Remember when games were just kids' stuff - and the whole object was to win?

Times have changed. Today the emphasis is on socializing and learning rather than competing. And board games are more popular than ever.Industry watchers expect record sales of board games this holiday season. Consider a few trends:

-While the toy industry as a whole has declined 6 percent in the past three years, board games sales are up 30 percent.

-Since Trivial Pursuit arrived on the scene a mere five years ago, game sales have soared - from an estimated $699 million in 1983 to $1.17 billion in 1987.

What is responsible for this booming adult game market? Several factors.

"Today, games that don't have a competitive element are doing well," says Scott Marley of "Games" magazine. "Winning or losing a game is no longer important; playing the game is what's important."

With the "cocooning" syndrome in full swing, and more people staying home, games have become a focal point for social activities.

Recent surveys suggesting many Americans don't know basic science and geography are ushering in a renaissance of educational games.

As popularity of games has grown, so have the numbers. And this year, game manufacturers are launching a wide variety of products to tempt game-playing consumers. In addition, some of the classics - like Monopoly, Scrabble, Sorry and Clue - are still going strong.

Stories on this page feature some of the new - and old - games of this holiday season. In addition, you might like to look for:

- Outburst (Western, $20). Players are given a category, such as "Sports Teams Named for Animals" or "Cars Rich People Drive" and they must come up with as many items as possible in 60 seconds. Chosen by Games magazine as the best game of 1988.

- Once. (Western, $15). Players are given a storystarter card such as "Once I got stuck in an elevator . . ." or "Once on a boring Saturday night. . . ." The player completes the story with a tale. Other players must decide if the story is true or false.

- Clue Master Detective (Parker Brothers, $19.99). A new challenge for fans of Clue, with new suspects - Miss Peach, Mme. Rose, Sgt. Gray and Monsieur Brunette - murder locations, weapons.

- Free Parking (Parker Brothers, $9.99). A Monopoly offshoot, players feed parking meters with time, then run errands to earn points.

- 20 Questions (Pressman, $19). A takeoff of the person, place or thing parlor game. The fewer clues you need, the faster you advance.

- Pictionary, second edition (Games Gang, full game $30; cards only $15). More than 2,400 new words and phrases.

- Abstracts: The Game of Absurd Logic (Incredible Game Co., $22.95). Featured recently in the Deseret News, this game was developed and is being marketed by Mike Agrelius of Provo. Players answer questions to pin down a mystery identity.

- Yellowstone Treasure Quest (Chisi Corp., $34.95). A board game based on the world's first national park developed by Salt Laker LaVell Johnson and his family. The game features multiple-choice trivia questions and lots of photographs.

And a whole lot more. Check out the games section of your favorite store. You just might find the perfect something for Christmas giving - and for getting through those long winter evenings coming up.