Life on the open road can be all fun and games

Games have always been an important part of many grey nomads’ Big Lap experience, but it seems that the pandemic has now taken things to a whole new level.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that an awful lot of frustrated travellers spent much of their off-the-road time during lockdown dusting off the cobwebs from childhood board games or finally getting around to reading the daunting-looking rulebooks of unopened presents from Christmas past.

Internationally, the board games market registered 20% growth last year as people looked to enjoy ‘digital detox’ as well as de-stressing … and simply having fun.

Five crowns is a good game for grey nomads

Mental health experts say that games are a great way to ‘escape’ as they encourage relaxation, promote mental balance, and distract from the worries of the day.

“Games encourage people to think critically, and that is really good for mental health,’’ said Roseanne Dobkin, professor of psychiatry at Rutgers University.

“Board games provide the opportunity to get mentally engaged, along with the social component of playing with others.’’

And the pleasure that games bring can be seen on any given evening at campsites across the country as grey nomads get out the playing cards, the dice, or the chess pieces and the fun begins.

“Covid has definitely seen more people turning to games and puzzles as a way of entertaining themselves whilst socially isolating,” Tanya Campbell, Purchasing Officer for Queensland-based games stores, Mind Games, told the Grey Nomads.

And it’s not just the old favourites that are keeping caravanners and motorhomers entertained.

“Each year sees hundreds of new games, so popularity is always ebbing and flowing,” said Ms. Campbell. “Currently our number one travel seniors’ games would easily be; Five Crowns, Phase 10, Quiddler, Bananagrams and Uno Flip.”

Ms Campbell said that, with the exception of Uno Flip which needs a crowd, all of these games play well for two or more.

“For the slightly more adventurous we have Carcassonne,” the spokesperson said. “It’s a seemingly simple tile laying game but with a wealth of strategy behind it … lay your tiles well to form fields, roads and even churches and victory will be yours!”

  • How often do you play games when you’re on a trip? What are your favourites? Email us here to comment.
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