Christmas Shopping

Yes, folks, it’s that time of the year – time to start shopping for Christmas presents! Okay, you don’t have to look at me like that. I’ll let you know that it’s best to start looking now than to wait until the week before Christmas, or even until Black Friday, because stores will get crazy when you least want them to. In fact, it’s even better to be looking for presents all throughout the year, because then you’ll always have something to fall back on, or extra presents for those just-in-case-I-make-a-friend-before-Christmas scenarios.

I started my search today, and as a result have been listening very carefully to what my friends say, or stalking their facebook page if I don’t see them as often as I’d like. Actually, a by-product of buying gifts for others is that it helps train your observational skills – assuming, of course, that you actually care about what gifts you’re giving.

While browsing on Amazon, I was distracted by some interesting new board and card games that some I’ve heard rave reviews for before, while others I’ve never even seen (but have rave reviews on Amazon). The game designers out there have really put their creative juices to work, especially when trying to compete against all the new video games and gadgets out there. And I honestly think that these ‘manual’ games a better – not because they’re more or less creative than video games, but because unlike video games, they tend to try and involve more people, which in turn fosters a greater sense of community.

It’s quite curious, really – it’s not like the video gaming companies don’t produce multiplayer games, but there’s something about interacting with plain old people that connects you on a deeper level, as opposed to having to stare at some sort of screen to interact with their temporary virtual character. In addition, I find it easier to be isolated when playing video games, because for every multiplayer version of a game, there’s also a single player option, where a player can play against the computer (or PlayStation or Wii…hard drive…thing). Plus I know that a lot of girls tend to shy away from video games, seeing it as a ‘guy thing’ to do, so it usually ends up quite divided between the two genders, while board/card games tend to have a nice even split.

I’ve always grown up with board and card games surrounding me, as my parents didn’t ever buy any Nintendo or video game product, not even Tamagotchis or digital pets. (Those born in the 90’s will know exactly what these things are!) And I can’t help but miss playing manual games with a bunch of friends – most of the time, if anyone even remotely suggests playing a card or board game, it never happens because either people are too busy talking or don’t have the guts patience to try to learn something new. It gets so bad that I find myself sometimes playing a board game by myself, or imaging myself doing so, strategising against a phantom player the same way a boxer shadow boxes.

Either way, I’m definitely making some room on my wish list for some new games I have in mind…and on a completely different note, I find that many of the highest-rated board games were invented by Germans.

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