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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Timely Topics - Why game? Why not? (En Garde!)

Hello, come in, come in. Glad to see you back. I'm a little tired tonight so let's play a simple game and have a nice chat.

Perhaps En Garde? Fencing with cards! Start with a deck of 25 cards, 5 each of 1-5 value. Play your card from a hand of 5 cards and move forward or back. Play another card to attack! Or play 2 or more for a stronger attack! I can play the same card(s) to parry then can attack back or move. You get a point if the attack is not parried. Play to 5 points to win. Simple! Fast! Fun!


(I'm first, starting on space 1 and play a 5 to advance to the 6 space) I was thinking about why some people like gaming so much, and why some others don't seem so interested.

(You're on 23, play a 5 as well, advance to 18) What made me start thinking about this was my wife - she 'likes' to play games and she is very competitive (sometimes too competitive). And, when we get together with my parents she is willing to play games and even suggests playing games. We usually will play Ticket to Ride, Dominion, Crokinole, Bananagrams or something similar.


(I'll play a 3 to advance to 9) However, it's difficult to get her to try new games sometimes. We have a rule that if it's 10:30pm or later she won't learn a new game. Sometimes she says she'll try a new game before 10:30pm but usually she prefers playing games she already knows.

(You play a 4 to advance to 14)  And, she often prefers the same ones she knows just because she doesn't want to try another new game. Maybe she thinks I'll just win (she gets a little grouchy if I win). But I suspect it's because she doesn't think she'll like it. Or just isn't sure at least. Now here's the interesting thing...if you don't play a new game, how do you know if you'll like it or not? It's just like food. If you don't try it, you don't know if you'll like it.

(I play a 5 to attack as I'm 5 spaces away from you: 14-9=5) Ha! Didn't see that coming, did you? YOU know who you are that think gaming is just for kids, or isn't something you can't or don't think you'll enjoy. Yet, you'll try new foods out won't you? (well, maybe not some of you) Food is easy though - you generally know it will taste good, unless it's stinky or something. Games are the same way. Most are pretty tasty (and most aren't stinky - unless you buy used games from yard sales a lot)

(You play a 5 to parry, then a 3 to back up to 17) Yes, some games are for kids. BUT, even kids games can be fun, some are excellent, and enjoyable even with just adults! Take Sorry Sliders!, or PitchCar, or even Tier auf Tier (Animal upon Animal) or Rattlesnake. Simple! Fast! Fun! You just have to give it a go.

(I play a 4 to advance to 13) Games don't have to be deep or intense to be fun. And, they don't have to be just boring roll and move like Monopoly (although I'll gladly play, if you play by the REAL rules employing the auction, and with a time limit for the game end), or Clue (although, really, Clue isn't that bad, but there ARE better versions out there). They can have a little meat, something that draws you in and captures your attention.

(You play a 4, then another 4 for a strong attack!) Like what? Well....

(I play two 4's to parry!) I knew you'd ask that! How about Stone Age or Settlers of Catan with their unique use of dice to control the game! Or Ticket to Ride with it's terrific tension even though it's fundamentally a simple set-collection card game! What?! Simple, yet fun! How interesting....

(...then I play a 2 to advance to 15) You're asking me if games are just a waste of time? Hmmmm....no, I don't think so...it's kind of surprising really how much you can get out of games.

(You play a 1 to advance to 16!) For instance?

(I play a 1 to attack!) Well, you (and your kids) can improve your math skills, learn how to plan ahead with long-term strategy, how to react to situations tactically when something unexpected happens, learn negotiation skills, develop money management skills, learn how to take risks and the consequences (good or bad) of such action, learn about history, learn cooperation, or even develop your skills in hand-eye coordination with dexterity games. There are so many things to get out of gaming. And, the most important skill of all - spending time with friends and family developing relationships that last.

(You play a 1 to parry, then the last two 1's in the deck to attack back for the win as I have no possibility of a parry!) Hmmm, none of that matters to you? Really? Well then I guess you won't get anything out of gaming.....

Oh wait! You mean you just want to have fun! Ha!

Ok, I'm awake now.

Let's go play Agricola after En Garde!

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