Today is the International day of Happiness! What better way to celebrate than to play a game with others!
The benefits of play for anyone, especially playing with other people are numerous and well documented. A quick internet search brings up many articles, such as this and this for example, and there are many more.
I have covered some unplugged games and console games that can be played together in previous blog posts, but how do you actually get time to play all of these games? If you are anything like me, you already have a fairly busy lifestyle and maybe even though you really want to you don’t think you’ll ever have time for playing, not least finding other people to play with.
In this case, below is a list of things that I have tried and you can try too, to increase your play time and improve your life! The list is not exhaustive, so any ideas you have are very welcome, just leave a comment 🙂
1. Play Time starts at home
If you live with others, try to start a regular game night every week (or more than one if you’re keen, I play almost every day!). Setting a regular night will help encourage people to play more. Take turns in deciding what to play, to ensure everyone is more engaged in the activity. As well as increasing the level of fun in the household, playing with the people you live with also helps you bond and can improve everything about your day-to-day home life.
2. Replace wasteful habits with playful ones
A lot of people spend a lot of time on wasteful habits these days, such as binge-watching TV series and spending too long checking social media, etc on mobile phones. While these things in moderation are fine and provide people a way to disconnect, it is very easy to spend too much time and end up regretting the time wasted. Instead of crashing on the sofa with your other half and watching another 10 episodes of the Walking Dead, why not start your evening relaxation with a game or two? Or try turning off your phone for half an hour for a game of snakes and ladders with the kids! After the gaming session you can still see an episode or two, or check Facebook again, but you will feel that you have used your relaxation time overall in a more fulfilling way.
3. Tell people about it
This one may seem obvious, but if you want to increase the amount of play in your life, tell other people that you like playing games! I tried using this tactic more from the start of this year (partly by starting the blog you are reading now!) and just because more people know I’m into games, I find myself playing more, either by others inviting me to play games or as an icebreaker to lead to an invite for them to play one of my games.
This is possibly one of the most important things you can do as a gamer, as there are more other people out there who like games than you think , but just don’t like to talk about it, as it may not be cool, or may be considered childish. I disagree of course, gaming is for everyone!
4. Gaming in the workplace? Surely not!
A couple of weeks ago I set myself a challenge – try to play games in my office. It took quite a lot of time for me to build up the courage, but I did it! The most difficult part of this is making that initial suggestion. I sent an email around my department, suggesting we play a game on a Friday lunchtime. I was hopeful, but realistically thought that no-one would be interested. In the end the response was overwhelming, with more than half of the people in the department being up for it! This goes along with my point 3 above, if you don’t tell anybody you want to play, you won’t play!
So far we have had one lunchtime gaming session, we played Jungle Speed, which is a great short game for a lunch break. My longer term goals are to try and get a more regular fortnightly gaming session, or possibly open up the invitation to the whole building! That may take a while, need to build up more confidence..
5. Find other gamers
So, you realise you are into games, and want to find others as into it as you? Well, surprise surprise, there are hundreds like you! The best way to find others with similar interests to you these days is through the internet, of course. When searching, make sure you try to find people that live near you, so you can meet and game in person, and for safety try to find gaming groups rather than individuals. There are gaming groups all over the place, who are all generally friendly and welcoming to newbies and probably have regular meet-ups where you can join in. My home city even has a board gaming café pop-up that runs once a month and is open to everyone, and an annual board gaming festival, which I went to last year with my family and was great! In fact, a lot of the games I featured in this post were first played there.