J-P Wooding: Feeling board? Then let the games begin

Board games make a refreshing change to a night out, says J-P
Board games make a refreshing change to a night out, says J-P

TThe family that plays together stays together – an anonymous quote on the side of the box of Trivial Pursuit Family Edition.

Perhaps it is a statement many families could try to follow as, according to some, technology separates us from one another.

In the past we only used to play board games at Christmas; the aforementioned Trivial Pursuit would be dusted off, counters relieved of seemingly forced-in wedges (or pieces of pie, whatever you prefer) and the questions asked.

Recently we have been enjoying a monthly games night: together with another couple, we take turns in hosting an evening of board games, wine and snacks.

Granted, this may not sound as exciting as a night on the town but that’s just the point; it’s an alternative to the same old things.

We enjoy good company, have a laugh and while putting the world to rights and find that it costs a lot of money if you land on Mayfair when someone has a hotel on it!

We play a selection of games, some modern updates of the classics and other simple card games; all the while our attention is on each other and not the TV, mobile or other digital distraction. For that evening, once a month, it is a pleasant change.

More importantly I’ve found it has encouraged us to play more games as a family at home, which is great for the children’s education too.

Computer games undoubtedly improve hand-eye co-ordination. I dare say I was as obsessed with an Italian plumber rescuing a Princess as my son is with building huge structures on Minecraft, but room should be made for older forms of entertainment and family bonding.

Cluedo teaches logical deduction and Monopoly is fantastic for mental arithmetic and long-term planning too. These games also encourage the development of character; how one deals with losing.

I recall a video game called Atmosfear coming out in the early 1990s; it seemed great but didn’t have long-term appeal. Like similar DVD interactive games it didn’t match the efforts of conventional board games.

I’m an advocate of murder mystery games; they use a CD and no boards are involved but they’re great for social interaction.

If you’re short of ideas one Saturday night and don’t fancy a movie or drinks in town, why not invite some friends over and get the dice out?

If you all end up arguing and an “incident” occurs, don’t worry, I already know what happened.

Best mate, in the kitchen, with the lead piping.

Read more from J-P here.