On Monday, gentle bookstore blog readers, I told you I wanted to evangelize you to a new way of life. Hopefully, if you've read this far, you've seen why I love games and why I work so hard trying to get people — especially families — into gaming. When you have little kids, the simple structured play is a tremendously helpful developmental tool for teaching them how to take turns, play fairly, cooperate, and even start telling stories. Later on, they learn strategy, maybe creative wordplay, and, in some cases, even how to craft a narrative or build a whole world.
Tomorrow is International TableTop Day (ITD), the first worldwide celebration of tabletop gaming. It's also a celebration of getting together with friends and family to have fun and interact on a face-to-face level. Yes, I'm a total technology geek, and I am not about to start putting down social networking as not being about "real friendships." But what I do look for, in almost everything I do, is balance. Sure, fragging aliens in online co-op videogame play is fantastic (as is fragging your friends and talking a little smack). But I'd offer that for every hour plugged into a console game, you should be spending an hour sitting at a table with friends or family playing tabletop games. (Maybe also include a third hour, outside, being active — just for the sake of health.) It's a different but equally rewarding experience.
So,here's my challenge to the people reading this: up your gaming game.
What I mean is, take your gaming up a level. Are you that person who has only played Monopoly and Life? I challenge you to go to an ITD event and find someone to show you Settlers of Catan or Carcassonne. Do you play bridge (and do you have a sense of humor)? Go seek out a game of Munchkin or Fluxx. Are you someone who plays RPGs and first-person shooters on a console? Maybe it's time you tried a "real" RPG and join a game of Pathfinder or Dungeons and Dragons. Or, are you the chess type, all about strategy? Well, maybe Warhammer might pique your interest.
Parents, it's time to go to the game store (may we suggest stopping by Powell's at Cedar Hills Crossing tomorrow, Saturday, March 30, between 10:00 a.m. and 7 p.m.?), pick up a few likely games, and start the family game night tradition. Try some cooperative games, like Castle Panic or Pandemic, so everyone is working together and you all share in victory or defeat. Just remember the old adage: the family that plays together stays together.
Whatever the games are that you pick up and play, just have fun. Don't be the rules nerd, ruining the fun. Sometimes it's better to let something slide than to make a fuss (especially when folks are just learning how to play). And if you don't know the answer to a rules question, then make up an answer; "house rules" make every game work just a little better (just make sure to write them down for next time!).
Happy International TableTop Day. Shall we play a game?
More from Ken Denmead on PowellsBooks.Blog:
- A Quick, Custom Card Game Project
- Traveling with Board Games
- Sometimes the Best Board Game Is the One You Make Yourself
- Why Playing Tabletop Games Is as Important as Reading
÷ ÷ ÷
Ken Denmead is the editor of GeekDad, a blog on Wired magazine's website. A professional civil engineer, he lives near San Francisco with his wife and their two sons, who are both geeks in training. He is the author of three books, including Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share.
Books mentioned in this post
Ken Denmead is the author of Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share