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Get Your Game Face On

3 Apr

One of my favourite hobbies is playing games with my friends. This has always been one of our favourite things to do as a group and this has been the case for over ten years! My parents ignited my love for boardgames from an early age.

I wanted to share with you all a few of my favourite board games and party games, in no particular order.

1. Apples to Apples

This game is fantastic because you can have between 4 and 10 players. The objective of the game is once the cards (red apples) have been dealt, a green apple is drawn. Each player must select the card from their individual hand and put it in the center of the table face down, selecting a card that they think works best with the word on the green apple card. Each round has a judge, so choosing the card is also determined based on who the judge is. If the judge selects your card, you win that round. The role of judge alternates every round and it adds a fun dynamic to the game because some rounds get more heated than others.

The other great part about this game is that every time you play it is a completely different experience. Whether it is because of the people you are playing with, or the cards you are dealt. This is a must play game if you’re looking for a fun couple hours.

2. Taboo

Taboo is one of my favourite games. I have played it with my friends, family and even my students! Warning to teachers playing Taboo in class, skim through the cards because hearing a grade 12 boy describe lingerie to his team is slightly uncomfortable.

The object of the game is to describe the word at the top of the card, without using any of the 5 words listed underneath the word. Here’s an example:

If you accidentally say one of the forbidden words, a member from the opposing team will buzz you with the obnoxious sounding buzzer provided. Each team will try and go through as many cards as possible within the time limit. This game is always fun when playing with close friends/family because you can often use inside jokes or say things that will be a direct hint for what the desired word is. Taboo is a fun, lighthearted game that always has the players laughing as each round goes by.

3. Cranium

The beauty of Cranium is that this game is fun for everyone. Like a traditional board game, the objective of the game is to move your player piece around the board and reach the center of the board first. The great part about Cranium is how you arrive to this point. There are four different options in Cranium: Creative Cat, Star Performer, Word Worm and Data Head. Each turn is unpredictable because you can go from answering a trivia question, to humming the tune of a song, to sculpting an object, to unscrambling a word. This game gives everyone an opportunity to shine, whether you’re a right brain or a left brain.

4. Settlers of Catan

It’s true what they say, don’t judge a book (or a game in this case) by its cover! My good friends, Amy and Ross, are wonderful hosts for many of our frequent game nights. It was at their house that I was introduced to The Settlers of Catan, or Catan for short. This game did not sound appealing to me originally and I regret doubting this game because it is truly amazing.

The objective of this game is strategy based, which makes for a great competition.   Players must expand their colonies by building roads, settlements, and villages by harvesting commodities. The Settlers of Catan website explains in more detail: Trade sheep, lumber, bricks and grain for a settlement, bricks and wood for a road, or try to complete other combinations for more advanced buildings, services and specials.

Trade with other players, or at local seaports to get resources you might lack. The first player to achieve 10 points from a combination of roads, settlements, and special cards wins.

If the opportunity ever arises, do not pass up the chance to play Catan. The game could last up to several hours but the fight to the end is always a lot of fun.

5. Trivial Pursuit

Of course, everyone knows about Trivial Pursuit. Trivial Pursuit is an obvious classic. The objective of the game, for those of you who are unfamiliar (if there are any of you), is to move around the board and answer questions correctly. You receive a wedge for answering a question correctly. There are 6 categories so you want to get a wedge from each category, answering a question correctly for each of the categories, and get to the end of the game first.  Whether you win or lose, you always leave with a little bit of useless trivia at the end of a game of Trivial Pursuit.

If you have any favourite games that you want to share, please do!

Until next time,

Merzybean.

Spring Cleaning

12 Mar

This weekend I went on a bit of a cleaning and organizing binge. Call it what you will, perhaps because of the spring-like weather it would be appropriate to call it spring cleaning! I think that it’s important to do an annual clean up because over a year we often accumulate new “things” and the old “things” aren’t as important anymore and perhaps we don’t have a place for them anymore. It’s always nice to keep organized not only for cleanliness and spatial reasons, but for one’s mental well-being too. Whenever I clean out my closet, drawers, or cupboards, I feel really good because I think that the clutter in my life reflects my current mentality. Let’s just say that during stressful periods of my life, my room looks much less organized than when things are less stressful.

I have learned how to become more ruthless when it comes down to deciding what to keep and what to get rid of. Maybe after watching an episode or two of Hoarders, on TLC, I feel more inspired to do a bit of a clean up too. I find that when I am cleaning out my closet, for example, it is a much easier process because clothing that I don’t keep is not being thrown away, never to be used again. This is because I love donating my clothes to the church or to Salvation Army because then I don’t feel bad about parting with these pieces, knowing that they will be going to someone else who will be more appreciative and in need. I stumbled upon a website, Every Monday Matters, which pointed out that there are approximately 1.5 billion pairs of unworn or barely worn shoes that are just lying around in closets. Also, apparently in the U.S. 20 billion pounds of clothing and textiles are thrown away annually. That is such a crying shame to me because there are so many people living in poverty who could benefit from clothing donations.

Some quick tips to consider before organizing a space:

  • Have a plan. Mindlessly pulling everything out of a closet or drawer might seem like a good idea at the time, but I promise you it makes it more difficult if you land up with an empty drawer and a pile of things on the floor. Also, try not to tackle too much at one time. Tackle small areas, one at a time, and then move onto the next area.
  • Have garbage bags near. This is probably one of my number one go to items when spring cleaning because it is important to have a donate bag and an actual garbage bag. This way, you can throw away and donate things as you go along.
  • Have an open mind. Be a little bit ruthless. Don’t feel too attached to material items, it is healthy to live a clutter-free life, in my opinion!
  • Have labels/baggies/storage bins available. In order to become organized and to maintain this organization in the future, having a good system in place is really important. In a closet, storage bins are very useful. I have a shelving system at the top of my closet and I have four bins that hold scarves, purses, hats, and miscellaneous accessories. The bins are labelled so that I know what is in each bin without having to pull them down and rummage through them. Ziploc bags are great for organization in the bathroom: I have hair elastics in one, razors in another, and so on and so forth.

Well, that’s my two cents on cleaning and organization!

Yia sas (as us Greeks say),

Merzybean.