Word Games and the Writer’s Brain

That smile said he knew he was winning.

After more games than I’ll embarrass him by counting, my hubby finally won a round of Blokus. It’s a game of strategy using game pieces of varying shapes that must be fit together with only their corners touching. The player with the least number of pieces leftover at the end wins. There’s also a classic version for up to four players.

The product description says, “Blokus encourages creative thinking and has received a Mensa award for promoting healthy brain activity.” I’m not sure I’d want my brain analyzed before, during or after a game, but I’m for anything that may improve its health.

As a gamer, I don’t always plan many moves in advance, but as a novelist, I strategize while I’m working my way through scenes and plots. Thinking ahead. Figuring out moves that will thwart or mislead. Planning twists, turns and where to add conflict or drop red herrings. My brain can use all the help it can get!

Word games of various types are recommended as brain stimuli, and may even help slow down the advance of dementia.* I’ll sometimes fiddle with magnetic words to get creative thoughts moving. I play the occasional game of Scrabble, too, but my 90-year-old neighbour puts me to shame. Not only does she regularly play Scrabble on her computer, but she works on Sudoku puzzles and six to eight crossword puzzles every day. I don’t know what my mind will be like at ninety, but as the cliché goes, hers is sharp as a tack.

My hubby may not be eager for a re-match, resting on his laurels and all, but I’m ready for another round of Blokus anytime. My novels will thank me for playing.

How about you? Do you enjoy word games? Share your secrets for keeping your mind sharp.

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Alzheimer’s Reading Room

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