics chosen to support a good strategy based on the object of the game, will help you immensely in your quest to win at board games more often. These ideas are fleshed out differently depending on the details of the game, but the basics always apply. Rather than wishing you good luck, I'll wish you good strategizing!