Bored Of Board Games? Family-Oriented Videogames Could Be The Solution

While playing board games might be a fun way to spend a family evening or other social event; children, parents and even grandparents can all get together and have a great time playing videogames. Although once thought of as an isolating and alienating influence, videogames are now becoming a favoured means of bonding for families.

A new survey by PopCap Games, released last month, found that 92% of casual gaming parents and grandparents used videogames to bond with their children or grandchildren. 70% of the respondents also cited that playing videogames with their young could help them improve their eye-hand co-ordination and memory and provided an opportunity for learning, stress relief and confidence-building.

Professor Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies at Nottingham Trent University, agreed with the survey’s findings:

“Empirical research has consistently shown that in the right context, computer and videogames can have a positive educational, psychological and therapeutic benefit to a large range of different ages and sub-groups,” he told

Recent years have seen an increase in the amount of games released with family interaction in mind, with the most popular being the Buzz!, SingStar and Guitar Hero series of videogames, all available for the PlayStation 2.

The Buzz! series of videogames allows up to 8 players to compete in quizzes just like real TV game shows, complete with the host – Buzz – and his assistant, Rose, all accompanied by an audience that claps and laughs, on a variety of topics – there are two general knowledge editions and three special editions for music, sports and Hollywood, respectively. The games even use special five-button Buzz! controllers to further authenticate the feel of being on a real game show. There is also the Buzz! Junior series, featuring party games rather than quizzes, aimed more at younger children, but can be equally enjoyable for older children or even adults.

SingStar is a karaoke game where players sing to music videos in order to score points, using microphones plugged into the console. Lyrics are shown at the bottom of the screen and players score points in real-time according to how accurate their singing is. The game allows two players to compete simultaneously, and up to 8 players can face off in a series of singing challenges using the ‘Pass the Mic’ feature. SingStar is different to most karaoke in that the rights have been obtained to use the original sound recording, meaning players can sing along to the actual track, while the original vocals can be lowered or elevated in the mix depending on the player’s, or audience’s, choice. The series includes different editions offering a diverse selection of music, including SingStar ’80s, SingStar Rocks! and the upcoming SingStar Bollywood.

Guitar Hero allows players to play along to their favourite rock songs on a special guitar-shaped controller. In the game, an extended guitar neck is shown on-screen, and as the song progresses, coloured markers indicating notes scroll down the screen in time with the music. The player has to push the corresponding buttons on the guitar controller in order to gain points, and the game supports both cooperative and competitive modes, allowing two people to play simultaneously. The songs included in the games cover a variety of genres, from easier numbers, like “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple, to the ridiculously hard, such as “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. The latest instalment, Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock will be released later next month.

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Classic Board Games – Backgammon Board Games

Artifacts from ancient civilization in the Far East indicate that many popular board games existed in some form and most commonly in the aristocratic society. Dating back thousands of years ago, boards and game pieces from something that resembled the classic board game of backgammon were uncovered in Egypt and Rome as well as discoveries even farther back in time in Persia. A version of the game evolved in 800 AD, again in Persia, and this game very closely represented what we see today with traditional backgammon. It’s rules and moves may appear simple however with each turn, players can quickly change the course of the competition.

The board played on thousands of years ago, as with the board now, has 12 points for each ‘side’ which were said to represent the 12 months in the year. The total combined is 24 points for 24 hours in a day, and 30 playing pieces, whether you call them checkers, stones, chips or men, the number was to signify the days in a month. It’s a game that is rich with symbolism. Historically they would have constructed the boards and pieces using a wood surface. The playing pieces would be molded out of bits and pieces of bones, pottery or simple stones. The first appearance in English culture was back in approximately 1025 AD and names ‘tables’. It rose in popularity throughout the Middle Ages and soon appeared as a favorite past time for those frequenting taverns and pubs. This evolution was due to the Backgammon one on one gaming nature making it easily adapted into a form of gambling. The church and law makers stepped in to prohibit play because of the element of betting and wagering involved.

While the game is fairly simple in terms of its design, the method of play is largely based on standard strategies used since the inception of play. The one element that is out of the players control is still always going to be the roll of the dice. While the component of luck plays a part in the classic game of backgammon, players are still left with a collection of moves to decide upon and this is where the skill and experience will change the face of game play. Unlike some traditional games like checkers and chess, you win when all your pieces are gone!

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Backgammon Gambling Has A Long And Interesting History

The dramatic growth in Internet backgammon over the past decade and a half come a fashionable youth leisure activity, appears in large part to have been propelled by the popularity of backgammon gambling, yet those with a broader knowledge of the backgammon story realize that backgammon online has developed according to the tradition of the game, rather than as a dramatic new departure. Backgammon gambling has a long history, and its appearance in an online format represents a continuance of this tradition.

True, many people start to play backgammon when they are still children. It is common for children to get introduced to the game from their school friends or family. A backgammon set with the familiar backgammon board, dice and counters is soon purchased from pocket money, or a birthday present, and in a short while the child picks up the backgammon rules and starts developing their backgammon skills. At this stage the game is usually played for the entertainment value alone. However, as the child grows up and perhaps decides to join a backgammon club or even to take parts in tournaments, the chance of winning prizes provides a fresh, and welcome additional motivation to improving their playing skills. Once the player develops strategies to help them improve the way they play backgammon, they commonly consider playing for stakes with a certain confidence that they are going to win.

From the earliest days of backgammon in the Middle East the gambling factor has been an important factor in the game. The Roman version of backgammon, known as tabula, was entirely focused on playing for money. Since the concepts of leisure times and playing a game for sheer fun are relatively modern ideas, it seems reasonable to assume that for most of its long history backgammon has been played for money rather than the sheer enjoyment along. Although the pleasure element has certainly always been present, the gambling has probably been the dominant aspect.

When the developers of online backgammon created their sites, clearly they saw gambling as a key element that would attract patrons. Like the traditional backgammon board game, they provide many opportunities for people to play for fun alone, for example, the backgammon computer makes a fascinating opponent for players of various skill levels. However, the possibilities of competing against fellow backgammon enthusiasts from around the world and winning sums of money exceeding the amounts that can be won in many local games, act as a draw to new players who would not be attracted to the same extent by playing for pleasure alone. What has effectively happened is the globalization of a traditional backgammon game for stakes. Instead of the people assembled in the local tavern or café, the potential pool of players has been extended to everyone around the world who has Internet access. At the same time the availability of games has been expanded to allow players to find a game at a time that suits them, without even having to leave the comfort of their own home.

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The Monopoly City Game – A Review of the Board Game Hit For Christmas

The Monopoly City board game has been causing a stir since its release date, and the game is looking set to be one of the most wanted board games this Christmas, but does it live up to the hype, and is it worthy of the Monopoly name?

The Monopoly City edition sees the famous property game take a new turn, and boasts a new way of playing the game that many seasoned players will be thrilled with, and new players will find easy to learn. Following on from the hugely successful Monopoly Here And Now edition, the Monopoly City game is a bold new chapter in the evolution of the title.

Now, players are able to build a city as they move around the board and play the game, and as the game progresses, 3D buildings begin to form a whole new city right before their eyes. While this new approach caused some controversy amongst some of the die-hard fans of the old school method of playing the game, it is a gamble that has paid off for manufacturers Hasbro.

The set includes 80 3D buildings to use and arrange while playing the game, along with the board and all of the other things you would associate with the famous Monopoly game. Game play is suitable for between 2 and six players, meaning it would make a great family talking point at Christmas time.

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