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'Let's thank hipsters for the return of board games'

PUBLISHED: 17:18 05 June 2016 | UPDATED: 17:18 05 June 2016

The board game revival is good news, says Steve Downes. Photo: Haydn West/PA Wire.

The board game revival is good news, says Steve Downes. Photo: Haydn West/PA Wire.

Archant

I'm not a big fan of labels that put people into a group, like chavs, skiers or tweenies.

I was recently called a lumbersexual - I think because I have a beard and was wearing a checked shirt at the time.

Lumbersexuals are apparently a sub-species of the hipsters who have made face fuzz fashionable and sport jaunty hats.

Whether or not it’s fair to stereotype the hipsters, one thing that I think they are contributing to humanity is the revival of board games.

Take a look in the pubs and bars that they frequent: the places with a retro feel, with books scattered about the place, with absinthe on the menu and dozens of different gins.

You might well also see a stack of board games and at least a couple of tables full of beards and tattoos huddled over Monopoly. It’s so last century, but so nice to see.

Consider the current state of the nation, with our young people constantly looking at phones or tablets: when they are eating, working, walking, talking and even driving. They will of course get rectangular eyes. And they will develop thumbs with biceps.

While they are on Whatsapp or Instagram, we were rolling dice and moving counters.

I’m sure you can remember those family games nights, with Corona as a treat for the children and a bottle of Black Tower for Mum and Dad?

Ah, the innocence of the age. Not to mention the tantrums if I lost to my brother and the board flying across the room, with counters dispersed to the dustiest corners (when I say dustiest, I’m using artistic licence. I’d like to make it clear that there was never any dust in our house).

Among my favourites were:

1 – Yahtzee (still my undisputed number one: I even used to play it on my own)

2 -– Game of Life

3 – The Great Game of Britain – fun and educational, for while taking a train journey around the nation, I learnt the birthplace of the Bronte sisters

4 – Mastermind – I wonder how many 1980s vacuum cleaners still have some of the tiny, coloured markers in them?

5 – Trivial Pursuit – I’m sure it perpetuated the urban myth of Otto Titzling inventing the bra

6 – Monopoly – teaching generations to be money-grabbing Rachmans

7 – Battleships

8 – Ludo

9 – Scrabble (don’t tell anyone, but I now play this on my tablet, against the computer)

10 – Risk.

I remember those evenings with real affection and I’m delighted that people are rediscovering the joys of pitching their skills or good fortune against real people who are really sitting near to them - rather than a cyber-person or a friend in a different city.

It’s great socially, excellent for the grey matter and nowhere near as bad for the eyes.

•Read more from our columnists here

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