December 2011

The Play of Words: Fun and Games for Language Lovers

When I was growing up, one of the games that my mother used to play with us during long trips was “Word Associations.” She would start the round with a single word and the next person would have to say the first word that sprung to mind. For example, if the first word was “rose,” I might have said “red,” “flower” or “daisy.” The game could press on forever and a string of word associations that started with “rose” could make stops at “Frankenstein” and “toenail” before coming full circle to “rose,” which would end the game. It was an entertaining game, and more often than not, would take some seriously silly twists and turns along the way. And so was born my love of the English language and all the fun that could be had with it.

Word games have since been a favorite of mine, from playing with alliteration to running pun jokes into the ground. Having married a “wordy,” my kids don't stand a chance. Playing with language is a common pastime around our home, in the car and sitting in the dentist's waiting room. Which, when you think about it, makes sense since the English language is so vast, and well, it's all around us every day.

The Games We Played: The Golden Age of Board & Table Games

Before the rise of computers, video games and television, families had to find other ways to spend time together and entertain themselves. Around the mid to late 1800s, board games started to really steal the show and become popular in American households.

Margaret Hofer's book, The Games We Played: The Golden Age of Board & Table Games reflects on this interesting time in American entertainment. Broken up into separate categories, such as Parlor Athletics and Morals to Materialism, the coffee table book shares insight into a time when family and friends chose togetherness and friendly competition as simple and delightful ways to spend their evenings.

The illustrations from original games, before technology enhanced graphic design, are enchanting and fun to peruse. It sheds much light on the nineteenth century and the gaming industry—before it was the “gaming” industry that we know today. It's a truly fascinating read, from the history of boardgames to the images and explanations of the games themselves.

Bowling: How To Master The Game

I grew up in a small town, and the one activity that everyone loved to do from an early age was bowling. The local bowling alley was the happening place on Friday night and it's where families went to have a good time on Saturday.

I admit that I was a pretty good bowler, but I could never break that 200 barrier. I tried everything, but nothing I did could help me go higher the 199. When I looked at the probowlers and saw their stance and how they were able to throw the ball with such force and make it hook into the pins, I was amazed.

It wasn't until I picked up “Bowling: How To Master The Game” by probowler Parker Bohn III that I truly began to understand the game. It's more than just throwing a ball down the lane. There are many factors that can influence the spin, speed and direction of the ball from the conditions of the lane and ball to you own arm movements.

The Official Price Guide To Collectible Card Games

When I was in college, I started my obsession with collectible card games. I had Star Trek, Werewolf, X-Men and many many more. The 90's were the golden age of collectible card games and everyone was making them.

Today's card games pale in comparison to the days of old. Through the years, I have picked up cards and card packs from eBay and other places to help complete and expand my sets that started more than a decade ago.

I have book after book filled to the brim with cards and I had no idea how much they were worth. They were in pristine shape and perfect condition, but had more than a decade to gain worth. Hundreds and thousands of cards all sitting collecting dust in my closet. I would break them out every now and then to add to them or for nostalgia's sake.

The Complete Book of Beer Drinking Games

College. It’s the first taste of adult freedom, and that flavor usually has a fair amount of hops in it. Sure, we’d like to pretend that we were all there for the learning—at least in front of our parents and children—but anyone who’s spent a few years living the college life knows that beer is tied to at least a few fond, or embarrassing, memories.

There aren’t many college students who got through the university experience without playing a drinking game or four. They’re just as much a rite of passage as midterm and final exams.

When it comes to drinking games, my buddies and I always stuck to beer as our drink of choice. The hard stuff is too expensive and, well, from a responsibility standpoint is pretty dangerous. It’s not fun if someone gets hurt. Makes a fool of himself? Duh…that’s the whole point.