Being a child of the 70′s and 80′s, the majority of my childhood entertainment was most definitely on the basic side compared to the equivalent today. Much of my youth was filled by my parents searching for new ways to entertain me and keep me occupied. Some of the most memorable times with my parents were when I got to play board games with them.
Growing up, there was always a cupboard in the sideboard stacked full of board games – some mine, and others that my parents had played, presumably before I existed. I remember vividly that many of the adult games fascinated me – things like Mastermind and a wooden travel chess set that belonged to my father. Being taught to play Mastermind when I was old enough was a key moment of my youth – it certainly brought out the puzzle solving side of my brain that I continue to use even now. That wooden travel chess set was also dusted down when I was of pub drinking age. I used to go to the pub with my Dad, have a pint and a game of chess – I always lost, but it represented quality Father, Son time.
Aside from these more typical experiences. Other regular favourites included the likes of Sorry, Cluedo, Ludo, Scrabble, Boggle, many card games and a potentially unhealthy obsession with a travel solitaire set. These were the go-to games in the cupboard, but from time to time there were distractions.
Being of a certain age back then, I was exposed to Blue Peter and their fund raising events – most notably, bring and buy sales. For some reason I used to find these amazingly exciting events. Tables full of discarded toys from years, even decades gone by. They always had a particular musty smell about them as well – the smell of old board games. Buried under piles of Action Man, dented toy cars, broken dolls and Dandy annuals you would find stacks of old board games that hadn’t seen the light of day in years. Whilst I vividly remember the Hot Wheels track and the giant box of vintage Meccano that were obtained for 10p a pop – the board games remain a little more hazy. I think we got kerplunk, jack straws and a compendium from one of these trusty sales - while none of these were ground breaking, they did entertain me for a good amount of time and helped to raise money for a worthy cause.
What this highlights more, is that board games should be allowed to live on for generations. While the boxes and playing boards may pick up the occasional damage or scar, the inherent worth remains the same. They still remain perfectly playable for years, even decades to come. A good board game is a worthy investment that can bring a family or groups of friends many, many hours of quality time and entertainment. While Blue Peter may have changed since my youth, board games still have the same appeal and are deeply rooted in my heart.