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Make Time for Playtime

Posted on Mar 01, 2016 in Entertainment , Family Fun , Games , March-April 2016

Play is as important for adults as it is for kids By Micah Davis

I could be wrong, but I suspect having a real estate tycoon as your dad pretty much spoils your chances of ever enjoying the Monopoly board game. In my formative years, the Davis household had a Thanksgiving Day tradition of gathering the younger and older folks together after the meal for a round of this classic game. During this time I would struggle to maintain consciousness as boredom threatened to overcome me, while my father would thoroughly annihilate the rest of us, as easily as a Puerto Rican teenager playing little league. So thorough was my own incompetence at this game and so absolute were my father’s victories that it only took about three of these Thanksgiving Monopoly sessions to make me swear it off forever. Given all that, you may be somewhat surprised to learn that as an adult I have become an avid board game player, and I think you should too.

When you’re a kid your life is chock full of opportunities to play, whether it be through sports or with your friends after school. As you get older though, your chances to engage in play dwindle. You might say, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles; children play and adults work. However, many doctors and scientists these days are claiming that play is as important for adults as it is for kids. Play brings joy, relieves stress, boosts creativity and keeps us young. As George Bernard Shaw put it, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

So what does all this talk about playing have to do with board games? Well board games are a great way to engage in play, for several reasons. First, they don’t require any athletic ability, so pretty much anyone can participate, regardless of age or fitness level. Second, they’re convenient: you don’t need a large field or good weather to enjoy them, and they’re portable. To top it off, they’re so much better now than they used to be! Forget Sorry or Scrabble; we live in a veritable board game renaissance, with some real gems out there you may not have heard about.

I recommend checking out Forbidden Island, Pandemic, or Hanabi. Unlike many games, these are cooperative, which makes for a ton of fun interaction between the players, and no bitter feelings afterwards. Those of you looking for more competition should check out Sushi Go, an easy to learn and charming card game. There’s also Settlers of Catan, a modern classic with more awards under its belt than Michael Phelps and Meryl Streep combined.

So this spring break, while everyone is indoors recovering from their sunburns, I recommend trying out a few board games. They’re a great way to connect with your kids, and the older generation can join in as well. At the very least you’ll get everyone off of their phones for an hour. So bust out your dice, shuffle your cards, and get to gaming.