The importance of playing games in-person

In our digital age, it seems we are still able to lose touch with each other. It’s more important now than ever not to just “stay in contact” by looking at our phones, but to have some actual face time with our friends and family. That’s why I think analog games, meaning board games, playing cards, and other parlor games we play with each other are so important.

Skills we learn include people reading, negotiation, and simply getting along. I’m not saying it isn’t ok to put up a trade embargo against someone who only needs 2 more Victory Points to win Settlers of Catan – I mean that it’s important to spend time with 3 dimensional people who breathe the same oxygen we do.

This short video below by Start Rite is an interview with children who feel ignored by their parents who spend too much time on their phones, leaving the kids feeling disregarded or unimportant.

During the video, a young girl says how she wishes she could play a board game with her parent, but the parent is otherwise too busy.

Do you think this digital age, while trying to connect us, is tearing away those who are closest to us?

by Bryan Sloan, Black Forest Studio

Discovering Goodreads

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I just discovered Goodreads, and it is amazing.

Don’t get me wrong; I’ve heard of Goodreads before. My wife reads on average 1 book per week throughout the year. In past years, she has read double that, but with 3 young children, the average drops a bit, expectedly.

I read fewer books than my wife. In today’s world where it’s easy to compare what we do with half of the people on the planet (thank you, internet), it’s easy to feel like a failure. Sometimes I use the excuse of, if I can’t read “a lot”, then I shouldn’t read at all. But lately, I’ve picked up a few books that I’m interested in and have read them. Malcolm Gladwell’s "Outliers" was amazing a few years ago, and now I’ve read his “David and Goliath.”  I also love true adventure, history, and right now, Stone Age fiction and history, specifically.

While hunting for Christmas presents for my wife, I logged into her Goodreads account (hacking your wife’s password is always easy), and grabbed a book from Amazon that was on her “Want to Read” list: “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah.

Today, I decided I should start to take advantage of lists for myself. I signed up for an account at Goodreads and was prompted to add the genre of books I like, and then to start rating books that I’d read. After rating some of my old favorites like “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexander Dumas, and “Beyond the Sea of Ice” by William Sarabande (pen name for author Joan Leslie Hamilton Cline), I was hooked.

I somehow now want to remember every book that I’ve ever read so that I can rate it. “Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare” by Stephen Greenblatt was an easy 5 star review. I gave everything 5 stars until I hit “The Great Gatsby.”  To be honest, I felt guilty giving something less than 5 stars, but it was required reading in 9th grade, and it wasn’t my favorite, so there you go.

I’m looking forward to using Goodreads so that I can add books like “The Revenant” by Michael Punke to my “Want to Read” list. I imagine these 2 features alone (Ratings and Want to Read list) will keep me hooked.

PS, Ms. Joan Leslie Hamilton Cline, if you are out there somewhere, I would love to say that your historical fiction are some of my favorites!

(by Bryan Sloan, Fort Worth, TX)