Games help you to exercise your mind, improve your thinking skills and problem solving intelligence and can be lots of fun!
Playing strategic board games and challenging puzzles, stimulates our minds and the cognitive functions so that we are building and enhancing the neural networks in our brains .. we're developing our intelligences!
Playing games with and against a living opponent also develops our social and ethical intelligences because we cannot simply press the "esc" key and reboot! We have to cope with winning and losing in real time and be sensitive and aware of our opponents feelings. There's a right way to win!
In most organisations, be they business, educational or charitable, we barely tap into the enormous brain power and creative intelligence represented by the total employees, co-workers, colleagues or friends. It's too difficult organisationally! It's someone elses job!
RUSH HOUR, HOPPERS and SUBTRAX (made by Think Fun, Binary Arts company) are great games to play individually and improve your problem solving skills. You can either adopt the "trial and error method" moving pieces until something gives ... which will eventually let you solve the puzzle ... but probably takes longer and is less efficient than the "Detective Method" where you try to work out step-by-step which pieces to move in turn, projecting forward one move after the other ... that will lead to the solution. Then you have to remember the sequenceand execute the moves in reverse order. These games offer 40 cards and start at Beginner level of complexity and goes through to Expert level, at card 40 which is truly hard!
Great puzzles for both adults and children of really all ages (obviously need to watch the youngest 4-5years and avoid them swallowing the frogs, cars or pegs).
ABALONE, QUORIDOR, PYLOS and QUARTO (from Abalone and from Gigamic in France) are games where you have an opponent and so you have to notice the moves made by the opponent, assess whether this threatens your pieces before you plan and replan your moves and then finally execute your move on your turn. Then the process repeats. You try to work out a strategy for how to win and constantly react to the changing situation created by your opponents moves.
This way of thinking is called the "stoplight method" and can be used and helps all of us in our everyday life. Being sensitive to and aware of the environment, whether walking in to a meeting, interview or classroom and evaluating any threats and issues, then deciding what you want to do and then simply doing it!
These games are also great for 6+ (again need to be careful so small pieces are not swallowed).
Winning and Losing
As a young child, our first experience of "losing" is when we want something and don't get our own way. We react in different ways and extremes. Life teaches us that we cannot win every time but we want to encourage and develop a hardened-attitude, so that when things don't work out, we keep going, keep trying, and don't give up too soon.
This is also the essential robustness of the scientific method. Scientists (and some engineers) don't always expect the experiment to work! so they use the information from a so-called negative result to re-plan the next experiment. They learn as much from a "negative result" as from a "positive outcome"!
Playing games is a great way to get used to winning and losing when the consequences are not as serious as in later life!
Encouraging everyone to shake hands, say good luck at the beginning and shake hands and saying well done and thank you for the game at the end are just the simplest ways to develop ethical behaviour and good social skills for children and adults!
MindLab is an organisation that specialises in instructing, coaching and guiding the development of mind and thinking skills through playing selected board games and puzzles. It has established programmes worldwide in many countries.
Yale University has completed more than 1 year of tracking research which proves, in their study of 1000 children, that there was a lasting, significant improvement and doubling of problem solving scores in a standardised test as well as increases in verbal reasoning scores.
This study confirms the value of instructing children versus being left with the "discovery methodolgy" as a more effective way to improve outcomes. You can find out more at www. mindlabeurope. com
This Review was prepared by Dan Jacoby of Productworks, inspiring businesses to deliver innovation on 30th March 2006.
Find out more at www. productworks. co. uk or write to ask"at" then productworks. co. uk
These games are available at the eBay Shop called GAMESWORKS