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.