A game of association – Codenames!

Not a new kid in the block, board game Codenames is increasingly dominating board game nights and more. What seems like an ordinary English word description game tests partnership, and what I call ‘similar frequency’ wavelengths among friends and family! This game is good for groups of four to eight people.

Here are the items in the box – many little cards with single words on it. These words are very random and are generally not in any particular theme, map cards (aka key cards), 16 agent cards, 1 double agent card, 7 innocent bystander cards, 1 assassin card, and a timer.

Codenames

To set-up, place 25-word cards on the table, in a 5 by 5 format. Split the players into two teams – red and blue, with one spymaster per team on the other side of the table. The spymaster will be given a map (key card) which plots which words their team members need to guess.

This word association game is interesting as the spymaster can only provide a single word as a clue to link as many of their words together! With each team needing to guess between 8 and 9 words per game, the time factor kicks in to see which team is able to guess all the associated words correctly first!

The game immediately ends if the assassin’s word is guessed by a team at any point of the game. Spy masters must be sure to ensure that their team members do not guess it.

Even if you aren’t a fan of board games, the novelty of the game and its team-building nature, makes Codenames a wonderful game to play with friends and family! (cue: background music in the video above during a family game just two days ago! )

Go check our codenames pictures if you are keen on being challenged further – I heard that it’s way more difficult! You can purchase Codenames here.

Zumba-ing the calories away!

COVID-19 has driven almost everyone indoors – but other than work, and probably binge-watching Netflix, how can one keep active during this period? Just before our country went into circuit-breaker mode, my family and I purchased a Nintendo Switch (review on a later date), and the first game we bought was Zumba Burn it Up!

Out of the four members of our family, only one person had ever gone for a Zumba class – maybe it’s because of the excessive movements, or the idea of semi-dancing outdoors, Zumba wasn’t an activity we’d easily consider doing while out in public – however, it’s a totally different story when you’re in the comfort of your own home!

This game comes with 30 songs, and each song comes with various intensity levels – low, medium and high. The low-intensity ones have fewer jumping movements and are less aggressive. The high intensity ones really get your heart pumping with the fast movements and jumps. One can choose to do a single song at a time or take part in the classes available.

There are three kinds of classes – short, medium and long. A short class, consisting of four songs, lasts around 15 minutes. A medium class has eight songs and lasts around 30 min. The long class has 16 songs and last almost an hour. Let’s put it this way – a short class can already give one a good sweat!

While playing, each player will hold a controller in his/her right hand. The controller vibrates a little with each beat of the song (this helps you get a quick grasp of the beat of the song). Other than being able to move along to the beat, a fun part of this game is that it tracks your accuracy level as well – this is tracked by the movement of the right hand that is holding the controller. Your accuracy and movement streak also help determine your overall score.

Each class can be tracked with up to four players holding a controller each. While my family only owns two controllers, our other two members will just move along, without their movements tracked.

The songs in this game are fun, allows a lot of different actions and movement, and are good in getting us to burn some calories. You can purchase the game from the Nintendo E-store here.

Three things you can do on a daily basis while social distancing!

Almost one-third of the world is currently under some form of ‘lockdown’, and here in Singapore, our Circuit Breaker measures are still in full force, which means many are currently working from home and have more time on our hands. Here are some of the things that I’ve come across in recent weeks that may be of interest to you for you to make full use of your time – the three activities mentioned below can be done on a daily basis (even on a workday!) –

Head to the kitchen and prepare a unique cup of coffee for yourself

You may be used to getting your morning dose of coffee outside, but the Dalgona coffee has been making many people learn how to prepare their coffee at home! The craze is still on, and if you’ve not made this wonderful, frothy drink for yourself (think inverted cappuccino – frothed coffee on milk instead of frothed milk on coffee!), why not try it out? Here’s a quick instructional video that has raked 10 million views!

My take on the Dalgona coffee – a simple and delicious recipe

Pick up a course or two online

I’ve posted on online sites where you can pick up courses before, but many do come at a cost. With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging on, many organizations and schools have decided to provide free courses for those who want to learn – and the list of schools includes Harvard University.

Photo by Julia M Cameron  from Pexels

These courses are free, taken on audit – which means you have access to the materials, but will not be provided a certificate at the end of it (to link to your LinkedIn account or as a memento), but you can easily purchase one if you think it will be of value to you! Check over 60 free courses offered by Harvard here – the range is pretty wide and I’m sure you’ll find something that you’re interested in. There’s another site that has more than 1,500 free courses and can be found here.

Do a workout and sweat it out

From classes that help you with your flexibility to Tabata classes that make you ‘sweat it all out’, many classes are easily available online and these are great resources you may want to make use online.

Photo by Li Sun from Pexels

Something fun that can have technology involved is Just Dance Now – you can use your mobile phone as the game control that allows both you and your partner(s) to dance along to songs, it’s a fun and good way to work it out. Alternatively, if you also own a Nintendo Switch, you may want to check out Zumba Burn it Up! – it has full classes that range from 15 to 60 min! I’ve recommended this previously in a post, but it’s so good that I’d highly recommend it again!

#stayhome #staysafe #strongertogether

Breezing through COVID-19 with these online resources

Regardless of where you are right now, I am sure that the COVID-19 situation is impacting you in one way or another right now. From countries going under lockdown, to various quarantine measures and working from home, I won’t be surprised if many of you are actively looking for activities for you, or for children.

