Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The Final Posting

Well here we are, and what a journey it has been. Although I have come to the end of my blogging, I certainly will not stop with my board gaming. Board gaming has allowed, and will continue to allow me to take a step outside of the 'real world' and engage in activity where I can relax and enjoy. I hope you have all enjoyed reading about my board gaming adventures, and I really encourage you to take some time out and try if for yourself....it's really quite fun!!

The references used in my blog helped to provide evidence as to what I took out of my board gaming experience.

Caillois, R. & Barash, M. (2001). Man play and games. USA: First Illinois Paperback Inc.
Creek, J & Lawson-Porter. (Eds). (2007) Contempory issues on occupational therapy. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Hasselkus, B. R. (2002). The meaning of everyday occupation. USA.
Lervick, L. (2006). Life is a board game. Canada. Trafford Publishing.
Lugtan, S. A. (2008). Competitiveness. Retrieved on the 26th October 2011 from http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/competitiveness/
Twain, M. (1876). The adventures of tom sawyer. USA: Emptitude Books.

These are the people that I commented on:

Gracie Prisk
Georgina Hewson
Heather Robertson
Heath McDonough


Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Story Five

It really was the last thing I felt like doing after a hard day at the library. We had organised the evening for about a month now so it would be wrong of me to bail....even though I really felt like it! Board gaming night, usually it would be an occasion that I would jump at and get right into...but not this time. This time it felt like it was going to be a drag.

Boardgaming and pizza night was something that we didn't usually do, but when we did it was always good fun. My sister and I arrived, and no time was wasted as we went straight into the game of cranium. There was 5 of us there so we decided to go for girls v boys. Despite my earlier negative attitude towards the evening, I was actually getting quite excited about playing and had with me my competitive spirit. I rolled first and we ended up only moving one space. There we had to answer a data head question which none of us knew. This was not a good start at. We stayed in that spot for the next 3 rounds as we just couldn't answer any of the questions. The boys were well in the lead and we were falling so far behind it would almost be impossible to catch up. However, boys being boys and getting quite big headed, they ended up staying in the same spot for 4 rounds as they were not very talented when it came to drawing. This gave us a chance to race ahead...and that we did. Not only did we just passed them..we were well and truly in front.

This is why I love boardgaming, the sense of victory is just riveting!

The Need for Board Gaming

I think it would be important for to first discuss the need for meaningful occupation, as this essentially could be what board gaming is to some people. Hasselkuss (2002) defines this as "Meaningful and everyday occupation are dimensions of living that are of the utmost importance to quality of life for each of us" Our occupations are what defines us and shapes us to the people that we become.

Now I'm not saying that board gaming is going to have that much of an impact and go as far as to say that it 'defines' and 'shapes' us. However it can provide people with an oppurtunity to engage in an activity and social interact with other players. However in my opinion I find that most important need for board gaming is that it takes us away from our usual occupations. It gives a some time out and provides us with the oppurtunity to engage in something thats different from work or study. Mark Twain (The adventures of Tom Sawyer, p.16, 1876) once wrote, “Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do. Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.” I see board gaming as a treat or a reward after a hard days work.

Twain, M. (1876). The adventures of tom sawyer. USA: Emptitude Books.

Hasselkus, B. R. (2002) The meaning of everyday occuation. USA.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Story Four

It was about 7am and I heard mum's footsteps coming down the stairs, that was my cue to get up. I walked out of my room, caught mum's attention and we both new it was time for a round of the bean game. It was my turn to prepare the hot drinks while mum set up the game. Half the time the drinks were left unfinished and cold, but it almost became tradition to have them there while we were playing. As mum was dealing up the cards I was trying to think up a game plan. She had already bet me the past 3 times, and I wasn't going to let that happen again!

I looked at my cards, and was quietly stoked with what I had, although I did not give this away. I wanted try and maintain my 'normal face' and trick her into thinking that it would yet be another victory for her. As she was the dealer, she had the privilege of starting. Watching her place down her first cards got me all excited, my hand had way higher cards then hers! However, I thought this too soon, as to my surprise she wipped out not 1 but 2 cocoa beans!! That's an instant 2 coins! Watching the smirk on my mum's face made me a little bit mad and quite competitve. There was no way I could let her be the reigning champion four times in a row. I had to do something, and fast!

