Whatever happend to family game night?

A few days ago, a news alert caught my attention, announcing Hasbro would be replacing the classic Monopoly game tokens of the thimble, wheelbarrow and shoe with a penguin, rubber ducky and Tyrannosaurus Rex.

It’s a continuing effort to “update” the board game, which previously has included changing some of the money and even using digital technology in some versions.

As with many things, it got me thinking about whether people play board games much these days. It also got me a little sad, because the thimble was my favorite token, followed by the dog.

When I was little, I would sometimes play with my grandparents, often taking up a round of Chinese checkers, Kerplunk and maybe a card game or two.

Especially in the summer, my family would gather around the table, picking a board game, and sometimes playing for a couple of hours. Often, the games would end when we decided it was time to go to bed, leaving the game set up with the intention of picking up in the morning.

Monopoly was usually the big pick on weekends, but we also would get out Trivial Pursuit and Clue.

As the years passed, and our schedules became more cluttered, those game nights slowly disappeared (or maybe it was those extra stashes of Monopoly money we would find under my sister’s side of the board).

A dear friend of mine grew up enjoying the game of Dominoes. She would play with family, and later, friends.

Our community editor, Summer, as many of you are probably aware through her own column, often plays games with her kids, although most are more modern selections.

I just wonder how many families are able to have a good family game night these days.

I know our schedules are busy, and it’s difficult to find free time for even one member of a family, let alone three or four.

Then again, these days you don’t need a group of people to play Monopoly or Clue or whatever card game you might enjoy.

There are video game versions of just about everything you can think of, so one could easily sit in their room on their laptop or with their tablet and play through a round or two of Connect Four.

At its core, the idea of these games was to spend time together as friends or family.

We would connect over the action, fun and competition of the game.

It’s similar to the point of having dinner together, or perhaps sitting down and watching a particular television show.

It’s making those connections and building on the relationships.

Whenever we’re able, my family tries to have a meal together, whether it’s a weekend breakfast or grabbing sandwiches from a local fast food eatery.

There even has been discussion of the occasional movie night at home.

We often hear about the breakdown of the modern family. There definitely are some issues, although I don’t know if it’s as widespread as the “experts” like to say.

But perhaps, bringing in some kind of bonding activity could help. Whether it be a family meal, a brief excursion out into the community, or even the age-old tradition of a family game night, it might not solve all of the world’s problems, but it could at least be a starting point.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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