Is that even a question? What with 4+ gajillion games apps song videos whatchamahoozits available on your phone tablet laptop ipod game console, there can’t possibly be a shortage of things to keep a plugged-in wi-fi’d traveler entertained. And I’m not saying that there is.
I’m just saying that it could be fun, every once in a while, to look up from the tiny screen. To takeout the earbuds, push the off button, and play with someone else for a while, face-to-face, separated by nothing but two feet of air (maybe an armrest, or a coffee table), and needing no equipment except maybe a pen and paper, and your own quirky brain.
I learned to play the game Botticelli when I was about ten, driving with my parents and sister across the great empty expanse of Nevada and Utah, on the way to visit my grandparents in Colorado. I’m pretty sure that I was not so good at it (I’m really sure my mom had a hard time thinking of the names of people that my sister and I had actually heard of), but man it was fun. We laughed at each others’ increasingly ridiculous questions and guesses, and the game inevitably devolved into chaos. But that’s okay, because those are some of my best memories of traveling with my family.
Much later, when my husband and I were first getting to know each other, we would spend hours hanging out in ice cream parlors, grocery store food tables, coffee shops, lonely hilltop airstrips, beaches, malls, and wherever else the mood struck us, to invent simple games to play together. Sometimes we were “successful,” sometimes not, but often it was beside the point. The point was, we were getting to know each other by having fun together. Later, in a used bookstore, we found a tiny book of Surrealist games (the Surrealists were big on using games to promote artistic creativity). It remains one of my most treasured books. Here’s a link to it on Amazon, if you’re interested.
The Surrealist Book of Games also gave me an idea for a book of my own. So, I put together a collection of twenty-five classic parlor games, road trip games, Surrealist games, and others – all of which could be played with little or no materials, by two or more people of almost any age, in almost any setting. I wanted a variety of games to suit different moods: logic games, creative games, guessing games, and so on – both competitive and non-competitive. I’ve included games like “Territory”, which is the paper-and-pen precursor to Risk; “Nim”, a logic game that dates to the Middle Ages; “Exquisite Corpse”, probably the most famous of all the Surrealist games; and even a couple of games of my own (and my husband’s) invention.
This book is Ms. Heidi’s Pocket Book of Coffee Shop Games, and I’m really excited to present it as Mutaneers’ first book. I made it small in size, because I really love the idea of people carrying it around, ready to play with their kids friends spouses future spouses whenever the opportunity arises. I made the book available as a Kindle edition, because it’s just as fun, playing the games from your phone.
Below is a sample of the Kindle version of the book (it’s also available as a paperback), so I hope you will take a look – and please feel free to let me know what you think. Because I really do believe that things get better when we play together.