In the 21st century, there are different forms of entertainment for college students. Whether it be deep late night conversations at 3am on a school night or binge watching a Netflix tv show, the majority of college students spend most of their time bumping up their social life. Once greatly underrated, playing board games became popular recently as another form of entertainment amongst college students. Amongst the many, there are three board games that have been placed at the top of most recommendation lists: Codenames, Settlers of Catan, and Avalon. All of these board games aim to stimulate teamwork, cognition, decision making, logical reasoning, and the ability to work in social contexts.
Codenames is a word associated game that encourages cleverness and creativity. Codenames was labeled as the 2016 Game of the Year. Everyone is split into 2 teams, and is given a handful of words to describe to the other team. The “spymasters” for each team need to give one word clues that group up meanings or hint at one or more words that the rest of the team need to decode. This game tests the closeness, the teamwork, and the communication skills of the group. There are two versions of this game (uncensored vs censored). The uncensored version utilizes more adult-appropriate words that seem to be more popular amongst college students. The censored version is a more family-orientated game.
Settlers of Catan is a game that gambles luck, strategy, and decision making. The board is different depending on the initial roll, placement of the boards, and the actions of the other players. Fairly different from other games, this game has everyone involved on every turn. Anyone is eligible to receive a resource each time the dice are rolled, no matter who rolls. Additionally, everyone is allowed to trade with the current player rolling the die. This game is about trading sheep, wood, bricks, and wheat to build roads, houses, buildings, and cities. The goal is to monopolize the resources and other players to win the game. This amount of time spent on this game varies from 30 minutes to even 2 hours. This game is all about player interaction, replayability, and a beautiful mix of luck and strategy.
When I was a junior at USC, I spent the entire academic year abroad in Tokyo, Japan. I went because I wanted to learn more about what life is like in a different culture, as well as immerse myself in a language other than my own. While abroad, I realized three major ideas that helped me navigate my time in Japan, thus enriching my experiences. Now that I’m back in my home country, I’d like to pass these ideas on to any international student who is studying here at USC and struggling with the language.
1. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! I know it can be scary to speak in a different language; you don’t want to mess up or look stupid in front of people. I learned that from speaking with lots of different people in Japanese that it is okay to make mistakes and that native speakers won’t think badly of you for messing up. I know it is hard to believe but if you just push forward and try to communicate your idea, you can learn more and develop your speaking skills better than not speaking up at all. To get in the mindset of speaking freely, I thought to myself: “This is a great chance to get to learn a language through talking to native speakers. I won’t get a chance like this for a long time. I have to seize this opportunity!”
2. Do not be afraid to reach out for help. If the native speaker is talking too fast or you cannot understand the words they are saying, try asking them to repeat themselves slowly or ask them to say it in a different way. Native speakers understand you are learning and will try to accommodate you as best they can! After all, it is harder for you to translate what they say and speak your opinion than it is for them as a fluent speaker to repeat their sentence slower. You might initially think it is rude to ask someone to repeat themselves but, I can assure you, it is not. Asking someone to repeat themselves means that you care about what they have to say and that what they are talking about is important for you to fully understand.
Here is a suggestion for your Labor Day Weekend: try the new Metro Line to go to the Santa Monica Pier or the beach! The Expo Line has a stop at the South Campus gate of USC, the Expo Park/USC station. Just walk past Tommy Trojan, continue on Trousdale Parkway to Exposition Blvd, and there take the Metro towards Santa Monica. You could be watching a beautiful sunset off the pier or from the beach within 40 minutes.
Once there, don’t miss a stroll on 3rd Street Promenade, a fun and store-filled walking street just a few blocks from the pier.