I have great memories of epic board game marathons when growing up in the backwaters of the Free State, with not much to do for entertainment for adults or children.
We played Ludo, snakes and ladders, draughts, Monopoly (which would always end in epic tantrums from me), kerm (or carrom), checkers, Scrabble, dominoes and puzzles – not strictly board games – and chess.
In general, I suck at board games and I cheat.
But I have a renewed interest in them to while away the long winter nights, and also to reduce my screen time. I’m also learning to play chess online thanks to Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit.
I’m teaching my daughter snakes and ladders, which is great for teaching her numbers and mathematics. And Jenga, also not strictly a board game, but great fun.
I steer clear of Monopoly, though – it’s a game of evil meant to tear families apart, in my opinion.
Flow’s CEO, Tara Turkington, the undeniable queen of the board game circuit, says, “It’s quality family time. It’s about getting to know each other, and learning more about each other.”
Tara tells of how when growing up her family used to play a board game called Mine a Million once every year, on New Year’s Eve.
“It was a dastardly game and took about seven hours to play. It had robbers, trucks could get hijacked, you could hit a hurricane at sea, you could block each other’s barges. Everyone hated each other so much; it was a vicious, ruthless game where you had to destroy the other players to win.
“Also, it is a French game and the rules were translated into dodgy English, so we made up a lot of them and that’s how the Turkington rules came into existence.
“One year, I got everyone to conspire against the winner and brought them down in a cowardly fashion, and after that no one could play it ever again.
“Now we play a brilliant game, Ticket to Ride, which is about train routes across different continents, Settlers of Catan, chess and backgammon. One of my children got very good at chess; he now plays for the University of Cape Town.”
Says Flow MD Tiffany Turkington-Palmer, “Our favourite board game at the moment is Settlers of Catan. A little tricksy to learn, but then easy. So much fun for the teens, the parents and the grandparents. We are super competitive and slightly addicted, but better than watching another Netflix series, right?”
Flow Cape Town writer Nadia Moore says, “I am more a lover of card games, but my housemate really enjoys board games. When we all moved in to our house at the start of the year she brought her collection, and it’s extensive! I love cold nights in Cape Town where we light the fire and she teaches us a new game. These have been some of my fondest memories with these wonderful housemates.”