As a family, we love board games.  My husband and I cherish evenings when the children have gone to bed, the chores are done, and we are not so tired we just flop in front of the TV.  On these rare occasions we will go to the games cupboard and generally select the same game as usual.  We have a number of variants of Ticket to Ride.  I’d recommend it.

Having got through the bedtime-slog, we aren’t often in the mood to learn a totally new game.  White can on an orange and green board. Collaboration: it's the name of the gameHowever, my present to Chris this year was a game called Pandemic.  It is a collaborative game – no-one wins unless you all win.  We played it with friends at New Year and worked together to get a result.  It was a far happier game for me than the last occasion.  We had played Scotland Yard, where all but one player collaborate to catch the criminal.  One player was incredible at working out where I could be on the map.  Even though it was “only a game”, I found it quite threatening!  I only evaded capture by the smallest margin.

Playing to win?

My children also love a good board game.  There are often tears, though, when things don’t go their Board game with cards and playing pieces. Collaboration: it's the name of the gameway.  In my bid to reduce screen time, we played Labyrinth after school yesterday.  The maze changes every go, and you may think you can find your next item quickly, only to have it moved across the board.  Part-way through the game I sensed the emotions were about to run high, and we switched to helping each other.  Phew!  Even though one child did finish first, we could not declare anyone a “winner” as we had all helped.


So what is is about winning that is so important?  I think we are programmed to want to win from an early age.  School Sports’ Day is one example of this.  At Nursery School, my children had to work as a team for their colour to win.  This didn’t last long as by Reception, children were handed out 1st, 2nd or 3rd slips after their races.  They may also do a team relay, but the main aim of the game is to get as many slips as possible.

And so it goes on.  If you don’t win in an interview, you won’t get the job.  In some professions people find that the only way to get recognition at work is by proving that they are better than their colleagues.  We can easily fall into this trap, particularly as many work-places are dominated by results.

One of the reasons I prefer netball to football is that the whole team have to work together.  None of Children with a rope competing in a tug of war. Collaboration: it's the name of the gameus can go everywhere on court, and we can’t be a star striker that can keep the ball to ourselves as much as we like.  My team is in slight danger of being promoted at the end of this season.  While this may be something I ought to wish for, I am apprehensive as would mean we would lose far more matches than we are at the moment.

Working as a team

I find working as a team is so much more fun than trying to do everything on my own.  One of my colleagues lives around 50 miles away, and we sometimes email each other a number of times in one session to resolve an issue.  It feels more like we are in the same building this way, and I think helps us both feel less isolated.  We achieve more in less time.

If we can change our mind-sets to enjoy sharing glory, rather than wanting to be the winner, it can help us to find happiness.

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  1. I think working together & collaborating is actually much more fulfilling! My 3 yr old is all about winning – it may be a little while before I can show her otherwise, but I certainly will be 🙂

  2. We only just started to play board games a few month ago, as the children are young, but keep playing certainly helps to obey basic rules and follow them.

  3. I think we’re all guilty of wanting to be better than our peers, but I never thought about how it starts at such a young age. You can’t escape it! Like you say with “winning the interview” to get the job. Things like social media and ‘the instasham’ make it all so much more competitive.

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