Bonding Over Games

Yesterday was mush day (when I was supposed to post this, but I had had a rough day and just wanted to spend the night cuddling) and coming up here in Canada we have family day – I figured it was a good time to talk about bonding over games.

I really encourage several different types of people to bond over games, play them as a family or at family get together. I’ve also been pleasantly surprised just how many people are on board for it (no pun intended when I originally wrote that, but then I liked that pun so now I’m pointing it out). We have a ‘greedy santa’ game we play at work where you fight over present – there are more rules, but last year we introduced having to use rock, paper, scissors and it was hilarious. And the gifts that got the most attention were the games.

Even with that, there are still a lot of people who eye games and consider them ‘childish,’ or may be afraid of those who are competitive and may destroy the fun. I’m not here to argue that table top games are a better bonding than other things, just that you should give them a try, despite these thoughts or fears.

Games have some notable and studied benefits that include skill building and some good life lessons – like how to lose gracefully, and that not winning doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time.

Games also work your brain, and it is important to ‘exercise’ it and keep it challenged. You will find it easier to resolve complex puzzles and problems if you have regular practice doing so – even if your practice takes place on a game board.

Games actually helped me tame my competitiveness… although this maybe because I win a fair bit. As someone who often acts as a game master I do enjoy being able to teach and enjoy seeing others win over me as it’s rewarding to see someone having fun with something you showed them, and also to see them grow (and for me, to see them not groan at the fact that I won again… sometimes I just bow out and act as a teacher/guide so that I give others a chance).

But even if you take the fact that they are a great learning tool away, they are also great for social occasions. They are fairly easy to have a conversation over – you may need to get used to the rules before you can converse, but once you do it’s pretty easy. They also create conversations in themselves, and I’ve seen many scenarios where people were crying the were laughing so hard.

It can also mix things up and include a lot of people – if you can one of the many multi-player games you can have a big family get together and enjoy it, with both kids and adults (depending on the game). Again, laughter is often involved – and that’s a huge part of it. It is a good learning tool, but it’s a fun one, and you can still socialize over it… so it’s pretty much ready to integrate into your party.

But the other thing is that there are MANY types of games for tons of people. If you’re a creative group there are more creative games, or if you’re big on strategy there are strategy games. There are also games that can hit a few groups all in one – like Code Names is a general crowd pleaser. You’ve even got different types of games under one category, like trivia games get spins in games like Geek Out or Wits and Wagers, so groups usually not into trivia may end up liking a trivia game.

There are cooperative games for those who don’t like being competitive, word games that are very different from Scrabble, dice games for a lot of chance and everything from easy to pick up and play to very complicated that requires tons of thought.

There is a game out there for everyone, you just have to find it – and once you have, it’s really really fun to share it with those around you.

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