board games – an ode to non-digital fun

Summers are here and so are summer vacations (for the lucky ones at least). A time for a joyous eat, sleep, party, repeat for teens and young adults. However, it can get quite difficult for parents to keep their kids entertained without shoving them into cartoon binge marathons or gaming sprees on cellphones.

As an aunt, babysitter and designated substitute mommy of eight, I can relate to the struggle. You can’t send them out to play in the subcontinental heat, you don’t want them to keep their eyes glued to the screens, so what do you do? How do you minimize their screen time?

So I started thinking, what did we, the pre-technology apocalypse kids use to do? How did we use to have fun? And a reel of flashbacks started playing in my head. Board games, we used to spend hours playing board games.

Some of the fondest memories of my childhood are related to board games. Spending long summer afternoons huddled in a corner with my cousins, making sure that our voices don’t go above the whisper zone so as not to unleash the wrath of napping adults and snuggling in cozy blankets in winter evenings playing Scrabble with my mother.

No wonder board games take highly imaginative forms in movies (Jumanji, Stranger Things etc.). They provide a full indulgence experience, especially to a young mind. I remember feeling like a literary genius while hitting a triple word score, impersonating Sherlock Holmes while finding out that Professor Plum killed the victim with a candlestick in the library, taking over the world like Alexander the great in Risk, Bill Gates had nothing on us as we counted our big bucks after selling Mayfair Street in monopoly, and who can forget the satisfying smack of the striker against the Carom board as it shoved the blacks and whites into the holes. Good times.

Not only do board games make up for quality family time, they give you sweet memories to reminisce and help build intelligence and sportsmanship. They’re also an excellent way to teach your kids that it’s okay to lose and you can always try again. A lesson we don’t teach our kids very often today.

In the carousel above you can have a look at my stash of board games, some of these are older than I am, so you can probably spot some kiddy drawings and doodles here and there.

In an effort to bring the tradition back and turn our younger ones towards non-digital forms of entertainment, my family and I have gone through numerous game stores, toy shops in every nook and cranny of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. It’s a shame though that all we tend to find is a hundred thousand versions of the same two or three games. Mickey Mouse Monopoly, Frozen Ludo and similar commercialized forms of Scrabble. I would give anything to buy some new board games without feeling like I’ve stepped into Disneyland. So if anyone knows where I can buy a variety of original board games or order them online within Pakistan, please let me know.

Also, what are some of your favorite board games? Comment below, let’s get nostalgic.


  1. Excellent write up. Yes although I belong to a much older generation than the writer I can still remember those wonderful evenings and hot summer noons having fun with Scrabble and carom board with the writer and her elder siblings and their mother and father who relate to me as the elder sister and brother in law. I just can’t forget that nostalgic feeling of all of us being close, sharing our joys and intellect together with of course no digital media. Those things were a source of bringing us close rather than making us loners as the gadgets of today’s digital media do.
    Thumbs up for the writer for sharing her thoughts in a very affective ,candid and mature way and bringing a food for thought for parents of today digital age that their kids can still enjoy the benefits of these games which can reduce their on screen time and also can bring them closer to one an other as well as closer to their parents.

    • The Hamster Ball

      Thanks a lot 🙂 Yes it’s very important to teach our kids to have fun without gadgets.

      • I think you’ve just captured the answer perfectly

  2. Absolutely awesome…. Rightly expressed and no doubt made me nostalgic… Well I still love to play cluedo and scrabble even though I have no summer vacations and a bit out of age

    • The Hamster Ball

      No one is out of age for board games 🙂

  3. i have a lot of memories with pictionary and playing cards. pictionary is great for building up vocabulary and it bonds generations.

    • The Hamster Ball

      I’ve heard about pictionary a lot but have never played it. Will certainly give it a try. ☺
      Thank you for reading ❤

  4. No apps or computer games can compare to the old days when us kids used to play board games with the family when we were bored or the weather was bad. Monopoly was always a favourite of mine although my brother used to always beat me lol. Connect Four, Scrabble and Guess Who? were also some of my favourites. Good times

    • The Hamster Ball

      Haha Monopoly usually ends up in a heated argument. Good pass time though 🙂 Thanks for reading.

  5. I bow down humbly in the presence of such grneatess.

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