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Family Games Newsletter - March 2010
March 08, 2010

March 2010

Welcome to the March 2010 issue of our Family Games Treasurehouse newsletter. The year is well under way and I trust that you and your family are making the best use of the time in growing deeper in your relationships with each other.

In our February issue, we looked at some card and dice games that are particularly suited to younger players. For this issue, we'll be looking at one of the best known games, Chess, and then three simple parlor games that are suitable for family reunions or any other group get-together.

Chess for Beginners

If you have never heard of the Philidor Defence or the Evans Gambit, you are probably not a serious chess player. Serious players study the famous chess masters and many of their opening moves have been given special names. Midgame and endgame strategies are analysed and memorised, and tactics plotted to maximise the probability of winning.

For the rest of us, chess is a wonderful game to teach logic and thinking skills. In the January 2010 issue I listed some of the benefits of educational strategy games such as chess. They can help develop your brain power by building thinking and logic skills, problem solving and spatial thinking skills, help promote forward thinking skills and comprehension as you develop a sequence of actions and examine the consequences of an action before making a move. Not only that, but it's lots of fun too!

The rules of chess are fairly simple. The hardest part is learning the name of each chess piece and how they move. My son was able to learn them when he was eight years old. Once you have them memorised, all it takes is practise - years of practise to become an expert! Unlike many other pursuits, daily or weekly practise costs nothing except time. A chess set is very inexpensive to purchase. You can even print out a free chess set from our website.

Once you have started to play, you may wish to learn algebraic chess notation which is a short-hand way of describing every move in a game. Many famous games are published on the internet and provide an easy way of learning from the chess masters. Many books and courses can teach you more about the intricacies of chess, including the sponsored links below.


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Chess is one of the world's best known games because it is both fun and educational. It is a challenge for beginners and experts of all ages. If you've never tried it, why not begin today?


Parlor games were popular in Victorian and Elizabethan times, when people would sit in the parlor room and play quiet games around a table. Here are three amusing games that require no preparation yet provide hours of entertainment.

Likes and Dislikes is a quiet parlor game that is especially suitable as an ice-breaker game for groups of people who do not know each other well. Each person writes a list of five things they like and five things they dislike. The lists are collected and read out anonymously. Everyone tries to guess the identity of the writer.

Boxwords is another quiet written game. Each person draws a box that is five squares high and five squares wide. Players take turns to call out one random letter. Each player writes the letter in any square of the box, trying to make words at least two letters long. After the box is filled with twenty-five letters, each player adds up the number of words, scoring one point for each letter of each word. A five letter word is given a bonus point (six points for the word). Play continues as long as the players wish to continue, with a new box each round. The player with the highest score at the end wins.

Telegrams is based on the old telegrams that used Morse Code. Because they were charged by the letter, they were often written in abbreviated sentences. Each round of the game starts by choosing a 10-15 letter word or group of random letters. Each player then tries to create a message using the letters (in order) as the initial letters of the words. No numbers or punctuation are allowed, except the word STOP to end a sentence. For example, IRREDEEMABLE could be:

Or, the random letters SBOIBBLHDNIQ could become:
There are no winners or losers in Telegrams. Just have fun!

If you enjoy playing these games, why not try some of our other Family Parlor Games?

As we mentioned in our last newsletter, keep an eye out for our range of family game e-books coming out later this year. Your favourite games from Family Games Treasurehouse along with many, many more games in an easy to print book form.

If you signed up to this newsletter a while ago, the free e-book you received now has a new, more colourful front cover and some extra graphics inside. Check out to see the new cover. If you would like a copy of the updated e-book, you DON'T need to subscribe again. Simply send us a short message at and we will send you the link for the free download. We'd also love to receive any comments about the e-book that we can use as testimonials on the website. Thanks!

Finally, click on the image/link below to find out how you too can start your own website that can earn you money and give you more time to enjoy with your family. Site Build It!

Until next time,
Andrew Low
Family Games Treasurehouse

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