|Warhammer vs Monopoly
In order to see the world around you, it’s important to keep your head up and your eyes on the move. Those of you who do so have probably noticed that more and more people are now walking around with their heads down. We have become a world that is obsessed with being in constant contact via smartphone, tablet, and PC. The irony is the more connected we become to the virtual world, the more we lose touch with the human element that is right in front of us. Today’s kids seem to be the ones who are most affected by this seeming need for connectivity, but the question has to be: at what cost?
There are those that will argue that today’s kids need to have a strong background in computers if they are going to be able to get ahead in the business world. There is some truth to that, but they also need to learn life lessons that can’t be taught in a video game. The fact is that children need to learn social skills more than they need to know about bytes and pixels. There is a way, as a parent, to impart those skills, yet do so in a way that is fun for everyone.
Back in the days before computers made their way into the average home, families were forced to spend some time together, with games and entertainment often being the ties that bound them together. Board games played a big part in that, but underneath the rolling dice and plastic play pieces lay valuable lessons that helped children develop skills that would help them grow into well-adjusted adults. Playing board games helped younger kids learn colors, shapes, and letters in a way that didn’t make them feel as though they were actually in a learning environment.
Perhaps the most important aspect of playing board games, though, was the fact that the family would actually sit around the table and talk to one another. Everyone got the chance to talk about their day and just take some time to bond. This is something that is becoming obsolete nowadays as everyone, kids and parents alike, plug in the headphones and tune out the world. Sure, modern video games allow folks to play over a network and “converse,” but the chatter is usually confined to telling each other how to destroy the next wave of virtual zombies.
Board games are slowly but surely starting to disappear from toy store shelves as they are ditched to make space for the latest, greatest digital invention. It’s sad to see, but there is still time to remedy the problem if we can all just take a moment to go offline. It’s time to put away the mobile devices, if only for one night a week, gather round the dining room table and have some board game fun. Who knows, you might even find that your kids will end up enjoying themselves. If they can do that, then they will pass on the board game tradition when they have kids of their own.
A footnote from Ray:
I have a friend whom I met many many years ago in a gaming convention and he sells board games via mail order. He also writes really interesting reviews and only tends to sell the games he thinks are good. The games are generally from small publishers and often difficult to get hold of.
His name is Paul Evans and this is a link to his website with all of his board games.