Are board games what happens when children or adults are board? Since the digital age there has been a decline in children playing board games. When I was younger playing board games was very popular during the school holidays, rainy days and when entertaining friends.
As I had sisters close to my age I always had someone to play a board game with. We would play Monopoly, Ludo or Chinese checkers. These were our favourites. Apart from playing board games we would also play cards, such as snap. Not too much sophistication! It was all about fun and not winning. But for some children they thought winning was better than fun. How did this happen? There are adults who like to win as well and some will cheat to make this happen. This is when the game is no longer a game. It is a strategic battle of wills to see who can deceive another! Cheating is not in the rule book. My rule book tells me that board games and card games are about having fun and just chilling out.
Playing board games is not something we do at our place. My “One & Only” (O&O) gets board at the first mention of playing a board game or cards! I asked him why this was so? His response was that he played so many board games as a child – he has had enough! Therefore, I can’t have any fun with him by playing board games. Our fun is found in small projects around the house, doing these together. Another past-time is walking. When we walk we usually talk? But is it as fun as board games?
When my son was growing up I got to play board games and cards. Trivial Pursuit became popular at the time. But this was more a game of knowledge than of chance. When you play a game of chance, the outcome is more unknown and this is where the fun comes in. The unexpected shift in the game or when someone shouts, “check mate”. The person who shouted out is having the most fun here!
Chess is one of the longest running games in the world. It originated in Northern India before the 6th Century A.D. It then spread throughout Persia, Spain, Southern Europe and eventually the rest of the globe. Chess is a strategy board game and to win you need a high level of skill and memory. Of all the chess playing championships I have seen I have never seen anyone laughing. It is not so much a game of fun, unless you are a winner at the end! The current World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen from Norway. He has held the title since 2013.
I am not a good chess player but should I become one? I am reasonable at playing cards. Should I play solitaire? I have a set of round Mr Men cards that belong to my son. They are a vintage set of playing cards. That word vintage is featuring more and more in my life these days! I have the vintage crock pot and now the vintage playing cards.
My maternal grandmother played the card game patience. When my father died, she told my mother to play patience. My grandmother died in her late 80’s and never had dementia. My mother is 90 years old and does not have dementia. Is there something in playing games and cards? Is sitting watching television stimulating our mind?
A French study published in 2013 showed that playing board games can improve cognitive performance in healthy, elderly participants. They found that board game players have a 15% lower risk to develop dementia. There was also less cognitive decline and less depression for those participants who played board games. There are benefits in playing board games!
There are other ways we can keep up our cognitive function if we do play board games. If we are curious about life, what is happening around us and we look for ways to be creative, this will help our cognition. Playing or learning a musical instrument, learning a new language are all ways we can improve out cognitive function. Then there are those who do crosswords or solve puzzles. If we engage in lifelong learning we are keeping our mind active and stimulated. Now, what will I do today to stimulate my cognitive ability? I am going to the piano and play a piece of music I have never read before. That is always very challenging and stimulating for my mind. Now, what about you?