Many Ways to Play

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes a game enjoyable. I remember being in grade school, and not understanding what my brothers found so appealing about games like Risk, Battle Ship, and Stratego. The easy answer is that it’s all about gender – those games have traditionally been marketed toward boys, while commercials for Candy Land were aimed at my demographic.

While socialized gender expectations might be part of the game-choosing equation, I think that learning styles and personality are much larger forces. Because in addition to being Risk-averse, I’m also not that interested in bridge, mah jong, backgammon, and a whole slew of other strategy games that require lots of math and logic. I do like chess, but that probably had something to do with the guy that taught me to play, my freshman year of college (and that is a story for another blog!).

The point is, if you sit down and really think about the games you love and the games you hate, you’ll probably quickly notice some patterns. If you’ve got the time, try that right now – without over thinking the exercise, jot down five games that you enjoy playing and five games that you’ll avoid at all costs (any type of game, from your past or the present).  I’ll wait…

Here are mine, in no particular order:

LOVE: Pictionary, Scattergories, Trivial Pursuit, Apples to Apples, Cranium

HATE: Yahtzee, cribbage, Sorry!, most card games, Monopoly

What kind of patterns do you notice, in your game choices? I was surprised to remember that I actually do/did like organized board games, and that they’re all fairly social games. For the most part, each game is based on using words and language, with small groups of people. The games I dislike tend to be more mathematically based. This surprised me too, because I’ve always liked numbers and figuring out math problems, and I can be very logical when I need to be.  It may be the element of strategizing that puts me off – the games I do like are very straightforward – if you hone the language skills needed, you’ll have fun playing, no strategy necessary.

I’m working on a game chart that links learning styles/multiple intelligence theory to different types of games. In the meantime, I’d love to hear about the games you love and the games you love to hate! How do you think your personality and learning style influence your game choices?




5 thoughts on “Many Ways to Play

  1. Interesting thoughts and ones that do have merit. This post came at a very interesting time. My 52 year old sister who lives alone and has sole responsibilty for aging parents bought a Play Station 3 on Saturday. She is into TV (her job) and movies and loved the idea of the Blueray Player it has. More importantly, she thought she should buy it so she can play games to help distract her from every day life and relieve stress. I went online to buy her several games for her birthday which is in 2 weeks. After taking checkmarks off several descriptors that related to violentor sexually explicit games and early childhood (thought she would prefer something in her approximate age range of interest) a message came up that there were no games that fit the other 14 descriptors (archade, card, family friendly, etc). This was so depressing—they didn’t even have games that appeared to be marked to the female gender, games of chance, cerebral or non-violant strategie games. Is this where the “gaming” world is has gone? Has what appears to innocuous games marketed to boys like Battleship (war games, only 1 can win) eveloved to? Is this want we want our children only exposed to? Could games that are popular and heavily marketed influence children’s personality—such as some of the studies reflect that violant video can influence some impressional minds? While also not a fan of card games, others like Pictionary, Monopoly, Scatagories are so much fun. Hmmm those games involve teams of people, maybe my game choices to reflect who I am. I hate card games but that is because everyone I would play with are card counters, i hat math….hmmmm.

    • Really good food for thought Lucy…Like we talked about this morning, maybe there’s a niche market for game design – for less typical markets. I’m ready to go into business when you are 🙂

  2. I love crossword puzzles (often with my partner) and Freecell because it’s fast and I usually win.
    I did get a book on Chess from the library today and we have the board set out and ready for me to learn.
    I think I would like some card games (easy) (maybe….) and Scrabble.
    Loved looking at all the kids game books at the library. A million ideas. Who in the world can ever be bored?

    • Fast and easy to win – I like your criteria 🙂 Although Scrabble and chess are hardly fast… But I guess both could be played at a faster pace. Hmmm… It was nice to talk tonight & hope the yoga class was good!

  3. Only the Freecell qualifies as fast and easy to win. Everything else–crossword, chess and scrabble–I consider slow or moderately paced.
    That’s curious about the gaming market. You’d think the baby boomers would be having something to say about it. I have some mature, non-violent friends who really enjoy playing some games on Facebook. I haven’t gotten involved, but they say it’s a lot of fun.

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