Old-Fashioned Board Games

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Mature people from the 20th century may feel a twinge of nostalgia when reading the words ‘board game’ .  I have visions of crouching over a cardboard square with family or friends, munching snacks, rolling the dice and moving discs, cards or tiny symbols around the board to shouts of glee or great annoyance depending on who was winning.

 

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A board game has a goal each player aims to achieve.  This means instant winners and losers.  No reboot, no power-up, no regeneration, no second tries unless you’re a four year-old and burst into tears.  Any game of chance has pitfalls, but when you flip that top card and see what you’ve got, it sets your mind racing not your thumbs.

 

 

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I’ve played Halo, Assassin’s Creed, Grand Theft Auto and other equally absorbing, equally time-guzzling computer games which controlled my moves even if it didn’t feel like it.  My Virtual Reality experiences offered yet another form of ‘visual involvement’ and the feeling of taking another step down the ladder to human isolation.

 

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With an old-fashioned board game, the players’ moves are initially controlled by the dice and random Lady Luck.  Thereafter, players can take a certain amount of responsibility for their movements and actions without the use of screen projections.  They can survey the limits of the board and plan their course using opponents body language.

 

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To tweak youthful reminiscences, I have compiled a list of my favourite board games for you.  Scraps of paper and a pencil (for scoring) are optional.  I’ve added some photographs of our boxed sets which have survived two generations.  Regrettably I can’t seem to locate Trivial Pursuit!  At one stage, maybe 1985, there were two big blue boxes on the shelf for special nights.

 

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Ah, those fun-filled nights of comfy clothing, junk food, fizzy drinks and overheated face-to-face discussions <cue Back To The Future soundtrack>

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

 

 

 


MY MEMORY LIST––I’M SURE THERE’S MORE

Trivial Pursuit Boardgame Genus Edition

Cluedo
Scrabble
Monopoly
Tiddly-Winks
Trivial Pursuit
Snakes & Ladders
Chinese Chequers
Mastermind
Pictionary
Draughts
Shipping
Mouse Trap
Blankety Blank
Chess (of course)
Escape from Colditz
It’s a Knockout
Quandary
Mahjong
Risk
the list goes on…



SPECIAL MENTION
:  ‘War of the Daleks’ (from early days of TV series Dr Who) which I never played but would have love to––players moved tiny Daleks around the board, obviously saying ‘Exterminate, exterminate’.  There are newer board games like ‘Time of the Daleks’ and electronic interactive TARDIS versions.

The Power of Doodling

In between writing and not being published, I attempt to draw, which defaults to my basic doodle setting.  My mind slips out of gear when doodling.  I drew a curlicue doodle which ended up with a small snail at the end of it.  Significant?

Is there a better chance of being published if you illustrate your own bookcover?  Nope.  Even with children’s picture books, there’s no guarantee it will be snatched off the slush pile because of the synchronicity of your fresh-faced pictures and curlicued words.  In fact, in Australia the editors prefer to nominate an artist so forget that plan.  Still, I can’t stop myself doodling.  What use is it?  (A) tension release, (B) learning aid, (C) mind clearer, (D) mind-wanderer, or who knows what.  Ah ha, light bulb moment!  I will research the experts and see what they have to say on the subject of Doodling 101.

Prepare to be bored, please doodle among yourselves – preferably with a real pen or pencil.

First up are the good news listicles and powerful headings:
  • 4 Benefits of Doodling | Examined Existence
  • 5 Big Benefits Of Being A Doodler | HuffPost – Huffington Post
  • 7 Ways Doodling & Colouring Benefit Your Brain | Care2 Healthy Living
  • 7 Benefits of Doodling and How to Get Started – Daring to Live Fully
  • Doodling Your Way to a More Mindful Life | Psychology Today
  • How Doodling Benefits Your Brain – Kendal at Home
  • How Doodling Makes You Smarter | Reader’s Digest
  • Study: Doodling Helps You Pay Attention – TIME
  • Science: Doodling Has Real Benefits For The Brain – Fast Co. Design
  • The Power of the Doodle: Improve Your Focus and Memory – WSJ
  • The Cognitive Benefits of Doodling – The Atlantic
  • The “Thinking” Benefits of Doodling – Harvard Health Blog …..

….. had enough?

You can’t get out of it that easily!