Now I usually don't like to cheat, and I'm all in for fair play. But this time, I had to take matters into my own hands or I wouldn't stand a chance. Without her noticing, I rearranged my cards in my hands, making my next move a very good one. Not only did I do this once, but the four times! I figured what mum doesn't know can't hurt her, and I was too involved with winning to feel any sense of guilt. As the game came to an end I looked at both of our coin piles, it was going to be close, but I reckon I may have done it. As we were numbering off our coins and our piles were getting smaller, I could tell that the three time champ had been defeated. I knew I should've told her about my wee cheat.....maybe next time.

I think that it's fair to say that the essence of board gaming is play. Caillois and Barash (2001) define play as “Summing up the formal characteristics of play we might call it a free activity standing consciously outside ‘ordinary’ life as being ‘not serious,’ but at the same time absorbing the player intensely and utterly. It proceeds within its own proper boundaries of time and space according to fixed rules and in an orderly manner. It promotes the formation of social groupings which tend to surround themselves with secrecy and to stress their difference from the common world by disguise or other means”. Board gaming can act as an escape from the real world and becoming into another character that best suits who you would like to be at that time.

Board gaming itself can create many different types of atmosphere depending on the game being played. Let's take cluedo for example. It's a game full of mystery and secrets, therefore the ambience of this game is most likely to be competitive and unpredictable. Within in this game discussion is usually based purely on what the murder cards might be rather then engaging in every day conversation. I think that's why I like cluedo so much, it creates an environment where I can take myself out of the pressures that the 'real' world has to offer. I tend to aggree with the definition made by Caillois and Barash (2001) where they state, "...a free activity standing outside 'ordinary' life..."

Caillois, R. & Barash, M. (2001). Man play and games. USA: First Illinois Paperback Inc.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Story Three

It had been a long tiresome day. I had been locked in my room all day trying to nail down an essay, and mum had been working alongside the builder who was putting in our new kitchen. To be honest we really hadn’t seen much of each other for the whole day! So, almost as if it was done telepathically, mum and I sat down to play yet another round of the bean game.
I wasn’t feeling all that competitive this time; this was more of a wind down time to relax and just enjoy each other’s company. With this said it’s not like I gave the game away or anything, I just wasn’t my usual feisty self. I dealt up the cards which meant that I could go first. My deck wasn’t too bad, I could defiantly see some potential but I’d have to work hard on it. However I’m not really sure I wanted to, I kind of just wanted to see where the game would take me. Besides it was about time for a new strategy as it was obvious that my previous ones were definitly not working!
Mum seemed to be extra generous in her trade of bean cards. Maybe it was because she was too exhausted to think, or perhaps, like me, she just wanted to enjoy the game itself. Before I knew I was piling on the coins...this was great! I should defiantly try this out more often! The game was drawing to a close. I could tell that I was winning, but for some reason this time I didn’t even feel like rubbing it in mum’s face. Who was I turning into?!

Affordances (cont)
So I have already briefly described in my previous posts what affordances are in regards to communications, now we are going to look into aesthetics and spirituality in boardgaming. You may be thinking how on earth do those two things connect with boardgaming...well let me TRY and show you.....

Aesthetics is the potential implicit in the activity for the person to express a sense of beauty. It takes into account the way people can be creative, development of their own style, the complexity and simplicity and the different feelings they may have towards something. There are many more that I can list, however let’s just stick with these and discuss them a bit more in-depth.  In regards to board gaming all the elements just listed has to do with the way a person portrays them self throughout the game. Different events in the game will trigger different feelings of either frustration or satisfaction towards a person or what happened. The way a person might respond can be revealed in many varieties as everyone has their own style of playing and own strategy for how they think might help them win.

When looking at the Spirituality of board gaming we are looking at the sense of meaning it brings and perhaps how it plays in being a part of something bigger. So why do we play board games? As I was struggling to get my head around this, I did a bit of research and this is what I found: 
·         Board games help develop reasoning, logic and problem solving skills in a way that almost anyone can get involved with due to the vast variety of games there are.
·         Board games can be therapeutic especially to elderly. It can provide them with meaningful occupation and a sense of having a purpose. This is also an example of how board gaming plays a part in something bigger. Purposeful and meaningful occupations are very important for a person to have throughout their whole life.  
·         As previously stated in aesthetics, board games allow people to be creative, to become anyone they choose to be.
·         I found a quote from the book, ‘Life is a Board Game’ by Libby Lervick where she describes the joys of board gaming. “That moment of belly-laughter is another reminder for you. You laugh from the depths of your being so seldom you are embarrassed at your outburst. Lighten up Libby – Joy is a wonderful experience!” This shows how people play games purely to get that sense of delight that it brings.

