The last two years have been tough, pushing many of us into digital cocoons. Even though some of us have been able to spend a lot of time around our loved ones. Many of the activities we perform are actually quite isolating. We dull our senses to pass the time, through things like watching social media feeds and playing certain kinds of video games.
Now, it’s true that some of the same activities can help to keep us sharp in various ways. But it’s also become clear that nothing quite replaces personal interaction. To that end, we want to take a look at a few games you can play in person with friends or family, that can not only perk up your social life but also sharpen (as opposed to dull) your mind. They may not make up for the full social calendar of “normal” times or a trip to Nepal in terms of social and cultural enrichment. But the following games might just give you a boost.
Millions of people around the world love playing Scrabble, the classic board game where you create words for points. One of the problems with Scrabble, however, is that you’re not always incentivized to make the longest or the most interesting words. Rather you make the ones that score the most points. Paperback addresses this issue by encouraging a strategy of acquiring letter cards according to the deck of cards currently in your possession, rather than only by random draw. It’s a process that generally leads to more verbal creativity, rather than just a chase for points. This game may not come close to Scrabble’s popularity, but it’s a cleverer concept in some respects, and it’s one that serious word nerds and strategy lovers alike will enjoy.
A game with many versions, Poker has remained popular through the decades for a number of reasons. Although it is seemingly a game of luck, Poker.org explains that the age-old card game actually involves a lot of strategic thinking one can employ to win. Not only that, but it can teach you important personal skills, such as how to read people and manage finances. All things considered, there’s a lot of thinking that goes on in the course of a poker game with each round exercising your brain in a variety of ways. Even if you’re playing casually (and not for real money), the popular card game will awaken your mind, and over time maybe even make you sharper in specific ways.
If classic card decks are one thing, it’s versatile. So in addition to poker, we also want to recommend the game of bridge. Some who haven’t played much see this as a complicated game, but as Gamerules.com explains it ultimately boils down to a four-player contest, with 52 cards ranked the same way they are in poker (or most card games). That said there is some complexity to the game, involving making bids, working with teammates, and taking “tricks.” All of this amounts to a fair amount of mental stimulation, however not to mention a good bit of fun! Even if you take some time to learn. This is an ideal game to play while isolated at home, so long as four people are able to get together to play.
4. Chinese Chess
The international version of chess sure can be a fun mental workout. But if it feels too familiar, why not try a similar game so that you’re learning something new as well? Chinese chess, also known as XiangQi, is a focused game with a slightly different pace to that of “regular” chess. Like all chess games, imagining and planning for multiple outcomes is crucial, and makes for a whole lot of mental stimulation over time. It’s also worth noting that the game has Korean, Japanese, and Indian variants, each with different rules including more or less piece restriction and different obstacles, ultimately forcing different kinds of strategy.
We hope these have inspired you to try a few new games around the house and for more ideas on fun things you can do to pass the time, come visit us again here at Washingtonbiz.us!