Step away from your laptop, turn off the TV, put down your phone and…
Pick up a board game.
Yes, it’s time to take a break. (That is, if you’re lucky enough to be able to do so.) Life looks overwhelming at the moment, but we can still try to focus on other things even for just a little bit.
To help us narrow down our board game choices, I roped in avid board game player Joseph Mok. (Joseph is also a financial planner and registered nurse in Singapore – more on that later.)
“I’ve been playing board games since I was little,” he recalls.
“My earliest memories of doing so was during family trips overseas. After a day out exploring, we’d settle in after washing up and pull out the Monopoly, Cluedo or Risk.
“Whilst some games are considered jokingly as ‘friendship destroyers’, I like to think in general that they do the exact opposite.”
Raise your hand if you also played board games with your friends and family when you were a kid.
“When I was in kindergarten, I was playing Snakes and Ladders with a classmate during our break – and I distinctly remember crying after I lost that game! Embarrassing, I know,” Joseph admits.
“From this, I felt that board games helped me develop a healthy sense of competitiveness. And as the type of board games changed as I grew older, they act as icebreakers. They help keep me sharp in terms of planning ahead, using the same thought processes in my life and work.
“Through board games I’ve met a whole lot of interesting people, many of whom form part of my current circle of friends.”
Okay, so where do we start? Joseph’s 5 current favourites might give you a few good ideas. (Without giving too much away so as to surprise you, and you can figure things out for yourself and have fun.)
#1 Gloomhaven, and
#2 Arkham Horror
“These games are intensely thematic in terms of the storyline, characters, design of the game components, and rules.”
#3 King of Tokyo
“This allows you to be that crazy kid wreaking havoc in the sandpit again by playing a romping monster a la Godzilla.”
#4 A la carte
“This is a dexterity-based cooking game that gets proportionately hysterical the more drinks I and my friends have.”
#5 Ticket to Ride
“It is an exceptionally relaxing game due to its simplicity, and is best played with good friends over a good cup of coffee (I’m looking at you, Trustin) or tea on a rainy day.”
What’s your criteria?
Do you want “something as simple as making sushi sets” or something “as complex as leading an entire nation”?
(Those actually sound pretty cool already.)
“The beauty of board games is that there’s something for everyone,” Joseph points out.
And they teach you a lot about what you’re capable of. “The greatest thing I’ve learnt from playing board games is learning how to think – especially so for the more complex games, where there are plenty of parameters to consider, which will go into you how you decide on what to do for the next few rounds,” he explains.
“Moving on from my kindergarten experience, I’ve also learnt how to be a graceful loser (and if I get lucky, winner). Financially and in general, it’s also taught me to always have a buffer just in case things go sideways, which I believe is a lesson being taught in view of our current situation.”
On top of your health and that of your loved ones’, are you also agonising over the state of your finances right now? The current crisis can get anyone on edge.
We mentioned early on that Joseph is a financial planner, so we can’t possibly let him go without getting his money tips. He applies these to his own personal life, and they’ve worked (and continue to work) for him.
He believes they would also benefit us and be useful too. Some of them might not fit you, so take them out or tweak them according to your own situation and needs.
#1 Keep track of your money
“These days, there are more money-tracking apps than you can shake a stick at, so there really is no excuse (not to keep track of your money). It’s one of the few actions that have an exponential positive effect on your life, and chances are that if you keep track (of your money), you’ll live better instead of scrounging around for pennies at the end of the month.”
#2 Give every dollar a “job”
“This is very much related to #1. Idle money typically ends up being wasted money – so at the start of each month, you have to make sure that your hard-earned cash is doing the best that it can for you. Don’t let your money be the master of you!”
#3 Don’t get caught with your pants down
“Or as one of my favourite investment gurus puts it: ‘It’s only when the tide goes out do you find out those who have been swimming naked.’ What this means is that you always have to have to a provision for a rainy day. That provision can be in the form of emergency funds, or a plan put into place to make sure things are a little less stressful for you if and when something goes awry.”
“It’s always nice to sit back and dream about our ideal goals – fitness, money or otherwise. But unless we take that first step to put on our running shoes, or that first step in the way of putting money aside for a specific purpose, it’ll never come to fruition.”
A couple of board games to get excited about, plus food for thought on our finances. It gives us something more to think about. 😬