Nothing strikingly novel here, but board games are different from games you play on the phone. The little one instinctively knows that board games force the family to sit down together, listen to songs together, form affinities with one another, burn one another, best one another, and generally connect. She wants to know what the family plan is for Saturday. When I suggest a board game she is immediately excited.
We have just finished a rapid-fire session of The Settlers of Catan, the game where each player develops their own roads, settlements, in an effort gain the most “victory points.” The older one was victorious. But the little one and I were close on her heels. The Mrs. characteristically took a bit more time to get into it but after she’d finished making a sudden pot of breakfast soup with dough knots and brought everyone a bowl soon she too was deeply involved in gathering rocks and wheat and sheep for development.
The game forces you to trade, so that you can build. You can trade more easily if you’ve settled somewhere near a port, on the sea. Fancy that. Roads are nice, settlements are better and cities have the most points. Rolling a seven, forces you to place the “robber” or grim reaper figure somewhere on the board, necessarily smiting someone else in the family. While we were playing, everyone gets to select a few songs to play before the next person becomes the DJ. Beyond this distraction no one is looking at their phone, no one is talking on their phone, everyone is concentrating on the roll of the dice and the resource cards they will secure as a result. Everyone is focused on the family.
We’ve all atomized now, after the game. I’m typing, obviously, enjoying being the uncontested DJ for myself. The older one is off to meet with a friend. “Yes, you’ve met her. Remember that time she was here?” “No. Be home by five.” My wife came in, borrowed a nail clipper and left. It isn’t likely we’ll all sit down again till dinner time, if then. It was supposed to but did not happen last evening. I am always inclined to go push for something like a visit to a park in the country or a trip to a museum in the city. Someone always has a good reason why they can’t. Glad we got in a little time building settlements this morning around the dining room table.