In today’s society, we live most of our lives running at full throttle and often miss out on some opportunities to have a quick bit of fun. A game design studio in the UK called Hide&Seek came up with a mission to invent new kinds of play, focusing on interesting and creative methods. Out of that came these 2 anthologies of Tiny Games: Tiny Games for Work and Tiny Games from Home. These books have been published by Osprey Publishing and have been released here in the United States in the Osprey Games line.
The books themselves contain a number of games that can be played just by using the things around you. The games are made for different numbers of players, all contain simple rules, and can be played in short periods of time.
In Tiny Games for Home, there are over 50 games that can be played without needing to buy anything. All of the games are based upon things you already have in the house. These games are activities that foster quality time for the family. They give an opportunity for a busy family to STOP! and take a quick break from the busyness of life around them and play a game that goes back to humble beginnings.
For example, in the game Knife, Fork, Spoon, you and another person can play this game while waiting for a piece of bread or a bagel to be toasted. It uses the premise of rock, paper, scissors and uses the same premise of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Each Game title is printed in Blue, with bold text that tells you what you need in order to play the games. There is also a number in the corner that tells you the number of players the game is made for. In the back of the book, there is an appendix that has all of the games arranged in alphabetical order in a table that indicates the number of players as well as the page number the game is on. There are also a few page of Tiny Tips, that may inspire you to turn to a certain page and play those games. The games are designed for people of all ages and is perfect for a family. Some of the games are just silly fun, however some of the games can be used by home-schoolers to supplement lessons or to use as a quick break between lessons.
Besides home being a place to play some of the Tiny Games, there are also some games that can be played in the workplace. Tiny Games for Work has over 50 games as well. These games include solitaire games as well as ones that can be played with co-workers.
The games included in this anthology are great for fostering team-building and an environment of employees who can have fun while still being productive at work. All of the games can be played using items from right there in the workplace, many of them right in your own workspace. Some of the games inside the book are actually good for forming better work habits and others make great ice-breakers for meetings.
Like the Tiny Games for Home book, the format and layout is the same, with the difference being these games are set around being played in a work environment. They take little time to play and can help boost the moods of the players, if it is a stressful day at the office.
In disclosure, Osprey Games sent these books along to have a look at along with some games I requested. From a production standpoint, the covers are durable with a nice flex to them. The binding is well done, and the pages are on good quality paper stock. Each of the pages has a nice readable font with good line spacing. And the really nice thing is, these books are small enough to fit in a pocket, purse, or backpack.
The games included in here are basic competitive activities to engage in. At their root, the games here are made to be played right where you are. They very much remind me of games we would make up as kids, coming right from spontaneous creations. I want to quote Alex Fleetwood from Hide&Seek from the introduction to Tiny Games for Home: “In a world where we generally tend to equate ‘better’ with ‘more’ and ‘shinier’ and ‘bigger’, it’s nice to remember that some of the most amazing experiences start from humble beginnings.”
Tiny Games for Home I think is a book that is useful in many ways. Like I stated previously, these games can help break up the rat race we run each day, can be used as supplements for home-schooling, and most importantly be used as tools to create quality time together. Some times we need to be reminded that it is the small things that matter and that we have to take time to play. Some of the games may be more fun than others. Some may seem hokey and silly, but remember other than the cost of the book, the games inside cost nothing to play. Not every game may be for you, but with over 50 inside, there is something for everybody. And the games inside may just inspire you to create your own.
The Tiny Games for Work has some fun activities inside as well. Depending on the workplace environment, some workplaces may frown upon some of the games inside this one. For example, wooshing around on wheeled office chairs to see who can go the furthest without their feet touching the ground may not go over well in some places. These games are designed to foster good relations between co-workers and to help break up the day to allow for time to go by just a little faster. Again, some are silly and may seem hokey, but there are lots of different choices. I think in this book’s introduction, Duncan Molloy of Osprey Games offers some wise words: “Think of this book as a way to keep the days which drag entertaining, and a way to give the days which fly by more weight. Use it to remember that play can be soft, and quick, and sneaky. Allow yourself time to dedicate to play, because the time it needs is tiny.”
In my opinion, both of the books have their place. They are great tools to use to make life more enjoyable by adding more elements of play. The games are simple, respectful of time, and cost nothing to play. They are contained anthologies that fit in your pocket. The simple nature of these games are more about building quality relationships and spending quality time together. Personally, I prefer the games in the Tiny Games for Home better. That may be because I work in construction so I have different things going on all the time. I can see how Tiny Games for Work can help with people who are stuck in a cubicle for 40+ hours a week. Either way, the books are inspiring to create those moments to play games.