This Christmas, my family and I embarked on the trip home from a vacation, including a layover of about an hour at Miami International Airport. Upon our arrival in Miami, my family and I walked to an information board only to find that because of poor weather in the Midwest, our flight was delayed nearly five hours. After discussing possible options, we realized the only reasonable solution would be to find a comfortable corner in the airport and wait the hours out. The deck of cards flew out of my dad’s backpack as soon as we sat down.
“Rummy?” I asked.
“To 500,” he said.
Rummy 500 is not a quick game. Players must create runs of the same suits or three of a kind by drawing cards from an ever-growing pile in the middle. Each hand ends with a player “going out,” or using all of his or her cards. Points are determined by the amount of cards each player lays down, and the first player to 500 points wins. By the time one of us had finally reached the glorious 500 points, nearly three hours had passed. I believe that board games and card games are second to none when it comes to group entertainment, especially compared to phone apps or Internet based games.
Some may argue that phone games offer the same kind of group entertainment, with multiplayer games and games in which players take turns, notifying the other player when the previous has played. However, this directly eliminates the element that makes board or card games so unique: the human interaction. Many of our everyday activities rely upon our ability to communicate effectively with other individuals.
Additionally, humans are very competitive, and what better way to feed this drive than to see the look on your family’s or friends’ faces when you win? Generally, board games also take longer to complete than a phone game. This forces players to continue to interact, even over the course of days, and sets aside large chunks of time for friends and families to collaborate.
Although phone games may also take days to complete, each turn takes only a few minutes, and excludes human interaction completely. Even efforts of apps to include this interaction with the addition of “messaging” or ways to communicate with your opposing player fall short, as it remains in the medium of technology and prevents physical interaction.
Board games and card games remain the ultimate entertainment method, satisfying our competitive and social nature as humans. Next time you’re looking for this fix, I suggest not the newest app or latest Internet craze, but the old board game in the basement, or that dusty deck of cards you haven’t touched in years.
By Justine Spore