Lervick, L. (2006). Life is a board game. Canada: Trafford Publishing.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Story Two

It was arranged that a group of girls would come over for a games night at our house. We had decided to play a round of cluedo, and considering we are all fairly competitive we placed a bet on it. The winner of the game was allowed to choose two people to cook dinner for us. Now it’s not that I don’t enjoy cooking, but the thought of cooking for 5 girls pained me; especially when I thought of all the juicy gossip that I’d be missing out on. There was just no way round it, I had to win!
As always I chose Miss Scarlet to be my player, pretty much just because she’s always the first to move. Once the murder cards were placed in the envelope and the remaining cards were dealt, I started to think up my game plan. The past few times I played I just stayed in one room for a long time and tried to eliminate the murder weapons and murderers. However this time I had to be different, I couldn’t let the others catch on. Looking at my cards it became apparent that I had to retrieve a lot of information. But the question was who to ask?
Throughout the game I tried to maintain a good game face, but inside I was struggling. I’m pretty sure the player to my left had only a few more things to find before she made her final guess. I was really getting nowhere.  I played it pretty cool, making it look like I had everything under control, I’m sure it wouldn’t be long until somebody was going to make a guess, I just had to get in there first. The extremely frustrating thing was, Miss Scarlett was one of the prime suspects. This meant that I really struggled to get anywhere as the different players kept bringing me back to same room over and over again...how annoying!!
After a few more rounds, that certain player to my left was going to make the call when it came to her turn. This gave me no option as the player before her; I had to make the guess first! I had no idea what I was thinking; I really wasn’t even close to having all 3 murder cards. I was pretty sure it was Miss Scarlett with the revolver but I wasn’t sure on what the room was. I had study, ballroom and hall. Before I knew it, the four regrettable words slipped out of my mouth, “I’m taking a guess”.  I decided on choose the ballroom, just because it seemed the most appealing.
As I revealed the murder cards to myself my heart sank. It was the study, not the ballroom! Oh no! Not only did I lose the game for myself, but it meant that I was definitly going to be doing the dishes. Why did I have to be so competitive! Nonetheless I walked to the kitchen and started to prepare the meal while trying to hear what juicy conversation was happening in the background.

Affordances of Boardgaming
So when searching at a range of dictionaries to sum up the defianation of affordances, the best one I came across believe it or not was....WIKIPEDIA! Wikipedia (2011) defines affordances as, "a quality object, or an environment, which allows an individual to perform an action". Although there was a variety of different definations describing affordances, I felt that this one best suited what I wanted to discuss which was the communication within my activity.

I think one of the best aspects of boardgaming is that everyone playing is on the same level. There is no teacher, student, authoritive member but participants playing on a level ground. In fact, when boardgaming you can portray anyone you want to be. It allows you release your competitive nature, provide you with oppurtunities to show off you strategic abilities and become mysterious in your game play.

There is a particular way we communicate when we are engaging in a boardgame, let's take cluedo for example. Communication in this game is not only about what is being verbally said, but also what is being said visually through facial expressions. Once your cards have been dealt it is important that they remain mysterious to other team members, therefore the way you communicate to your opponents becomes very important!

Just previously I wrote how the relationship of boardgaming is one where everyone is levelled. However, is this the case throughout the whole game? I think not! There is always going to be a winner or loser(s). Therefore we can see that this activity leads towards one member asserting power over the other members. This prize of power is one of the main reasons people engage in boardgaming. Winning is a great reward!

So, looking back at the excellent defination that I found..."a quality object, or an environment, which allows an individual to perform an action"...we can now see that boardgaming allows individuals to communicate through expression, competitiveness, use of language and oh so many more ways!

Just before I finish I would like to leave you with a poem that sums up how I communicate when board gaming:

the bane of our own existence
When we let it go,
and we really know who we are,
and we continue with persistence,
we live at last, with our own essence

the veil to our own existence
When we let it go,
and we really find who we are,
and we continue with persistence
we live at last, in our own presence.
Wikipedia, (2011). Affordance. Retrieved on the 22nd October 2011 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affordance

Lugtan, S.A. (2008). Competitiveness. Retrieved on the 26th October 2011 from http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/competitiveness/

