Here we are at the start of Week 2’s challenge and I really hope you’re enjoying ‘Change Is Possible’ so far! I know I am. In the past week alone I’ve learnt about Patagonia, the French writer, Colette and ‘the brocken spectre’ phenomenon amongst many other titbits. Let’s keep the momentum going though dear reader and stay curious about the world for another 2 weeks. This means of course, that our Week 1 Challenge is going to be running simultaneously with this week’s.

Which brings me nicely onto Week 2 … GAMES. This should be a fun one as we get to indulge our innate sense of playfulness by learning and taking part in a new game every day. The idea behind this second mental challenge is that playing games helps us relax and de-stress, as well as challenging us mentally. Not only do they keep our noggins healthy and active, they are a sociable past-time and help us connect to others. In this sense they play a big part in helping counteract feelings of loneliness and isolation. And let’s face it, we’ve had it up to the top of the Eiffel Tower with social isolation!

Whether it be chess, Uno, Trivial Pursuit or Kahoot, go forth and PLAY!

I’ll see you back here in 21 days.

Gill x


I’m going to start this by letting you all into a wee secret about me … I don’t really like or enjoy playing games. Fact. With the exception of perhaps Trivial Pursuit or a pub quiz, they’re just not something that I like to spend my hard-won time investing in. I think it’s because I don’t find them generally, all that scintillating to play unless there are more than 2 players. Also, I don’t like to feel cajoled into playing them when I’d much prefer to read, write, listen to a podcast, watch a great documentary or bide my time going on an amazing walk. I want to suck all of the marrow from life people, not idle it away, playing foolish games!

Existentialist histrionics aside, this challenge was always going to be a tough one for me, ergo, the reason I added this one to the jar! I decided that I needed to nudge myself out of my comfort/ avoidance zone and embrace the discipline, patience and savoir-faire that surely comes with learning a repertoire of games. So, here’s the list of those I had a bash at over the 3 weeks.

The Games List

Day 1 – Kahoot – I play this with the pupils at school when testing them on their topic knowledge and they love it. I quite enjoyed the Geography round on capital cities, but when it came to the Golden Retriever round, whoever wrote it GOT IT SOOOO WRONG!! According to one quiz, Scottish Golden Retrievers don’t exist?! (Refer to my post of last year as to why this statement is wrang, wrang, WRANG!) Like Wikipedia, Kahoot does have its fair share of unreliable contributors and so, for that reason, I think I’ll just stick to it for educational purposes.

Day 2 – Solitaire/ Patience – Aah, ‘the ballet of the 52’ as it’s also poetically referred to. My late mum used to love playing this card game and now, I understand. I mean, just how addictive is it?! The thrill of piling number on top of consecutive number, the initial gains, followed by the inevitable impasse which serves to remind you that ultimately, this game is all about the luck of the draw. A bit life really, eh? I’ve still only won once since learning how to play it. I’m hooked.

Day 3 – Hide-and-Seek – Yes, my partner and I played Hide and Seek … with our dog, Nonny for her entertainment … mostly. Don’t judge me.

Day 4 – Chess – I didn’t come to chess until my 20’s and even then, didn’t play often enough to truly remember all the moves. I do play occasionally these days and although I’m not a total wash-out, neither am I good or committed enough to become Beth Harmon (The Queen’s Gambit). And I’m OK with that.

Day 5 – ‘Who Are You?’ quiz on BBC6 Music – I’m an avid 6Music listener as I love alternative music or all genres, ergo, the reason I enjoy any music trivia quiz. Yes, I enjoyed playing this one πŸ™‚

Day 6 – Hide the treat (in cups) – Another game I played with Nonny. It’s quite fun to play, but only because I adore her floofy backside sooooo much! Did I ever mention how much I love my dog?

Day 7 – Uno – A game beloved of any pupil I’ve ever taught. The fact that I’m off on holiday at the moment and have acquired seasonal, educational amnesia, deadened its appeal.

Day 8 – The Sock Game – My partner introduced me to this one. Sort of good fun. Held my attention for at least 15 minutes before I decided that it would be far better played as a drinking game. For the completely banjaxxed.

Day 9 – Andy’s Pub Quiz – The boy came up with the goods for my auld Da’s birthday by writing him a pub quiz. It was me vs Dad and he won. Well, it was his birthday after all! Love pub quizzes, especially when played in a pub, so this was a definite highlight of the challenge.

Day 10 – Cards Against Humanity – If you’ve never played this, it’s a party game for horrible people. Its punchlines are completely inappropriate and yes – at times – hilarious, but I’m just a bit over cruel, below-the-belt humour at the moment. It wearies me and unless you’re a comedy writing genius like Armando Iannucci or Charlie Brooker, jist naw.

The Murder Mystery clues laid bare

Day 11 – The Writer’s Toolbox – Now, here was a game that I could get invested in. It’s a wee box of writing exercises with sticks and wheels with starter sentences, non sequiturs and ending sentences which help you to explore ideas and get out of writer’s block. Very Americanised lingo at times, but you can make it your own. It’s actually quite brilliant!

Day 12 – Blackjack / ’21’ Card Game – A speedy card game. Loses its appeal quickly. Not for me.

Day 13 – Encyclopaedia Britannica Quizzes – These are good and a great resource for writing your next pub quiz/ Zoom quiz. A lot of it is high-brow and University Challenge level stuff, but a lot of it is also not. I think there’s something for everyone with this site. Thumbs up from me!

Day 14 – Dobble – Reminded me too much of school again. NEXT!

Day 15 – Name That Tune – A British TV game show that I recall as a lass. It does what it says on the tin. My dad and I played this together using Spotify and had a ball jogging each others memories about songs we thought we’d forgotten in the mists of time! Music-related and therefore, good!

Day 16 – Trivial Pursuit – As far as I’m concerned, the only board game worth bothering with. It’s enriching, food for the mind. You’ll finish a few games of this having topped up your general knowledge and feeling better informed about the world. My fave.

Day 17 – Murder Mystery Game – Now, I do love the suspense of a murder mystery! The one Andy and I played included resources you could view, read and interact with. It was an oldie but a goodie, but there’s so many more out there. Another hit πŸ™‚

Day 18 – Encylopaedia Britannica Crosswords – I was a bit sceptical about doing online crosswords as there’s nothing more satisfying that pencilling in your answers as you go along. That rule is still gospel as far as I’m concerned.

Day 19 – Randomise – My friends and I played this whilst drinking fizz in a hot-tub on a girls mini break. We had quite the giggle with it all, but then again, we were pretty lashed at that point!

Day 20 – Person Most Likely To – Another drinking game where everyone points to the person most likely to eg “Crowd surf at a gig”, “Have accidentally pooed themselves”, “Have received a penalty fine for speeding whilst driving” etc. Quite good craic but then again, nothing beats just shooting the breeze with your mates and swapping gossip, right?

Day 21 – The Minister’s Cat – We were tired. We were still drinking fizz. In a hot-tub. It was a lame attempt at a game. End of challenge.

To sum up, trivia/ general knowledge quizzes still rule my world, anything creative to do with writing or murder mysteries are always a winner, but Solitaire is BAE and the real hero of this challenge. And with that, I’m off to play it.

Gill x

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