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Who’s turn is it now?


April 16, 2012
Billie Shelton , The Daily Freeman Journal

I don't know about you, but at our house, we played a board game or two after Easter dinner. Once we finally pushed away from the table, cleared away the china and what was left of the food, we brought out the game and settled in.

First we played a game our son brought that was new to me but that he had been playing with his friends all winter. So right there I'm at a disadvantage because he's familiar with the game and I'm not. But that's OK, I mostly play games as a pleasant way to spend time with family and friends.

My family understands that pretty well after all these years. They are kind enough not to say to me, "I don't want to play with you" when we're choosing up sides for a card game, but they sure do their best to have Dad as their partner, since he plays to win. And they are still marginally patient when playing is stopped and I ask, "Whose turn is it?"

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"Whenever we're waiting, it's always your turn, Mom," someone invariably volunteers. (I'm catching on to that one.)

The earliest I remember playing a game with my children was, of course, the days of Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, and a memory game that involved matching cards with pictures of animals. During the prolonged power outage of the Halloween ice storm in 1991, we played lots of cards and board games, including Tripoley on the floor in front of the fireplace for light. We even have a poker chip with a hole melted in it from a spark.

The card game 500 was the national pastime for my husband's family when he was growing up, so he made sure his children knew how to play quite early on. That's where the competitive genes came out in earnest.

Now I'm afraid that video games are taking the place of board games and card games in our culture. For one thing, playing games online means you can play a group game without a group if you wish. Or you can interact online with someone else and game with an opponent on your smart phones or trade moves via the Internet. And you can do it anywhere anytime as long as there's Internet access.

I don't know if this satisfies one's competitive bent or the need for sociability, but it is another outlet for gamers. According to one source I checked, adults play more board games than video games, but 69 percent of American heads of households play computer games.

I wonder if there will come a time when the video screen will make the board game and decks of cards as obsolete as party lines. If so, I'm not so sure it means we're making progress.



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