On the playing of games

The Fireside Table is a blog whose main wish is to evoke a fireside table at the most romanticised vision of a pub that you can imagine.  Where there is fine ale and wine and excellent conversation.  Now the conversation will be on books the company have read, or plays or films they have seen.  These, if you will bear with me with this rather strained analogy, compromise the reviews of this blog.  Sometimes games will be played.  Classic pub games like Cribbage, or even more cerebral fare when the company still retain some thinking sobriety, such as backgammon or chess.  This will often get the company talking as to games they have played.  And so, this blog will now include reviews of games.

A good game, a really good game, engages us as much as the best novel or best of any kind of work can.  We are brought out of ourselves, on two important levels, to think, as with a strategic problem say, and to have fun.  With one player plus games we engage with our opponents too on a deeper and more fun level than small talk allows.

Our current social media / technological boom allows greater access to a broad range of social gaming than ever before.  One thing I’ve enjoyed recently is working my way through board and card games with which I’m wholly unfamiliar, learning the rules, key strategies, and taking on other people.  And lets not forget that little extra kick that computer gaming now encourages, the earning of achievement badges!  There’s usually a rusk of sound and colour, a little firework display, and then a message along the lives of “Congratulations!  You’ve won your first game of ____.”  usually accompanied by the earning of an in-game currency to give a further reward buzz.  They are usually ‘gold’ or ‘diamonds’ (lumps of coal probably wouldn’t have the same effect).

One thing you lean from classic games, you see why they have endured, or why they still pack a gratifying punch.  Witness the Egyptian board game of “Senet.”  It’s a race game like Backgammon, a direct ancestor of this game, but has a strategic depth and richness that is beguiled by very accessible game-play.  In other words, easy to play, very hard to master.  It has just the right mix of skill and chance (see also Backgammon).  It is perfect for our Fireside Table, and I’m going to do a review for a version I’ve discovered below.

In the meantime, if you have rediscovered any classic board or card games through internet play or by any other names means, please share below.

See you at the table.


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