Books Magazine

Play the Game - Board Games

By Ashleylister @ashleylister
Play the Game - Board Games
If you noticed me grinning a bit more than usual the other day, it’s because something went right. I managed to download ‘Tetris’ on to my new mobile phone all by myself. I’ve had the phone for a few weeks now and I’m still finding my way round it. I’m not one for electronic games but Level 1 Tetris fills a gap if I’m hanging about waiting and I’ve exhausted Facebook, Googled the things I’ve remembered to look up and checked my inbox. It’s fun trying to beat my own points.
When I was a child, my Nan taught me dominoes and a couple of card games. I got to stay up past bedtime because we were in the middle of Gin Rummy and couldn’t just stop. She always knew when I was tired or bored and I could never persuade her otherwise.
I’ve always enjoyed board games. Every Christmas, a Compendium of Games would be left by Santa. Ludo, Draughts, Snakes & Ladders, Tiddly Winks, Blow Football and more besides. I’d pester the family for someone to play with. Grandad was good for Tiddly Winks and Draughts. I didn’t have enough puff for Blow Football, so it was mainly ignored.
I was twelve years old when I was given my first Monopoly. I loved it more and more as I learnt how to play. For me and my parents, it became our regular Sunday evening thing and stopped me worrying about Monday morning and dreaded school. Times were tough for me then.
Monopoly is still a firm favourite, though alas, seldom played since our children grew up and left home and had babies. I wonder how friends might react to me hosting a Monopoly and supper evening? Just an idea.
We’ve got Trivial Pursuit and various levels of general knowledge games. We still have the small box of ‘Kids Trivia’ that our children and I would take to visiting times when my husband was in hospital long term. He would provide a box of Maltesers to share. So many times we walked from home, up East Park Drive to Victoria Hospital, with the game, juice and other things for the children. We saw snowdrops, then crocuses, and then daffodils as winter turned to spring. The conversation was always the same.
“Is Dad coming home soon, Mum?”
“I don’t know, love. We have to wait and see.”
Maltesers remind me of those visits and the fond memories of the lovely family times we shared in a side ward. Eventually, he could come home and all was well. My anxious times, when the children were in bed and I was alone with my thoughts, began to evaporate as life returned to normal.
As the children got older they had Game Boy, PlayStation and later Xbox, all beyond me though I managed a couple of levels of Super Mario. We still kept playing family games as often as we could and certainly round Christmastime and school holidays.
Scrabble must be the best word game ever and I’m always up for the challenge. I bought a travel version thinking it would be perfect to take away with us on our breaks to Scotland. I hadn’t considered how tiny the letter tiles are and how hard to read, when I’m short-sighted to begin with and my husband has glasses for reading that he wears all the time.
Recently, a work colleague told me what a fun-filled evening she’d had at home with her husband and adult sons playing board games and enjoying a takeaway meal. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who would like that.
Meanwhile, let’s see if I can exceed 200,00 points on Tetris.   This poem is written by Morgan, on I'd forgotten the fun we had playing Operation, until the game mirrored life too much.   Board Games   February nights rip me into pieces
So when I'm scattered randomly
across your bedroom floor,
I hope you look down
at my knee caps
and collar bones
& think about how much you
enjoyed doing puzzles at
the small, cherry wood
coffee table in your parents'
living room when you were ten
And I hope you put my tongue
back in my mouth
and my eyes back in my skull
And you breathe your
cinnamon & whiskey
breath all down my throat
until I remember how to
find air on my own.
  Thanks for reading, Pam x
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