Monday, June 18, 2018

Traditional games for Father’s Day

As sort of a Father’s Day gift, we picked up one of those traditional game sets when we were browsing at Goodwill. You know what I’m talking about. A collection that has chess, checkers, backgammon and such. 

This one is a fiberboard box with a decent veneer. There’s a Chess board on top, two more wooden boards that fit into slots and a tray at the bottom. The boards include Backgammon, peg solitaire, Snakes and Ladders, Chinese Checkers in the tray, Ludo/Parchesi and perhaps the most unusable Mancala board I’ve ever seen. (They are tiny pits next to the solitaire board) In addition, it has a deck of cards and a set of poker dice.

Yes, I already own at least one version of most of these games. I’m not such a game snob that I don’t like a lot of traditional games. Chess and Backgammon and Checkers (if you play with the mandatory capture rule) and Mancala (when the pits are bigger than 3/4 of an inch) are all classics for a reason. I have to admit I don’t like Chinese Checkers but I have been taught it with both capture and no capture rules so I never know how it will be played.

In a lot of ways, this set is as much a piece of furniture as some games. If our coffee table wasn’t devoted to LEGOs (honest, we glued LEGO base plates on the top), this would be a coffee table item. As it is, it will still live in the living room.

And it’s real role will be to help introduce our son to these traditional games. Having it handy and in sight will keep him aware of them.

I’m actually pleased to have Snakes and Ladders like this. I don’t like the game but it is very accessible for a four-year-old so it will be useful. It will be nice to move on to Ludo or Backgammon though. And I can teach him Lines of Action with the Checkers pieces.

While my focus is on modern gaming, I still have an appreciation for traditional games. Especially Go, which isn’t a part of this set :D Still, traditional games are going to be played a hundred years from now and longer than that. They are both the origins of gaming and it’s ever present bedrock.

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