Games for Thinkers

Pastimes to Challenge and Entertain

Thinkers relish the challenge and stimulation of brilliant games. They enjoy games for the pure thrill of exercising their minds and judgments in pursuit of victory. You can take pleasure in any number of great games. Here is a selection of recommended pastimes. Add them to your Christmas list:

1. Chess

Chess is the king of games. It represents a pure cerebral struggle between two minds. It teaches strategy, tactics, positional play and the benefits of absolute concentration. Every home should have a set. Every child should learn to play. Everyone can enjoy the challenge.

2. Scrabble

Scrabble is the classic word game. You can play it with 3, 4 or 5 people but it is ideal for couples. Luck plays a small part. You have to make the most of whatever letter tiles are in your hand using the available resources on the board. Skilled players see remarkable possibilities and know a range of obscure and short words that they use adroitly.

3. Monopoly

This is the game that Fidel Castro banned when he came to power in Cuba because he saw it as a model for capitalism. There is a large element of luck but the skilled player will often triumph because he or she has focussed on the right resources and developed a set quickly. It teaches trading skills and probabilities.

4. Bridge

There are many great card games but surely the finest is bridge. The bidding and the play of the cards represent two different skill sets, with the play having amazing subtleties. Good players remember all the cards played and can quickly deduce the lie of the hidden cards. Most players learn whist first before graduating to bridge.

5. Cluedo (Clue in US)

This is a popular family game which is great fun. Can you put the clues together and figure out who is the murderer?

6. Backgammon

Backgammon is an excellent game for two players with its own mixture of luck, skill and gambling. You can choose risky or cagey strategies and double the value of game on occasions.

7. Poker

Some people wrongly think that poker is all about bluffing. It is a highly demanding intellectual exercise in which the skilful players read their opponents. You need nerves of steel and excellent understanding of the probabilities to succeed. This is a costly game to learn and it can be dangerous but surely it is one of life’s greatest pastimes.

8. Dingbats

Dingbats are rebuses or visual word puzzles where you have to figure out the common phrase or word represented by what you see. The advice is to say what you see – but can you look laterally enough to see the answer?

9. Articulate

This is an entertaining word game for friends and family to enjoy. You have to describe words quickly to your team members without any miming.

10. Trivial Pursuit

This the daddy of all quiz games. This will test your general knowledge and your ability to think in the same clever ways that the puzzle-setters use.

11. Pictionary

You have to draw the words in order to explain their meaning to your team mates. This will test your graphical thinking skills. It can be both frustrating and hilarious.

12. Charades

Charades is a well-established game in which you have to mime the meanings of names, phrases or titles. You have to think quickly and find clever ways to get the message across without speaking.

13. Lateral Thinking Puzzles

Lateral thinking puzzles are strange situations where one person knows the solution and others have to ask him or her questions (for example, 20 Questions). The quizmaster can only answer, ‘yes, no or irrelevant’. You have to come at the problem from different directions, check your assumptions and put the clues together. Good fun with friends and family.

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