One Scrabble a Day … – Winnipeg Free Press


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This article has been published 1/25/2020 (602 days ago), the information it contains may therefore no longer be up to date.


One of the most wonderful aspects of board games is timelessness. For many of us, playing games with friends or family is at the center of some of our fondest childhood memories.

This does not mean that the allure of board games is limited to young people. There are many games available that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Regardless of your age, games can be used to communicate with those around you in an entertaining and meaningful way.

While the enjoyment we experience while gambling is its own justification, there are many more reasons for making gambling a regular pastime, especially for older people.

Encourages social interaction

First and foremost, games provide entertainment – after all, they’re meant to be a fun way to pass the time. However, because they require the participation of other people, games indirectly encourage social interaction. They can provide older people with a way to spend time with the people they love.

Getting together with friends, children, and grandchildren can help ease feelings of isolation, loneliness, and depression, which are common among older people. Gathering around a game is a great way to interact with others and can lead to meaningful conversations. Then again, it is also true that just playing a calm game with loved ones can be enough to bring joy and contentment.

Of course, these benefits don’t just go one way. Over the past few years, my wife and I have taken advantage of a permanent date to play cards with her grandparents. In a friendly competition, they gave me family stories and stories, and showed me more of who they are. I had the opportunity to learn more about them in a deeper and more meaningful way than a simple casual conversation could have provided. To this day, I have never won a game, but I always left the table with something more valuable.

Reduces stress

The old adage “laughter is the best medicine” is especially true of the elderly. Playing a fun game can release endorphins and relax the mind and body, which can lead to lower blood pressure and even a stronger immune system. It can also benefit people who are struggling with anxiety, as it allows them to distract themselves from their daily worries. As a regular practice, play can be a powerful tool in reducing stress and maintaining a sense of calm and focus.

Stimulates the mind

Memory loss is a concern for many people as they age. Board or card games can combat memory loss by improving cognitive skills. Working with numbers, letters, shapes and words stimulates the brain by actively challenging it. In short, playing games can help older people stay sharp. Some studies have even shown that this type of activity can help inhibit the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Increase dexterity

Even the simplest tasks can become more difficult as people get older. As we age, fine motor control may require greater concentration. Moving game pieces or holding and shuffling cards can be a great way to exercise and strengthen coordination. There are even games specially designed around the dexterity component. In a game like Jenga, for example, fine motor control is the essence of the game.

Find the right game

Finding the right game for an aging adult can be tricky. Obviously, there are many well-loved games, such as Scrabble, Rummy, Backgammon, or Chess, which provide a sense of nostalgia and the comfort of familiarity. However, there are so many wonderful titles available today that it would be a shame to limit the selection to familiar classics. If you’re looking for new game ideas that might be suitable for seniors, here’s a list of my favorites, which you might like to explore:


2-4 players, 7-99 years old

Qwirkle is a tile laying game reminiscent of Scrabble and dominoes. Players place tiles in rows of the same color or shape. If you place the new tiles efficiently, you can get big results. It is easy to learn and features large and beautiful wooden tiles.

Ticket to ride

2 to 5 players, ages 8 to 99

In this beautifully designed large tabletop game, players try to get the most points by building a series of railroad tracks on a board representing North America (Winnipeg is even shown on the map!). On your turn, either take two new cards or swap a matching deck of cards and build a track on the board. It is easy to learn and teach despite the more complex set of rules.

Battle sheep

2-4 players, 7-99 years old

Try to cover as much space on the board with your stack of sheep discs. During a turn, players divide one of their piles of sheep and move the top half in a straight line across the board until they encounter an obstacle (another sheep or the edge of the board). The game ends when no one can make another move. The player who covers the most spaces wins.


2-6 players, 8-99 years old

LLAMA is a fast card game, reminiscent of Uno. On your turn, either place a card in the center of the table or draw a new card. Cards can only be played if they have the same number or a higher number than the previously played card. Whoever gets rid of all their cards first wins the round and avoids the penalty points.


2-4 players, ages 8 to 99

Try to move your pawn on a path through a maze. Your goal is to reach a symbol that matches one of your cards. On your turn, you push a tile into the maze which will change its configuration. The first player to reach all the symbols corresponding to their cards wins the game.

Olaf Pyttlik is an avid board game enthusiast from Winnipeg and co-owner of Across the Board Game Café. In a regular column, he delves into the renaissance of board games and shares game ideas for families and friends of all ages. Email him at [email protected]

Olaf Pyttlik

Olaf Pyttlik
Board game columnist

Olaf Pyttlik is an avid board game enthusiast from Winnipeg and co-owner of Across the Board Game Cafe.

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