The Changing Face of Game Night

If change bothers you then the world we live in must make you dizzy. On a recent night, I found myself smack-dab in the midst of something new and a sign of our altered reality.

I’d just covered a triple word-square with the letter “Q,” added a “U” and nestled an “I” next to “Z” already on the board. I tapped the send button. Whoa! My score jumped by a whopping sixty-six points.

For the past hour, I’d spent my Friday night watching television and playing a game similar to Scrabble called Words With Friends on my new toy – an Asus tablet. The killer sixty-nine pointer was in a game against my husband, who sat near me in our living room. Tonight a full queue of matches waited for me. Friends and neighbors were on-line and, unlike our weekday quick turns taken in a moment of downtime, we all played in full force.

I glanced to my right, expecting to see a reaction from my husband over the dramatic change in my score. Instead, he watched the Olympics.

“Well?” I arched a brow.

He looked at me and when I motioned to the tablet on his lap, dropped his gaze. “Wow…sixty-nine points. Nice.” He nodded, clearly impressed.

I’ve always loved game night.  Like when the family gathers around the kitchen table on a snowy afternoon and munches on popcorn over a rousing round of Gin Rummy. Or a warm evening on the deck with good friends, sipping cool gin and tonics and pondering a high-scoring word over the Scrabble board. I never dreamed these events would stray far from the way I’d done them over the past fifty-plus years…in the actual presence of others.

Then a month ago, my husband asked what I wanted for my birthday.

“A tablet. You know, like an iPad but it isn’t.”

His forehead lifted with surprise. I routinely complain our household has too many electronics. And not due to me. I work on the computer all day, so at night I like to ‘disconnect’ a bit. I’ve turned down many an offer to get a smart-phone with the ease a Mormon passes up on a beer. My hubby, on the other hand, is a true-to-life Inspector Gadget.

“I can use it for work. Or to check a recipe from the kitchen.”

He rushed me off to Best Buy before I changed my mind, but trust me…I had no plans to obsess on the apparatus.

That was until my friend Kathy found out I was getting one and said, “Oh, good. Now you can play Words With Friends. It’s like Scrabble.”

Did I mention Scrabble is my favorite board game? A quest to find partners for the game didn’t take long. And now, my idea of game night took a new twist.

From my sofa on this hot summer night, I could see my neighbor Diane’s lit living room window up the hill, where she engaged in two matches with me. The next game I played was against my friend Kathy. As I scanned the long list of people waiting for me to take a turn, I realized the rest of her family members currently were playing matches with me, too. Was her entire household sitting in their family room in front of the large screen TV, each staring at their own tablets/iPods/computers?

After the well attended cyber-game night mentioned above, I later learned that Kathy’s household was as I’d pictured them. Except there was one thing missing; they’d opened up the actual Scrabble board and had a REAL game going on in the midst of their e-games.

Good to know the saying is true…as much as things change, they stay the same.

Old Fashioned Game Night


12 responses to “The Changing Face of Game Night

  1. What a fitting post! I can so relate as we have gone the cyber route ourselves. And I used to think it was too ‘high tech’ when the kids decided to play monopoly on Play Station…yeesh. Now we too have Words with Friends and everyone in plugged in…smart phones, iPads, laptops, desk top and of course my trusty Aspire netbook. Oh and let’s not forget the e-reader. I swore up and down I would never NEVER own one…..there are 3 in our house now and you can find us all ‘buried in a book’. But I still love my board games as much as I love my hardcovers and paperbacks. Going with the flow but hanging on a few oldies but goodies along the way!

  2. I LOVE Scrabble too.

    Two teenagers make our house technology central, but just when it seems life has gotten so Star Trek, we visit Florida and all of the cousins sit around the dining room table and play marathon Monopoly games until wee hours of the morning.

    Thanks for the post!

  3. Nice post, Sharon. I have Words with Friends on my iPhone and it’s a lot of fun. I love beating my kids 🙂 I agree, when the storm hit last October, we played a bunch of games with the neighbors. Old ones, in person, on a real board, in candlelight, LOL. Clue, monopoly, etc. Maybe the power should go out once a month so we can all play together 🙂

    • Oh yes, the October snow storm! We played Bananagrams by candlelight, too. So much fun. A state-wide ‘power-out’ night could actually be fun and get us away from our electronics. I’ll talk to the governor 🙂

  4. I love Scrabble, and I play WWF on my laptop – it’s everywhere! We used to play cards in my house growing up all the time. Board games, too. Ah, the good old days!! (Alright, I can’t believe I actually just typed that phrase. Oy!)

  5. First time reading your blog and it won’t be the last.

  6. Hi Sharon,
    I am so glad that you asked for a tablet for your birthday. I really enjoy playing the game at least once, if not several times a day. I have the game on my tablet and on my phone. I never get upset with long checkout lines, because I have my games to keep me busy! I love playing words and getting a great score. Thanks for being one of my Words With” Friends” By the way I believe it is your turn!!! I feel honored that you mentioned our crazy Scrabble game in your blog!


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