Bored Games

There is not one board game in our house.  When I met The Husband, there was an ancient game of Trivial Pursuit which arrived as part of the final merger.  Somewhere, though, over the last nearly 20 years, it’s gone.  I think it got thrown out because it was so old…


I loathe bored board games.  As for games evenings, well, I’d rather sit around around a table, break bread and enjoy conversation.  I remember a time when when a group of us would gather at mutual friends’ homes to watch the rugby (local and international matches).  When the practise began, the match was followed by a meal – usually a braai or if it was a late-ish match, a winter warmer like a curry or oxtail would be consumed during the match. Of course, the post-match conversation included detailed and scientific analysis which could run the gamut of emotions from jubilation to anger and desolation.  It all depended on whose side had won or lost or the referee’s folly.  Generally, though, the conversation would move on to other things.

Then, something changed.  I’m not sure what, and instead of conversation it was either Trivial Pursuit or 30 Seconds.  Both games are fun with the latter being my favourite of the two, but having spent well nigh on two hours glued to a television, why?

I have a love-hate relationship with Trivial Pursuit and quizzes, generally:  although I can be, and often am, a mine of useless information, I don’t do well under pressure.  In a quizz, when I know the answer, I’m so happy about it that I develop a temporary Tourette’s-like condition and just shout it out.  Often I know I know an answer, but it doesn’t appear in my brain, let alone get to my mouth.  Until the following day.  Fat lot of good!

30 Seconds, on the other hand is a bit like charades with cards and words.  Need I say more?

Oh, and did you know that this game was invented by a South African? Source

Games from my childhood

Cold winter Sunday afternoons were times for board games.  In front of the fire after the parents had had their afternoon snooze.  The entire house, including the dog would take to their beds.  Except me.  Mother gave up on forcing me to have an afernoon zizz.  I just couldn’t and still don’t.  I’d prefer to curl up under an eiderdown, or in the sun, with a book.

Just another reason for a love-hate relationship with board games:  playing them was not an option.  That said, I will acknowledge that there were times when I allowed myself to have fun.

So, what were the games?

Well, I recall for Christmas one year, getting a compendium of games which included everything from snakes and ladders and ludo to tiddlywinks and bingo.  Although I played snakes and ladders, to this day, I don’t see the point.  Perhaps I’m a little dim.   Ludo, well, let’s just say that it didn’t seem quite so pointless.


With tiddlywinks, skill and dexterity are a prerequisite, as they are with Pick-up Sticks which I did enjoy.  Someone gave me a set, I can’t remember whom, and I loved them.  Technically, neither are board games, right?


There were three other games that featured at different times in my childhood and all of which were much enjoyed and only ever played with my Dad.  It’s a long time since I played any of them:

Collage created on BeFunky with stockpics


It’s the board games I’m supposed to be talking about. There were two others that we played as a family.  One, I mentioned in passing here, was a present from Granny – Peter Rabbit’s Race Game.


Mine looked exactly like this and when we played, I was always Jemima Puddleduck.

Vintage South African Monopoly Source

The other, and more frequently-played game was Monopoly.  We had the South African version and when I ventured, for the first time to one or other of South Africa’s major cities, I loved discovering the premium properties in real life:  Eloff Street where I’d shop and catch buses when I worked in the centre of Johannesburg.  Roeland Street down which I’d drive if I had occasion to go to the centre of Cape Town to, among other places, the parliamentary precinct.

If memory serves, “my” piece was always the iron.  My mother’s which I only remembered when I looked at the picture, was the battleship.

I have no idea what happened to those sets which, the research for this post suggests, would now sell for a pretty penny.  I wondered why until I realised that those sets would have been more than 40 years old…

An unscientific theory

I am not a gamer.  The closest I get to any gaming is one or other iteration of solitaire.  I will play it on the PC;  give me a pack of cards and I’ll play one or other version of patience.  I think of it as “brewing” time for the project(s) on which I’m working.

I have often been struck by the time that the male of the species will spend either on playing a game, or creating (a) game(s) and striving for perfection.  Frankly, I have too much to do – in the kitchen, around the house and just getting on with life.  It was one of my pet peeves that my ex-husband could would live in a pig sty and eat swill and spend all his spare time on a game.  I just didn’t get it.

So, my theory is that women actually have a whole lot less free time than men.  Whether we like it or not, managing the home and caring for children is still primarily women’s work – over and above what we might do to earn a living.  Time on their hands, and what do men who don’t have a hobby, play sport and who no longer hunt for food, or go to war, do?

Create and play games.

Perhaps this scientific notion, in addition patriarchy, could also explain why most of the arts are still dominated by men?

My favourite three board games, if I were to choose?

  1. 30 Seconds must top the list.  It can be serious educational and fun.  It can be played in teams which makes it elastic, and more fun.  It can also be played by people of all ages and “skill” level.
  2. Draughts – I’d love to play this again.  I recall watching folk play this on the streets of Johannesburg:  the games were as fast as the lightning of a Highveld thunderstorm.  I loved playing this game with my Dad.
  3. Finally, and it’s just for sentimental reasons:  Peter Rabbit’s Race Game

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, let me explain what prompted this post, first published nearly a year ago:

An evil, really nice bunch of people in our PowerHouseCreatives group on Steemit run a themed contest once a month.  It’s always about one’s Top 3 of something or other.  I keep on saying I don’t do competitions because I don’t do competitive.  I really don’t.  But then, I keep on participating.Ahem…

So far, all the topics have piqued my interest in one way or another, including last month’s to which I had absolutely no connection, but which got me thinking.  You can read that entry here.

This month’s theme:

Board Games
Open up the cabinet and blow off the dust, we are breaking out the board games for the topic this month! Get ready to duke it out for your favorite game piece (we all had that lucky one, right?) and clear off the table for a night of fun. Perhaps it was a family tradition to come together at the end of the day, maybe a monthly date with friends, or getting the big guns out whilst the stereo system was playing dodgy Christmas songs! However it happened, we want to know, so share your top 3 favorite board games that you couldn’t resist bringing to the table!

Find the full post here
Until next time, be well
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa

Photo: Selma


Post Script

In yet another aspect of my life, I offer

online English tutoring services

every day conversation and formal presentations
writing – emails and reports, academic and white papers
formal grammar, spelling and punctuation
more information here

And then there’s more:

  • If this post might seem familiar, it’s because I’m doing two things:
    • re-vamping old recipes.  As I do this, I plan to add them in a file format that you can download and print.  If you download recipes, buy me a ko-fi?
    • and “re-capturing” nearly two years’ worth of posts because of this.
  • If you’re interested in a soft entry into the world of crypto currency and monetising WordPress blog, use the fantastic Steempress plugin to post directly to the Hive blockchain.  Click on the image below to sign up
  • I’m still blogging on Steem with the occasional post on Medium.