Living Your Life In a Game

By: Colin Goh
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This is one of my favourite board games of all time. Certainly, it's popular with the masses too.

For those of you who know me for a long time, you would have known that I'm an avid board game fan. A few of you might even have played some very cool board games with me back in the 80s and 90s.

At that time, the Game Of Life was already revolutionary. There was a 3D board and a 3D spinner. Tokens were cars with baby blue and pink pegs for family members. Status Symbol cards made me, as a player, feel rich. And most importantly, there was a storyline in the game - which is the story of the player's life, my life. It made me think about what I should do. Indeed, playing that game might have influenced Jessica and I stopping at 2 kids.

Today, there is a re-hash of the Game Of Life. We have the same storyline, the same cars with pegs and the same spinner. But the gameplay has been streamlined. Unfortunately, with the modernisation, a lot of things were made simpler. The 3D buildings are gone. The Status Symbol cards have been replaced by Houses cards. And saddest of all, the board is much smaller and hence the game ends a lot faster. However, with the gentler initial learning gradient, younger kids can join in the game. And of course, I get my kids to play along on a lazy Sunday morning.

So what's so good about playing the Game Of Life?

Firstly, my children learn what will be waiting for them in life. Do they choose to go to university and possibly get a better paying job at first? Why do they need to accumulate assets? What are the nasty surprises that they might meet in the future? This game is perfect to introduce such subtle and generalised concepts of life to them at an early age when telling them outright will most likely fall on deaf ears.

Secondly, I think it is wonderful to introduce to them the concept of big money; there are actually money bigger than the money bigger than the $10 note the occasionally handle or the $1,000 used to buy a computer. Speaking of money, it seems the Game Of Life's currency has caught up with inflation too, unlike Monopoly.

Thirdly and most valued in my dictionary, is the quality time I spend with them. To me, playing this game allows them to learn something outside the classroom. It broadens their perspective in their lives. Even if my younger daughter doesn't understand what is being introduced to her, we still have a fun 1-hour together setting up the pieces, playing the game and keeping everything back in the box. I think this beats the iPad or X-Box games we indulge in them every now and then.

So, what do you feel after reading this? I hope this sparked the child in you to learn through such play all over again. I still have a stash of unbelievably fun board games waiting to be introduced to children - small and big alike.


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Posted on 10/01/2015

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