Monday, 12 September 2011

Story One

We didn’t have much time, but my flat mate and I decided to have a quick round of cluedo as a wee study break. And quick it certainly was! I usually enjoyed playing cluedo with her, but this time was different. She seemed, how can I put it? quite mean! I mean I know we are both rather competitive, but always in a joke like way, nothing personal whatsoever. But this time, it felt personal.
Like always I got to be the fabulous Miss Scarlett who I have grown quite attached in to having. My flattie always went for Professor Plum, not sure why...maybe it was the rich colour purple which he got to represent.  The murder cards were in the envelope, the remainder of the cards were dealt, and it was my turn to start.
A fabulous one was my first roll. You’ve got to be kidding I thought! However, being a good player I didn’t let my disappointment go to heart and I carried on playing. After watching my opposition roll a 6 and being only a few spaces away from entering a room, I knew I had to roll big numbers. A one, another one!! Ok I thought, as ridiculous as this may seem I’m not going to let it ruin everything in this game.
My flatmate rolled big and entered the room, typical. She asks me for Mrs Peacock, with the revolver in the study. What! I look at my cards...how can this be? I don’t have any! I’m hoping that she’s being super mysterious and asking what she already has, and not that she’s found the murder cards already! Fortunately for me, the game continued...and so went my next roll.
A two, that’s just perfect. At least it wasn’t as bad as a one, but I am still 4 spaces away from being able to ask a question. At the rate I’m going, by the time I manage to enter the room the game will be over! And you know what, I was right. My flatmate seemed to be asking the perfect questions, and I seemed to be rolling the most imperfect numbers. The game could not have possibly gone any worse for me. Never again I thought to myself, never again.

The Ergonomics of Boardgaming!
When we are looking at ergonomics, we must consider the environment, activity, and how it fits that person. Our role as an Occupational Therapist is to "constantly make slight invisible adjustments to an activity to adapt to the needs of those taking part and ensure that it continues to work for its intended purpose" (Caulton & Dickson, 2007).

Lets first look at the at the person element in regards to boardgaming. Some of the main things that a person needs for boardgaming is time, a reason for doing the activity and knowledge on how to play the game. As boardgaming requires more then one player to be successful, I had to always rope in another person who would want to play. As this was often my flatmate who is generally quite busy (as I), we decided to do it as "study break". This gave us a reason to play the game, which provided us with time to play, as well have enough people to play the game.

In regards to the environment, there is not a lot to consider in order to make a boardgame wun successfully. We often played in the sun room of the house which provided comfort and had limited distractions. When we boardgame we are so engaged in this activity, that a room full of distractions isn't necessarily an issue. Therefore boardgames can almost be played anywhere!! ....within in reason of course!

When looking at the activity we are reminded again that more then one person needs to participate in  order for the game to be successful. Having more people then just my flatmate also provides variety and new challenges to playing games. To overcome this we held a couple boardgaming nights where we could let lose and get competitive!

Ergonomics looks at the whole activity and how fits with the person, and how the person fits with the acitivity. In the sense ergonomics is about how the acitivity is shaped by the person carrying it out and the environment that they are in.

Creek, J & Lawson-Porter. (Eds). (2007) Contempory issues in occupational therapy. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Ltd

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Reflective Writing Exercise

The activity that I have decided to carry out for this semester is boardgaming. I chose this as it is a interactive and fun way to socialize as well as something that I enjoy doing. There are a few practical considerations in ensuring that I complete 2 hours of boardgaming a week. The first of these is time management. As there are many board games out there, there can be a wide range as to how long they run for. However generally 30-60min will need to be set a side. This maybe difficult to find several of these spare time slots a week-especially when things get busier in regard to assignments. Ways I can overcome this is using my study breaks to play a board game. Not only will this get my mind a way from assignments for a period of time, but also a good way of interacting with other people. Another thing I will need to consider is that boardgames are generally 2+ players, therefore I will always need to have someone else to play with. Having a boardgames night, or playing with my flatmate will be a way that I can overcome this. In order to get my minimum of 2 hours of boardgaming a week, I will roughly need to play 2-4 times.

What Boardgaming Means to Me and My Practice
In my fieldwork experiences I have used boardgaming a numerous about of times, particulary in paediatric mental health. As children's therapy is through play, boardgames were a very helpful way to get the clients to problem solve, understand verbal and written instruction as well as improve planning and decision making etc. Children often enjoyed the challenge and competivness that boardgames offered, as well as being able to engage and interact with someone in an informal way. Working in adult mental health, one way boardgaming was used as means of meaningful occupation. It was a time for the clients to take a break and engage in an activity that they enjoyed and were good at. I found it important for the clients to have boardgaming scheduled into their routine, as it gave them something to look forward to. Boardgaming can be used in many other ways, but the two examples given are areas in which I have experienced.