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Friday, July 17, 2009

Play a Board Game

A few years ago, my wife and I made our first visit to Baguio, the town in the northern region of the Philippines where my wife went to university. There, we fortunate to meet a couple, Jim and Shanti, who run "Bliss," a vegetarian restaurant .

Unfortunately, when we first dined in their restaurant on Sunday, we learned it would be closed Monday, and we were leaving Tuesday morning. This was to be our first and last visit.

But fortunately (life is like that, ain't it?) the phone rang in our inn Monday morning; it was Jim inviting us to their home for a scrumptious veg dinner.

Also fortunately (didn't see that coming, did you?) we played a board game called "Cranium." Four professionals, sophisticates, yelling at each other like kids: "That's cheating!" "No it isn't!" and so on. (Jim and I beat Lila and Shanti, but barely).

On his next trip to Hong Kong, our friend Mike brought us a box o' Cranium (at Lila's request), and a tradition was born: Cranium Nights, whether in our home, in the company dorm where she lives during the week, or in local restaurants.

It took me back: Risk, Life, and the king of them all, Monopoly, on rainy days when I was a kid. Stratego in college days. Trivial Pursuit with friends and neighbors Bill and Mary Ann during my first marriage.

I love my computer; I'm shackled to it (by choice) most of my waking hours.

But there's something about shaking dice, spinning a wheel, moving your piece forward (or back), drawing cards, jumping someone's king--tactile sensations that can't be duplicated with a mouse, a keyboard, or a joystick.

Not to mention being around a table with friends, face to face, like a meal.

So dust off your Scrabble, Parcheesi, Yahtzee, Chinese checkers, or go out and buy one of the flashy newer games. Get some snacks, invite some friends, and have some fun.

You'll be happier.

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