Developing social and cognitive skills on International Tabletop Day

Today, 30 March, is International Tabletop Day, the day we celebrate all tabletop games. It is a reminder that these games – from chess to playing cards to snakes and ladders – can be a great way to spend some fun time with friends and family.

Since these games tend to be non-physical, they can be enjoyed by people of widely varying physical abilities – you don’t have to be a strong, fit 18 year old to take someone on in a game of Scrabble! As long as these games don’t keep us from physical activity, they can have great social and cognitive benefits, teaching us about communication, team work, strategy and innovative thinking. Just what the doctor ordered for a rainy day! (Just remember to get out of the house for a bit of a cardio-vascular workout when the weather clears…)

Still a classic - anyone a game of Scrabble?(© All Rights Reserved)
Still a classic – anyone a game of Scrabble?
(© All Rights Reserved)

And don’t think there’s nothing in the tabletop gaming genre for you just because you’re tired of the classic games like Scrabble and Monopoly – new tabletop games appear on an almost daily basis, and there are websites going to great lengths discussing and reviewing these – why not pop over to Tabletop Gaming News or have a look at the Top 10 new tabletop games for 2012 according to game informer.

Whatever rocks your boat – be it board games, dice games, war-games or card games – pull up a few chairs and have some fun on International Tabletop Day.

Monopoly – the classic board game entertaining generations.

On this day in 1935, the very last day of the year, the Parker Brothers was granted a patent for the game of Monopoly.

Houses & hotels established on the right addressed. And the odd chance to spend some time in jail! (© All Rights Reserved)
Houses & hotels established at the right addresses. And the odd chance to spend some time in jail!
(© All Rights Reserved)

The patent described Monopoly as “intended primarily to provide a game of barter, thus involving trading and bargaining”, further stating “much of the interest in the game lies in trading and in striking shrewd bargains.”

The game of Monopoly deals with real estate – players can buy properties on different streets with different values, where they can charge rent etc. An element of chance (the roll of two dice) is incorporated to add excitement and unpredictability.

The original patent for Monopoly was quite comprehensive, including illustrations showing not only the playing board and pieces, but also 22 “Title cards of the respective Real Estate holdings”, Utilities, Chance and Community Chest cards, and the scrip money.

The Parker Brothers’ Monopoly became one of the all-time best selling board games, entertaining generations of adults and children. Intricate and complex enough to stimulate adult players, yet simple enough to still entertain (slightly older) children, it proved a winning recipe, and a true classic of the board game genre.