Since most people these days have developed a reluctance to ever put down their cell phones, board games creator Hasbro has now found a way to include them in the quintessential family activity: game night. Their new edition of Clue: Secrets & Spies not only updates the look and story of the game with a Tom Clancy feel, but introduces text messaging into the game play. Players send texts to a Hasbro number during the game and receive replies with new clues.
For me, the new design is another example of a strategy that latches on to a technology for the sake of trendiness, of being ‘with it’, versus truly enhancing the result. I’m all for companies staying up to date with the technology of the day, and finding creative new ways to use that technology, but there is something disappointing about the picture of friends and family sitting down together to play a board game only to all pull out their cell phones once more. Perhaps I’m just old fashioned, being a member of the last generation to grow up with phones that were attached to the wall, a time when answering the phone (with no caller ID) felt like playing a lottery.
For others of the old-fashioned mindset who enjoy disconnecting from the grid once in a while and re-connecting with friends and family through clever and engaging gameplay, I recommend the game Settlers of Catan.