Monday, 17 October 2016

There are "mini board games"

being promoted by our state newspaper. I am sure you know the sort of "deal". You buy the paper and you get the item for a reduced cost.
For once I may succumb. It is not that I am a great fan of board games. I'm not. The Senior Cat does not play them and, even if someone else lived here, it is unlikely I would have the time. 
I have played Monopoly and Scrabble and things like Snakes and Ladders. I once knitted a chess set. I know the basic moves for chess and it won't be long before the grandchild of our neighbour will be better at the game than I ever was.
I used to keep board games in the library at school. It was frowned on by some people. They thought the library was "just for reading" but in wet weather the library would be crowded with children - so much so that some of them would be sitting on the floor. 
It probably went against all the modern rules about occupational health and safety.  They read. They played board games. They talked and drew things. They groaned when the bell signalled the end of the lunch period. 
I watched them go back to class - and relished a few minutes to myself before the first afternoon class appeared. The room was always tidy. The monitors saw to that. There was a table in the corner near my tiny "office" where the serious chess players could leave their games set up. There was room for three games but usually only one or two were left there.
When we had the state wide loss of power a couple of weeks back several people mentioned that they had brought out "old games" and used them to entertain grandchildren. Some commented their grandchildren had "never played anything like that". Their own children had not played too many games like that either.  Instead, they had the "Game Boy" device and similar "toys".
      "It was a mistake," one grandmother told me, "They didn't learn to take turns in quite the same way."
      "And they didn't learn the same sort of strategic skills," her husband told me.
I don't remember having to teach the children in the library those things. They taught each other to play the games I had there. Of course they could come and ask me if an explanation was needed. Disputes were something they had to resolve themselves - and disputes were rare. They knew the rules.
But, in a few short weeks, Brother Cat is bringing his family over to see the Senior Cat - six adults and five children will be descending for a weekend of mayhem.  I have eyed those mini board games they are promoting. How would the three eldest react to some of the simpler games - like "Chutes and Ladders"? It doesn't have quite the same ring to it as "Snakes and Ladders" but...
There is just one major problem that I can see - these games come without batteries.


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