Tag Archives: games

Ten New Games for Long Car Rides

October is the month for retreating in New England. This week I’m in between two retreats to New Hampshire, my 11th and 12th fall retreats there in my six years of grad school — I’ve gone to all six math department retreats, four with my church, and two with the Graduate Christian Fellowship.

Retreats in grad school have provided what frisbee tournaments in college and sightseeing across the Western US in my childhood did: Long car or bus rides. When I’m not sleeping, getting to know or catching up with people, or just pontificating on society in general together, it’s often the right context to play some kind of game with the other passengers.

But given the moving environment and constrained seating positions, such rides don’t easily lend themselves to nearly any of the board games in our collection. Card games like Hanabi or A Game for Good Christians probably come closest but often those need some kind of surface to play onto. Growing up, my siblings and I would keep a wooden tray under one of the seats in our mini-van, which we would then place on the armrests of the two captain’s chairs for such a surface on which to play card games, but that was always a bit imperfect as cards would slide around whenever we went around a windy mountain road.

In this post, though, I want to focus on games that don’t require any advance preparation or equipment. Many of these games typically spread by word-of-mouth, but I’m hoping that by articulating them in a blog post, we can speed up that process. They aren’t all “new” per se, but unless you spend a lot of time around me, I can almost guarantee you haven’t heard of half of these. Without further ado, here are the categories:

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Farewell to Summer

As of about an hour ago, fall has officially begun. The equinox feels as good a time as any to reflect on my summer, as well as provide a cognitive break point and encourage myself to treat fall differently.

Normally, I reflect like this approximately once a month, reviewing my previous month, getting a handle on the big picture of my upcoming schedule, and setting some personal goals. I don’t write them for an audience, but my plans aren’t really secret — I often tell Grace or other friends like my community group what I’m thinking. In a certain sense, though, God is my audience, and I’ve certainly felt waves of conviction and resolve while reflecting, similar to those I’ve felt in church or reading through the Bible.

Naturally, though, my choice to make this reflection public before writing it will likely inflect my writing in various ways, some of which I might not even be aware of. I already feel a need to edit my language to be more precise; when writing for myself, I feel a bit more free to follow ideas as they come rather than retrace my steps to write more precisely. Anyways, here goes.

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Welcome to the Golden Age of Board Games

Around three years ago, I wrote one of my most read answers on Quora to the question, “What are some of the best strategy games out there?” A few weeks later, Helena Zhang, a friend of mine from Caltech and fellow officer in our MIT grad dorm, invited me to join a board game group she had started with some labmates. Our group came to be known as “Fun and Games” and started spreading through our social circles, and in particular to the Singaporean community at MIT.

That fall, a new Singaporean grad student started coming to our group regularly. I had met her previously through the Graduate Christian Fellowship and we played on the same team together (playing 7 Wonders) her first visit to our group. Little did I know at the time, those would be the first couple steps on a journey that would lead to us getting married last June, with the Fun and Games group helping to make most of our awesome board game-themed centerpieces:

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