Holidays in my house are boardgame time. Traditionally we play a family game of Risk on Christmas day. However, this year, partly due to the fact that Risk takes a very long time to play, and partly due to the fact that it normally ends in tears, we decided to play infinite games of Scrabble instead. My brother has an obsession with his iPad, and thus always wants to play Scrabble electronically. It sounds great in theory. No setting up or cleaning up, no arguing about words not existing and, best of all, no maths. So, what’s the problem? Well, even though there is no arguing about existence of words and their spelling, the dictionary used, Merriam-Webster, allowed some pretty ridiculous words. More importantly, however, electronic Scrabble essentially requires less thought; you just throw down the letters and test to see if it’s a word. You don’t even have to know if the word exists or what it means, you score points and, after all, Scrabble is a game.
So I’m ranting about Scrabble, but what’s my point? Electronic boardgames demonstrate our generation’s continual reliance on machines rather than our own brains. No, I don’t recommend that we go back to the Stone Age, or even that we rebel against all forms of electronics, but our reliance on machines is worrisome. Granted they are a source of ease, comfort, and even knowledge in our society, and I for one don’t function well when I am removed from my computer and phone. But there is a need to limit its usage, and some things are just better the traditional way, Scrabble included. I mean, it could be argued that my brothers and I enhanced our knowledge of words by playing electronic Scrabble, but to be honest I don’t even remember what the words were (I do know that there was one that meant the southern wind or something similar). So let’s keep some things sacred from the Apple mania of electronicizing (yup, now I’m making up words) things, especially boardgames. And let me be clear, this post is not due to me being a sore loser … at least not completely.