Greetings from @bigmeeple.littlemeeple! My name is James, I am a father of three, a husband of one, and I have been a gamer since I could crawl. Growing up with ADHD, I struggled to pay attention to most things, but gaming was always something I could lose myself in for hours at a time.
However, it was the other kind of games that I played. Sure, our family had some of the “classics” such as Monopoly, Scrabble, Frustration, Mouse Trap and Ker-Plunk, but we didn’t really play them often.
I was much more comfortable with a controller in my hand than dice or cards. Video games were my vice, and I couldn’t get enough. Mario. Sonic. Zelda. Road Rash. SimCity. Shenmue. Each generation would bring more technological advancements; better graphics, superior sounds, 3D models, open worlds to explore… the list is endless.
But one new feature began to dominate, and it felt like a step backwards for me; online multiplayer. Gone are the days of inviting your mates over to sit beside each other, pick up a couple of controllers, and go head-to-head. Now, you never need to leave the house, or even know the people you are playing with. No longer are you having a laugh with Andy, Phil or Marc sat next to you, but instead are getting verbally abused by 12-year-old n00bSlay3r420 and his clan while sat in front of the TV alone.
Yet, little did I know, it wasn’t just videogames that were advancing. While I was transfixed on pixels, board games were increasing in complexity, intricacy, and, more importantly, fun.
Fast forward to me being a father. I now have three children who may require surgery to remove their devices from their hands. So, I wanted to find an activity my family could enjoy together without staring at screens and shutting everything and everyone else out. And since my wife has bipolar affective disorder, it’s not always possible for us to go out somewhere, so an indoor activity is preferable.
My family love playing games, so board and card games were the obvious route to go down. It helped that a very good friend of ours has a big collection of board games, so we would be constantly going round to try out another, or borrowing some from her.
We started with Exploding Kittens and Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza to take camping, which were a blast. Our friend introduced us to games such as Century: Spice Road, Kingdomino and The Mind. She has even generously added to our collection, either buying games for us or gifting us some of her own, such as Forbidden Island, The Mind Extreme and Sushi Go!
Board games have helped us to connect stronger as a family. It’s great to see my children willingly put their devices down to play a game of Cockroach Poker or Happy City, or ask to play Bandido or Throw Throw Burrito while we’re on a camping trip.
And it’s always a joy to see their elation when they win.
… If I let them.!