When I found my board on a boot fair, I immediately fell in love with its beautiful carving and the lovely seeds. It is the Kalah version, one of the most popular Mancala games for kids: two rows of 6 small pits. It will motivate your school-aged kids to count and think strategically, encourage them to conduct thought experiments, counting tokens and comparing tactics in their heads, before they move a game piece. Grown ups will love it for its high degree of tactical play but watch out it is incredibly addicting for those who need to feel a sense of accomplishment! Mancala offers a nice parallel to real life, forecasting moves and considering consequences can have a real impact on your everyday decisions.
Christmas is ever so close now and most people are getting in a Christmassy mood. Where in Europe it used to be all about the tree, decorations and presents, it now has become all about Santa Claus too. So what if you could tell the kids, you could track his journey from the North Pole to America…
My next attic find is in good condition and has a wonderful vintage look to it. Wooden chess pieces, for “the game of kings”, elegant, beautiful and ornate, are nowadays often used to add luxury to the home décor, whether it is in the game room, study, or even in modern offices. People like to add an artistic touch with these chess shapes. In a natural finish, each of these unique wooden pieces, hand turned by a talented craftsman, can make a statement on their own.
No excuses, if you’ve broken or lost some of your pieces anymore, get back playing the game of planning and foresight, the game that originated around the 6th century AD and is historically associated with the powerful and awesome, Genghis Khan, Napoleon and so many others.
Improve your social skills, memory, spatial skills, numerical abilities, verbal aptitude, creative thinking, problem- solving, and reasoning skills. Get ready to raise your IQ, prevent Alzheimer’s, exercise both sides of your brain, increase your creativity, improve concentration and reading skills.
And know that the brain building benefits will stick and support you, long after the chessboard has been put away.
But what if you don’t master the game? I thought why not dare to add some fun to the soon to build festive decor this year with these fabulous chess pieces and use them as decorations on the Christmas tree or as very special gift tags. I’ve even seen earrings, necklaces made out of the pieces!
Think carefully though: “Who’s who” at a party or in real life? Let’s have a look:
The pawn is the hard worker, often the first one into battle and he can be promoted to queen!
The rook, swift and free, representing the castle’s walls, will protect the king, queen, bishop, and knights. Two rooks operating together can be more potent than a single queen!
The knight is unique in the way it moves and thus can make a move that even the queen cannot make. Remember, only the highly educated and wealthy men could become a knight.
The bishop, being the third-most important piece (next to the king and queen) in the game, is swift and free, with diagonal, mirroring snake-like moves. Predictable and limited in its role but a decisive tool of play from middle-game onwards.
The king is the piece the whole game revolves around, the most precious one. But it is the least powerful piece in terms of ability to move about the board. Without the king, the game is lost. Know that the king can work to secure a win, though not on its own!
The queen is of course the most powerful piece on the board. She can move any way she wants! And we all know that behind every successful man (King) there is a woman (Queen). But the poor queen has to do most of the work while the king just stays idle most of the time…
Whatever purpose one could give these chess items, some of their names always provoke inspiration don’t they: living like a king; acting like a queen/beauty queen/drama queen; get on your horse/eat like a horse/ a dark horse/ a Trojan horse… I’m sure you’ll find a good use for them.
And last but not least, the first-move advantage in chess is always for the white/ light colour, that on its own is the best lesson of all to me: go for the light not the dark in life!
Were in the Woohoocuties’ shop but sold the next day!
Going through the attic’s stuff, I came across some old wooden leftover chess and draught pieces. Board games are fun environmental objects, boxes of laughter as well as learning packed boxes. Board games were the source of entertainment for people across the world, in the beginning only played with stones or fruit pits for pieces. Pre-historic they are, we even had them before our written language. They were popular amongst pharaohs and ancient cultures. It made me wonder, how they’ve changed!
A year ahead we started planning, I wanted of course, to imbue vintage charm in this party project. There is something intrinsically popular, seductively attractive, about the old 1900s. So we started preparing the retro invitations, hand making these was so much fun! (more…)
Cribbage, immortalized in Charles Dickens’s the Old Curiosity Shop (story of an eccentric shop worker named Richard Swiveller, who teaches a young slave girl he dubs “The Marchioness”, how to play the game), is a card game that goes as far back as the seventeenth century.