Sunday, December 30, 2012

Family Game Play

A few weeks ago, Wil Wheaton had a YouTube chat about Tabletop and gaming. I submitted a question, asking what games he would recommend for Boo. When he answered it, I was shocked and star-struck. I've never participated in a YouTube chat before, and there was Wil Wheaton looking me right in the eye and answering my question, talking to me, parent to parent, about something that's really important to him as a dad. The basic message is that it doesn't matter what you play with your kids, as long as you play with your kids.

You know what? He's right. Games are really good for kids. Since last summer, we have purchased or received as gifts six new games. As I watch Boo learn the rules and strategies for each game, I see her brain developing. It's a big adjustment to learn the rules to a new game, and I think the learning process involved is good for all of us.

Boo is a remarkably persistent game player. We began playing Rummikub on vacation this summer, and we played for five days straight before she won a game. Most 9-year-olds would have lost interest in a game before then, but Boo wanted to learn the game, and she kept at it until she learned it, and then wanted to play some more.

Because of that persistence, I see her adjusting her game play each time she plays. She has certain fondnesses--she'll sacrifice a game of Oz Fluxx to keep the Toto card--but she plays well. And I love that I'm teaching her something she'll be able to do any time, with any group of people. Games like Rummikub, Munchkin and Fluxx can be played at a party, in a dorm room, or at game night in the local game shop. So they'll go with her throughout her lifetime. And the love of games opens her up to learning new ones, as I've been doing lately.

In the meantime, we're having fun together. And that's just good.

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