Here’s what JournalWeek had to say in a non-scientific wayDoodling comes from the word doodle – a habit of unfocused or unconscious drawing a person makes while his attention is actually occupied by something else.  Doodles are generally simple and sometimes nonsense drawing that may have definite representational meaning.

Today, doodling is fondly considered a ‘national’ pastime mainly because it is done by a lot of people in different settings, but mostly in classrooms and offices.  <Using a pen, or more recently using laptop, tablet or smart phone apps>  Some examples of doodling are found in school notebooks, mostly in the margins, caused by a student who is either lacking interest in the class or day dreaming. Another example is when someone is having a long telephone conversation while a pen and paper are within range.

What’s interesting about it?  For many people, it’s just a typical way of occupying themselves. Not a lot of them realise that doing it does actually provide some benefits.  Let’s find out how…

Memory Link:  Admit it – you doodle perhaps in most instances where there is a chance to. Most of us could not deny it because we have developed the habit as students.  What you remember and what sticks in your mind are usually the things you doodle. For instance, it can be trees you always see outside your bedroom window, logo of your favourite team, or the name of your favourite band, singer or celebrity.

The products of doodling are the images and words coming out of your subconscious mind. Although they seem to be of no significance, they can actually be helping you in learning and grasping knowledge.

One health benefit of the habit:  According to the Applied Cognitive Psychology study, doodling allows us to be able to effectively recall information hidden within our subconscious. The same research found out that the people subjected to the experiment that filled in shapes while listening to the phone had a better memory retention or recall percentage. The different is about thirty percent compared to those people who did not doodle.

Being Productive:  Although not yet proven, the hypothesis is that the habit itself is effective in minimising and combating daydreaming and absentmindedness.  But the power of doodling is not limited within the bounds of memory and recall alone. There is a widespread belief that it, in fact, corresponds to empowering one’s intellectual prowess. As it appears, someone who’s doodling seems to be distracted or plainly unfocused.

However, this is an activity that gives the brain an awkward but beneficial exercise of engagement and processing of complicated thoughts and ideas. Likewise, those who rely on their talents of creativity also use doodling to unlock that artistry and creativity in them.

Not convinced?  Read about some of the most notable people in history who themselves admit that the habit has in fact helped them focus, recall, and literally make use of their brains. The list includes the likes of Leonardo DaVinci, Sylvia Plath, Presidents Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and Thomas Jefferson, as well as poet John Keats, mathematician Stanislaw Ulaw, Franz Kafka and Mark Twain.

Therefore, if you have issues about paying attention and focus, doodling will help you deal with those issues. There’s really nothing wrong or you won’t lose anything if you start to developing the habit.  <And maybe gain a small work of art>

Most of this blog post was brought to you by JournalWeek!
“Our aim and mission is to provide our readers articles on interesting facts”
http://journalweek.com/interesting-facts-about-the-power-of-doodling/

I think the saddest doodle belongs to Jorge Luis Borges, writer, essayist and poet, who drew a self-portrait after he had gone blind.

Jorge Luis Borges Self Portrait When Blind
Jorge Luis Borges self portrait when blind

“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library”
– Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986)

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

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Do You Doodle?

Snail
Snail

Do you still doodle on a notepad or scrap of paper?  When telephones were fixed items, every office had a blotter with notepad and pen handy.  Home phones had a dedicated area littered with paper and old envelopes for note-taking or scribbling a quick message with a stubby pencil.  Doodling came into its own while listening to your boss rant or your mother dispense advice.  It is quite possible that fifty percent of paper used in the world prior to computers and internet access was used for doodling while on the telephone.

It seems we only used half our brain when talking on the phone and, as evidenced today, we had to be occupied with something else at the same time.  Lo, mobile phones were born!  Or in other countries, lo, cell phones were born! With access to a myriad of mind-occupying pastimes.  And you can personalise any device; doodling without pen or paper.  I don’t think it’s necessary to launch into the historic progress of communications over the centuries but I can guarantee it will get more and more streamline, more and more accessible and more and more invasive.  Computer art is not really doodling…

I love curlicues and my featured doodle was penned while I was listening to a podcast so perhaps there is still a time and place for doodling.  I don’t know where that snail came from but I can use any number of tech devices, themes and programs to jazz him up.  Do I want to? Nah, think I’ll just leave him on an old piece of recycled A4 paper.

Happy indeedydoodling!

Gretchen Bernet-Ward