It was Colonel Mustard in the study, with a rope.
Do not pass “GO,” do not collect $200.
Make statements like those to a small child, and his eyes may glaze over. Chances are, he has no idea what you’re talking about. With all the electronic gaming media out there, have classic board games gone the way of the dinosaur?
According to Deena Jones, multi-age teacher at Greenwood Elementary School, kids enjoy video games and board games may be a dying form of recreation.
“We play board games at home,” said Jones. “But children today like video games. My daughter, Lauren, now has Twister and all the neighborhood girls come over to play. We also played it at her birthday sleepover party.”
Cherokee County resident Wendy Cochran believes video games have affected family play.
“I feel video games have affected families,” said Cochran. “We used to play lots of games growing up, and that’s just not done so much anymore.”
Cochran is happy her family plays some video games together.
“My husband and sons are big sports fans,” she said. “They do play PlayStation sports games together, which my kids really love, because on the video game, they are on equal ground with my husband and often beat him.”
Cochran fondly remembers her first board game.
“My first game was called Hi-Ho Cherry-O,” said Cochran. “You spin the spinner and it lands on a number, then you ‘pick’ that number of cherries off of your cherry tree to put in your basket.”
One potential problem with board games like Monopoly and Risk is playing time.
“The question, ‘How long will it take?’ is the hallmark of a skeptical gamer, reluctant to invest time in a potentially painful play,” said Will Baker, contributor to The Games Journal. “The response ‘Ten minutes, tops,’ could be enough to entice an otherwise flighty player. Replying with ‘An hour and half to two hours,’ however, might not close the deal.”
When time is of the essence, it’s perhaps best to either select a guaranteed, low-risk short game, or to engineer some way for the unhappy player to bow out of a more lengthy one, said Baker.
Even though families have less and less time to spend together, relationship counselor Christine Northam believes playing board games with the family is valuable in a number of ways.
“Board games allow us to play, which is incredibly important for families,” said Northam. “Children who play board games with siblings, parents and other family members learn about winning and losing. They learn how to make a game plan and how to think strategically in relation to other players, a skill that is not so readily developed in the more popular world of video games.”
Children exposed to family play at the dinner table learn about suspense and the excitement of taking small risks. “When the risks don’t work out, they lose the fake Monopoly money which, in that instant, can feel bad,” said Northam.
Which also holds an important lesson - that of losing gracefully.
“Experiencing these feeling on a small scale and within the supportive environment of home can prepare children for later life,” said Northam.
Robert Frank, known as “Wolf” to his fellow domino players, earned his name by learning to play at an early age.
“When I was growing up, there was a domino game at the fire station every day,” said Pat Frank, Wolf’s mother. “Later on, when my husband was fire chief, Rob spent all his free time down there playing dominoes, and he’s carried on the tradition, too. The first outings my grandson, Turk, Rob’s son, took were down to the fire station to watch his daddy play dominoes.”
Board games bring back memories for Jones, as well.
“When I was a child, around 5 [years old], my brothers, Randy and Mike [Underwood] would have our whole neighborhood over to play Monopoly,” said Jones. “This would have been around 1972. We would play it for hours.
“I still have our original game with all of the pieces,” she said. “I’m wanting to get it framed. Those were the days! We also played Twister and Life.”
Cochran’s family makes homemade boards on which to play.
“My favorite [board game] is probably Wahoo,” said Cochran. “Ours is a homemade board and you play it with marbles, I think it’s also called Aggravation. My family all have homemade boards, and when we get together, we have tournaments. On the other side of the boards, there is a game you play with cards and checkers, which I believe is called Sequence. It, too, is homemade, and everyone who has a Wahoo board has this game on the other side.”
Northam applauds parents who play games with their children.
“Board games give families the opportunity to laugh and have fun with each other,” she said. “[Which is] a crucial activity for a healthy and happy family life.”
Top 10 board games
According to familyeducation.com, the following are the top 10 most popular board games as reviewed by its readers:
4. Chinese Checkers
5. Chutes and Ladders
6. Game of Life
10. Candy Land
It was Colonel Mustard in the study, with a rope.