Saturday, 17 January 2015

Bring Back Board Games!

I've been thinking a lot about board games recently. Most likely, because I touched on these games a little bit in my upcoming book, Hutterite Diaries. I have many fond memories of sitting around the table at home, at a friend's house or even at school playing games like Snakes and Ladders, Scrabble, Crokinole, Sorry and many others. Sadly, with so many electronic games around, these games mainly sit on a shelf, if they're even in the house anymore. I wonder if people realize the impacts the games we choose have on us and our children? Electronic games encourage blocking out everybody, while staring at a screen for hours on end. Board games however, encourage healthy interaction with others, and stimulate intellectual development. 

One of my favourite games growing up were Probe and Crokinole. We played Probe at school during noon hour or on stormy days. We actually still have one in our school. About once a month, to ensure our children experience these simple joys, our whole school spends an hour or so playing board games. And yes, everybody has a great time! Next time we do this, I'll be introducing some students to word fun with Probe. So far, we haven't played that one yet.

Crokinole conjures happy memories playing this game with my cousins, at uncle Josh and aunt Kate's house. They had a homemade one. The board was about an inch and a half thick and was well-varnished. Those pesky pegs near the centre were finish nails. Combined with the varnished wood these nails really scattered the disks in a hurry, more often then we liked. But still, we had many laughs playing this game. The way I remember it, nobody could beat my cousin, Harvey. He had the kind of aim and just the right speed the rest of us could only dream about. I'd love to have a Crokinole game! Are they even around anymore? Should maybe check second hand shops. But hey, if you have one you want to get rid of, I can take it off your hands.

Another game that we should dig out one day is, Spazieren (the Hutterisch word for visiting). This game was put out by Crystal Springs Colony many years ago, probably together with the Bruderhof. We still have that game in our school as well, but we haven't played it in years. I'm not even exactly sure how that one goes anymore. Perhaps the aim of the game is to visit as many Hutterite colonies as possible.

It's really troubling to see how much time today's youth spend with playing electronic games, and many of them violent. Nothing good can come of those stare-at-a-screen activities, at least not as far as I can see. So, here's me on my little podium with my Bring-Back-Board-Games campaign. Feel free to join me!!

I'd love to hear your fond memories with board games:

  • Do you have a favourite one?
  • Do you still play these games?
  • In your eyes, how do they stack up against electronic games?


  1. I like board games. Kids (and adults!) can learn a lot from them. I think they are better than electronic games as they offer good old fashioned human interaction. :) We played them often when our children were growing up. We still play them sometimes when the gang gets together.

    1. Thanks, Karen! So true, we can learn from them.

  2. We must be on the same wave-length. I had my students playing board games this morning as well. I would really like to get them into checkers. Many years ago now, our kids were so into checkers we had to buy more boards. Every spare minute was spent at it. Tournaments were held... I just think that these games help develop thinking and communication skills as nothing else can.

  3. We do play board games, and card games, but mostly over holidays.....My son began making a Crokinole board, but alas, never finished it. He could never get it to satisfy him...We play different games with different people. Even my grandchildren do, but they also play electronic games. My grandson Stephen and I were playing a Batman Lego game today - one we play together......We also play outdoor games in summer - croquet, badminton, and bocce ball, for example.

  4. Thanks, Kristi. We too play outdoor games, right now of course it's hockey or building snow houses.


Thanks for stopping by my blog and for sharing your thoughts!!