Most of us will have played card and board games when we were kids, with our families at home and friends in school, and possibly into university; we used to do a regular pizza and board games night on my course at York, with a particular favourite game ‘The Great Game of Britain’. We probably all had our favourite games, and also knew who we liked playing with and who would always try and cheat - only acceptable if you were actually playing the card game cheat!
As we grow older the amount of time spent playing games tends to reduce, limited often just to a game of mobile phone solitaire on the way to work. But games have great benefits for young and old alike.
For one thing, they can help keep you stay young, bringing back fond memories of childhood and giving your brain something to enjoy mulling over as you play, providing a welcome break from the stresses of work.
And playing games seems to be able to help prevent cognitive decline, with an article in the New England Journal of Medicine [http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa022252] finding that those subjects in the study who played board games had a lower likelihood of developing dementia.
Game also enable us to do things we would never do in real-life, for fear of the consequences. From gambling your whole army on an objective in Risk, to going bankrupt in Monopoly, you can try different strategies without fear of the consequences.
And lastly, games are a great way to connect with other people. That might be friends overseas that you play with through online multiplayer, children at home to get some quality family time, or the chance to connect with the older generation; as the temperature drops and the onset of winter approaches, games are a great way to connect with older people and overcome the loneliness all too many of them experience.
So here’s to games and all the many benefits they bring, that whatever age we are we should play more of them!