Here’s a quick compilation on some of the sites I’ve come across that may be of interest to you, or those around you!

Videos and Shows

Photo by Lars Nissen from Pexels
  1. Netflix – original shows, TV series, documentaries and variety shows. You can try it out for a month for free, and a monthly subscription fee applies after.
  2. Prime Video – original shows, TV series and more, not as wide a range as Netflix but has some shows that Netflix doesn’t! It comes free for a month, and if you have an Amazon Prime membership, it’s free for you as well. Else, there’s a monthly subscription as well.
  3. Broadway Musicals – with theatres and musical halls closed during this period, why not watch some of them online? They are currently offering a seven-day free trial followed by a paid subscription.
  4. Virtual Disney World – this is a YouTube channel that has uploaded the different experiences in Disney World. From watching a Disney tour to the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, you can experience it all here! If you have a VR headset, plug your phone in and experience Disney World easily!

Reading/ Audiobooks

Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels
  1. Audible – an initiative by Amazon is allowing children and teens free access to Audible, an audiobook site that has titles ranging from Winnie the Pooh to C.S. Lewis’ Surprised by Joy. Through this period of school closure, the site is granting free access to its books! If you have an existing membership with them, they will pause the membership during this duration for you as well.
  2. SCRIBD – a platform that has books, magazines, audiobooks and documents. During this season, they have granted 30 days of free access to the site, and no credit card is required to enjoy this privilege.

Exercise

Photo by Valeria Ushakova from Pexels
  1. Zumba! Burn it up – if you own a Nintendo switch, you can get this game on the Nintendo eshop! It’s fun, and has short classes that you can follow easily.
  2. Ready Set Sweat Challenge – a series of HIIT classes that you can follow for free, in the comfort of your own home!

Thoughts

There are many more online resources available for free at this moment in time, and it is comforting to see how many companies are stepping up and providing access to others as we tide through this crisis.  Now, enjoy and let’s have some fun during this period!

#stayhome #staysafe

It’s a match!

Growing up as a kid, I’ve built many fond memories while playing physical board and card games. Be it a simple game or a really difficult one, playing games provided a platform for me to learn something new and satisfy that competitive streak in me. However, in recent years, many have turned to playing games on their mobile devices which, in my opinion, is a huge pity. Playing games outside of technology promotes greater interaction and more connection with the crowd you are playing with. 

A game I’ve had for a while which is not bulky, and can be played in a group of up to 8 people, by children ages 7 and up is Spot it. Kept in a light tin, the spot it deck is a series of 55 cards with 8 symbols or simple words on it (out of the 50 possibilities). With only one symbol or word in common with another card, this game is one of matching and speed. 

There are many ways to playing this game but the one that I play (as it’s the easiest to explain) is “The Tower”. So how do you go about playing it?

  1. Each person will draw a single card and place it face-down in front of them. The remaining cards will be in a pile with the images facing upwards. 
  2. When the game begins, each player will flip the card in front of them and try to find the matching image from the top card in the pile of cards. 
  3. The first person that shouts out the matching image will get the top card and place it on top of the first card in front of him.
  4. The match continues as the middle pile will be drawn down and players gaining new cards as the game goes on. 
  5. When the middle pile runs out, the game ends. The winner will be the one with the most number of cards in his pile.

This game is popular with children and adults alike as it straight-forward and is a fast-moving game. This game is a match for me (pun-intended) as it is portable, easy to explain to friends, brings about loads of laughter and is suitable for people of all ages. Mobile games may be enticing to the main player but physical card games like this encourage greater interaction out of the technology space and promotes interaction. 

You can purchase the game here and find more ways on how to play the game here. Do leave a comment on which is your favorite way of playing Spot It! 

Duel-Otters: Simple, fun and playable offline

Have you ever been caught waiting for your meal to arrive, not knowing how to engage with your meal buddy? On a different note today, I’d like to introduce a FREE game that can be found on the Play Store and App Store that’s great for two players! 

Duel Otters was introduced by a tech-savvy friend who enjoyed playing games that were quick, fun and simple to play with. 

This game has two main modes – 

  1. Individual – In this mode, you get to ‘challenge’ the game engine itself
  2. Two-player – There are two main kinds- three-wins/ endless party. While waiting for your meal to arrive, three-wins is usually sufficient.

Why I love it – 

  1. Simple games available – From hockey, ’pumping’ balloons, to matching games and even quick calculation games, these simple games can be played by players of all ages. For the competitive ones, there is also a ‘random’ mode where the game engine decides for you to which game you’ll be playing. All games should end within a minute or two and provide endless entertainment. Even the least competitive person will be excited while playing the games.
  2. Entertaining/ Up-beat Music – In a restaurant/ café setting, being able to play a simple game with slightly up-beat music is quite entertaining and is a clear conversation starter.
  3. Does not require Internet/ data connection – Games I generally dread are those that drain your battery AND require loads of data. This game is fun to play offline and if you are worried about possible data consumption, you can just change your phone’s setting to ensure that this game does not connect to the Internet while you’re not connected to Wi-Fi

I’ve played this game with my friends (ages 20+) and children (ages <10) and we’ve always had fun playing these games. 

Why not download the game today and have fun? 

Download from the game from the App Store and Play Store today!