This post is brought to you by HABA USA and written by guest blogger and board gamer Wesley Jones.
I believe that families are the basic unit of society and I also believe we all want strong families, but unfortunately families seem to be breaking down. Here is a joke along those lines:
“We had an outage at my place this morning and my PC, laptop, TV, DVD, iPad & my new surround sound music system were all shut down. Then I discovered that my iPhone battery was dead and to top it off it was raining outside, so I couldn't play golf. So I went into the kitchen to make some coffee and then I remembered that this also needs power. But I found my wife and kids there in the kitchen also, so I talked with them for a few hours. They seem like real nice people.”
Technology is wonderful but it can also isolate us if we aren’t careful.
I propose that modern board games are ideal for bringing families together and strengthening them. (I use the term board games in the generic sense to include all types of games: card games, dexterity games, party games, puzzle games, children’s toy games, games with actual boards, etc.)—And of course, unlike electronics, board games take no electricity so you can play them when there is no power, when the batteries are dead and when it is raining outside.
Most American families are familiar with the older board games like Monopoly, The Game of Life, Sorry, Jenga, Old Maid, etc. These have their place and can and have strengthened families but there are more modern board games that, to many of us, are so much more fun than those old stand-bys! Some of these more popular modern board games you may have heard of, or played are: Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne and The Settlers of Catan. These are all great competitive games. But there is another genre of games called, Cooperative games. These games are where everyone is on the same team playing against the game itself and you all win together or lose together.Cooperative games are especially good for children (or adults!) who are sore losers or might have a melt down if you beat them to the token they wanted.
There is a website dedicated exclusively to board games at www.boardgamegeek.com. You can find nearly every game there, including ratings, reviews, rules, videos, etc. This is where I discovered one of my favorite games—a HABA game, Animal upon Animal. This is a great dexterity game where you are stacking funny shaped animals; it is so much richer and funner than Jenga. And the neat thing about this game is that it is one of those rare games where adults have just as much fun playing it as do children! And in fact, children and adults playing it together, each have an equal chance of winning.
Here is a photo of me and my wife playing Animal upon Animal with its big, chunky wooden animals.
In fact, our family likes this game so much that we now own most of its spin-offs. We now have over 100 animals and we love to put them all together and play a huge mega-stacking game of Animal upon Animal. So fun for all age levels. . . perfect family fun!
HABA doesn’t just make high quality children’s toys and games like Animal upon Animal. They have recently entered the Strategy game market with a game geared for older children and adults: Karuba. Karuba is a tile laying, puzzle style game. for ages 8+. Very fun! I wrote a review and posted it on BoardGameGeek.
I hope you will consider or reconsider modern board games as part of your family tradition. As a father of 5 children, none of me, my wife and children’s best memories include staring at a screen together (or separately) as a family. But many of our best memories are of playing board games together where we laughed our heads off, groaned at our mistakes, good naturedly ribbed each other and competed for the highest score and where we worked and communicated together to win!
Board games have helped build and strengthen our family over the years. If you will give them a chance, I believe they will do the same for yours.