I’m not very competitive. I only really believe in being competitive if it’s going to make a difference to your life. Like going for that promotion at work that will enable you to buy that house in that street near that school for your kids. Or competing for an Olympic medal, say. But in the day to day running of my life I don’t really see a place for it. I never pushed myself at Sports Day, I don’t care if you beat me through the lights, I don’t envy your house/car/husband… life is too short to get wound up trying to be the best/first. You can’t win everything. I’d rather enjoy the ride. When teaming up to play games I might indulge in a bit of trash talk for the fun of it “Prepare for defeat!” or “You’re going dahnnnnnnnn…”. But do I really care? I do not.
I remember reading that as a child Andy Murray used to throw board games across the room if he didn’t win. I guess this competitive streak did lead him to being the best British tennis player in several generations but I can’t help thinking ‘what a brat’. Also that he must be brave to risk upsetting Judy Murray(!)
I’m of the opinion that being able to lose gracefully is a very important skill in life especially when it doesn’t matter. If you throw a tantrum every time you don’t win that will spill out into your life and soon you’ll be throwing tantrums every time something doesn’t go your way. It’s a slippery slope not to mention an exhausting one.
Maybe this mindset comes from being the middle of three children. I may have had the upper hand to beat my younger sister at games but I also had a sister 4 years older who could trounce me at everything. Not to mention a super competitive father. My mother, a middle child like me, preferred to avoid it altogether and would praise the winners, the losers and the sulkers equally.
Now saying all this probably makes you think I have no time for games. Why would I? I’m not into winning. But this is precisely why I LOVE games. There’s no pressure, no expectation, just FUN. It’s the taking part and all that…
We regularly meet up with friends and have what we call “Games Night”. Games Night will always consist of some yummy food, usually a take away or perhaps a BBQ, followed by an entire evening of games. Now I realise those of you who don’t like games would hate this but I love it. We have what I consider to be a large game pile but our friends will soon require a loft conversion to house their collection. We were supposed to be seeing them for a game marathon on Bank Holiday Monday but now I have to work (boo!) so hopefully we can reschedule soon.
Here are what I consider to be my top 10 games for a fun get together!
1. Wits & Wagers – We now take this game to every family gathering as it’s so popular. You all have to answer a question with your best guess and then you can bet on the answer you think is the right one (not necessarily yours!). Perfect for the grandparents down to the youngsters.
2. Sequence – You need to play with a partner so this game requires a minimum of 4 players. The perfect cross between a board game and cards. Very easy to follow. You need to create a row of five counters across the board (like Connect 4) but the other team can block you! More fun than I’m making it sound.
3. Ticket To Ride! – Every time we have explained this game to people their eyes have glazed over and they’ve looked at us like we’re saddo trainspotters. Then they’ve played it and thoroughly enjoyed it (except dear delicate Andy who said it was too stressful! 😆). The board is a map with routes and your pieces are train carriages. You pick up cards which are routes across the board. Complete your route before somebody else steals it! Surprisingly addictive.
4. Tension – This is a new addition for us. We bought the mini version and I really don’t think it suffers anything for it. Can be played in teams or as individuals. Name the ten items on the list in 30 seconds. Great fun!
5. Cards Against Humanity – Strictly a game for grown ups. Dark sense of humour required. Do not play this with your granny.
7. Sort It Out! – We have the mini version of this game. Like Tension I don’t feel like it loses anything for lacking a board. Perfect for taking on holiday. Place the things on the card in order required eg: List these animals by height from tallest to shortest. Perfect game for kids of all ages.
8. Dixit – A board game with a real difference. All players are given a selection of picture cards. Then match your picture to the word. You may have something perfect for the word or something entirely random! Results can be hilarious. Very pretty and creative. This game couldn’t be more French.
9. Articulate! – We must have had this game over ten years and it’s now looking rather shabby but it’s still a favourite. Your partner has to describe the words on the cards to you without saying them. Different categories including nature, object, world, person, action and random. Anybody can play!
10. Timeline – Very clever game that is available in different catergories such as inventions, cinema, historical events… even Star Wars! You have to place events in the order in which they happened and it’s always tricky! Provokes a lot of discussion. Also educational for kids.
Now I know classics such as Cluedo, Scrabble and Monopoly aren’t on the list. Nor is Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit or Connect 4. I’m not saying these aren’t all great games that will keep you occupied for hours (unless you’re my husband who hates Monopoly with a passion) but they’re not our favourites. Everybody’s different, don’t be hating. *blows kiss*