We had the pleasure of speaking with Ruby Heng, who has had great success using the linkAges TimeBank to create a network of friends who enjoy playing board games. She particularly loves board games that are sometimes referred to as Euro-style or designer games and are a combination of random luck and skill, which gives everyone a fighting chance. Ruby calls them “Brain Exercise.”
Crossing the US on “Ticket to Ride”
To find others who share her passion for board games, Ruby placed her “BrainExercise” offer on the linkAges TimeBank website. Ruby’s offer was accepted by fellow TimeBank members Nikita and Mary, who were interested in learning and playing the games. Neither had played these types of games before, so it was a great learning experience for all. The trio meets at the Sunnyvale Senior Center and local cafés. The simple requirements for a fun session are a variety of games, a large table and willing participants. Ruby has also offered a service exchange for playing games with linkAges TimeBank Community Outreach Coordinator, Vivian Nguyen, and Program Intern, Dominic Boccaccio.
The games have intriguing names and even more intriguing concepts, such as “Ticket to Ride,” a cross-country train game where players claim routes to connect. The first iteration is based on the map of the United States. They then came out with a map of Europe, then Germany, then Switzerland, each time adding variations (e.g. ferries, tunnels) to the basic game. Other examples include “Wasabi,” which is based on making sushi. Games are competitive, cooperative or both. An example of one of the cooperative games is “Forbidden Desert”, where the players have crashed in a desert. In order to fly to safety, they have to locate and recover the parts of a flying machine which, as legend has it, lies buried in the desert.
According to Ruby, “The main attraction of this genre of games is that they are balanced, i.e., you don’t know who will win ’till the end/almost the end of the game. Above all, though, everyone has some skills to contribute,” she says, which is also an underlying principle of linkAges TimeBank.
In addition, Ruby’s game-playing group is multi-generational which aligns with the linkAges TimeBank’s goal of connecting people of all ages.