Play Time: Let’s Break Out The Board Games

I remember a few years ago, I was sitting with a friend of mine named Sylvia. She said something to me that day about marriage – and relationships in general – that was so profound I’ve never forgotten it: “Richard, I realized that my husband and I spent far too much time facing the same direction, and not nearly enough time facing each other.”

Wow! Think about that for a second.

Jasmine and I used to do that all the time; we’d come home, have dinner, then sit facing the TV for the rest of the night. Now don’t get me wrong, I love having an intimate evening with a good film or series – but not every day. Now, the obvious “face each other activity” is always an option, for 15 to 45 minutes (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it). What do you do after that, though?

You play games! No really, games. Sure, you could do video games, but that’s a same-direction activity. I’m talking good old-fashioned board and card games.

I’m obsessed with board games. My personal collection is over 600 games, and I play 80+ games per month (I know, crazy). Here’s the thing: board games transcend age; they don’t care about your race, gender or creed. It’s a shared context for everyone to get around. Just this weekend, I played a game with my parents, my wife, my nephew and my kids. There are very few interactive activities that can do that as well as a game can. Think about it: there’s actually not that much you have to really talk about with your kids. Sure, you are teaching them, and guiding them, and you want to hear about their day, but your contexts are different. That’s why we hit the Spur, because kids can do kids’ things and adults can do adult things. Games, though, they can draw everyone in.

And no, if you were wondering, I’m not talking games like Monopoly or Risk. They may have been fine in their day, but they are dated now. I’m talking new games like Codenames, Anomia, Splendor or Ticket to Ride. There are so many exciting new games coming out every year. It’s also a great dinner-party idea. Get a nice bottle of wine, some good friends, crack out a copy of Viticulture, and compete to build the best vineyard – what’s not to love?

I read somewhere once that couples who play together stay together. If that’s even vaguely true, we’re well on our way to a long and happy marriage… and that’s the whole point. Go and find a cool new game and play it with your loved one(s). You never know, a new passion may be lurking in a cardboard box, just waiting for you to open it.

Who Is The Writer?

Richard Mulholland is en entrepreneur, speaker and father. He owns Missing Link, a presentation company, and co-owns 21Tanks, a perspective innovation lab. You can read more of his ramblings at the following link or follow him on Twitter at @RichMullholland.

Feel like kids always have all the fun? Click here to find out more about adult play parks – and where to find one.