Monday, 7 March 2016

Learning Life skills with Board games

One of the first board games I remember playing was called ' Ludo' which means to play in Latin, closely followed by 'Snakes and Ladders.'

These two games go a long way to teach you to patiently wait your turn then show good humour when you lose and modesty when you win.
They also teach you that success in board games is only determined by the roll of the dice, no skill involved. So your brainy auntie with the PhD is just as likely to slide down the snake to square one as your four year old cousin.
 From here on the sound of 'It's only a game, only a bit of fun' will echo through your childhood.
This is what I mean by learning life skills. We only have control over so much of our lives, there is a lot of luck involved too. For example you can't choose your family, your looks, your talents, your nationality, your nature.

After playing these two games so much they started to fall apart we progressed to Monopoly and Buccaneer. All I can remember about Buccaneer is the treasure chest that contained rubies, emeralds and gold, and it was about pirates. Monopoly though was another story, it got played and played and played, we never got fed up with it. It was exciting, we got to know London, the Old Kent Road, Park Lane and Mayfair were familiar before we'd even been there. The stations and the shopping streets, all seemed exotic and thrilling places to go. We handled what looked like proper money, had little wooden houses and interesting counter, like a boot and a racing car made out of metal.

Older and wiser now we were able to choose our favourite counter and think about what we were doing. Some skill was involved but it was still only a game influenced by the roll of the dice.
In Monopoly you could land in jail and ruin everything, mortgage all your properties and end up with nothing, but you had more influence on the outcome of the game than in Ludo or Snakes and Ladders.

You might be interested to know  that the Italian version of Snakes and Ladders is called 'Non ti arrabbiare', which means don't get angry and is known as the 'gioco del buon umore' the game of a good mood ! That says it all really, playing well together is one of life's skills.
 On the side of the board game box it says  'the family that plays together, stays together.'
Life seems to be more like Monopoly than Snakes and Ladders. You do have some control, you can decide certain things, but ultimately the roll of the dice can change things at random. What do you think?

What has made me remember all these board games today is the March topic for my Creative Writing group. It is about the game of Cluedo.
We can write any story we like about the characters in the game of Cluedo.
So I had to do a bit of research because I haven't played Cluedo for a long time.
It has an interesting story, so much so, that someone has even written a book about the history of Cluedo!

Cluedo which comes from clue and ludo is called simply Clue in the U.S:A.
It was designed by  Anthony E.Pratt (1904 - 1994) a musician from Birmingham who retired to Bournemouth.
Apparently together with his wife he thought about the game as a way of distracting people during the bombing of Britain, to keep them occupied in the shelters.

Mr and Mrs Pratt took their game to Waddington's . They were accompanied by their friends Mr and Mrs Bull who had already successfully created and marketed the game
'Buccaneer', see above!

It is easy to see how the game could have been inspired by Agatha Christie. The scene takes place in Tudor Hall. There are six players, six weapons and nine rooms.
Sir Hugh Black the owner of Tudor Hall has been done away with by one of the six characters using one of the six weapons and in one of the nine rooms. The object of the game is to find out which.

The characters are.

 Mrs White, governess of Mr Black,
Revd Green, wanted for fraud
Mrs Peacock, a friend of Dr Black's mother who has spent all her husband's money
Colonel Jack Mustard, a retired colonel who owes a lot of money
Professor Victor Plum, a history professor already suspected of misdeeds
Miss Kassandra Scarlet, Patricia Peacock's daughter.

The nine rooms are, kitchen , ballroom, dining room, hall, lounge, study, billiard room, library, conservatory.

My story is going to be a love story or a romance but definitely with a happy ending so no weapons will be needed.
There doesn't seem to be much scope for romance though with that lot, so watch out on my Story Blog for the story and I hope you'll enjoy reading it.

1 comment:

  1. Ah Angela, my family played all these games as well and we loved them. Cluedo was a big favourite and so was Monopoly, which sometimes lasted a whole holiday! Thank you for reminding me of them. A wonderful nostalgia trip!