Periodically, an author will ask me to read their books a post a review of it. This is a great honor and it usually means getting a book out of the deal… and I have a hard time saying “no” to a book.
Recently, Brad Berger’s team sent me a copy of his “Unplug and Play, 50 Games that Don’t Need Charging.”
It really is a simple book with a basic premise/promise… to offer up dozens of different games that people can play together without the need for electronic devices – and in almost every case, not even a board or dice… 90% of these games can be played with nothing more high-tech than a pencil and a piece of scratch paper!
They are grouped into 6 different categories. Inside of these categories, the games are pretty much different creative versions of a central game concept.
As a fan of families doing stuff together, and of the power of games to make us think, learn and most importantly, learn to think, I really approve of this book.
I think that is the right word, too – approve. The book isn’t going to win a Pulitzer, (though it is pretty clever in places) but that isn’t its purpose. You know the game sets that you can buy that have one board and you can play chess, checkers, Chinese checkers, backgammon, etc. all in one box? This book is like that, except with about 10x the game ideas and 1/10 the preparation needed even for those – and it takes up about 8x5x 0.25 inches.
Families need to be spending time together – reading, watching movies, sure… and playing games. It helps kid learn to deal with conflict, jealousy issues, how to deal in a healthy way with competition, strategic and tactical thinking, and more. I think this book would be a handy guide for anyone who wants to play games with friends and family but don’t want to shell out the $30 for a single-dimensional game from the toy store.
Ok, a final note on recommending this book. Our family has and plays games regularly – cards, dominoes, chess, and all kinds of other things. We even play some of the games talked about in “Unplug.” So, let me tell you what I intend to do with this copy now that I have read it and taken some ideas from it – it is going into my “Prep” materials.
Maybe this sounds odd, and, again, I am no prepper by any stretch of the word… but I do like being prepared – planning. One of the things I have wondered about is the issue of “boredom” in a future that might be a lot different from the present. Maybe we would work in the light and non-stop and sleep in the dark, but as a dad, I am guessing that even in a world like that, kids will get bored, and their brains would need stimulation. This book would be a great addition to any prepper’s supply bag – and it carries a lot of bang for its size and weight – dozens of low-tech games in a small book. Anyway, as I read it, it struck me as having additional value in that role that maybe even the author didn’t plan on.
I hope you enjoy “Unplug” and I especially hope that you will be playing games with you family. The family that plays together, stays together, after all… or is it “prays”? I recommend both.