Saturday, February 12, 2011


I love my job, don't get me wrong. I consider it a great blessing that someone pays me to do something I would probably do anyway, that is, read. But even the best jobs can drag after a week's hard work. You need a break. You crave some way to spice up your work week. One of the ways I do this is the book club I started. (I know, I know. Me? Start a book club? Shocking!) We meet every other week on pay weeks (to make those weeks extra special), and maybe I'll get into the specifics of that another time since I think it's a system that could easily be implemented in other workplaces. But today what I want to talk about is a newer institution, Friday Game Day.

Friday Game Day started in October when a friend from work and I realized that we both like board games that aren't Monopoly. What started as a single Ticket to Ride game became a full-fledged enterprise, and now we meet each week for a game over lunch. Sometimes others from work join us, most of the time friends from outside the company join us, and other times there are only two players. We typically meet on Fridays (because it's easier to play a board game and enjoy it when you are wearing jeans), but we have been known to play on other days.

A brief note: during the month of December, because of various departmental and company Christmas events, we didn't play on Friday at all. But despite Abby's nitpicking, we're still calling it "Friday Game Day." It's a brand, a trademark, and thus it can happen any day of the week (though still, primarily, on Friday). It doesn't get stripped of the "Friday" in its title just because it occasionally happens on other days of the week.

I've enjoyed Friday Game Day mostly because it is a great way to introduce the weekend and boost morale. I like the consistency of playing a game every Friday, even though a rivalry has developed as a result. (We've started keeping stats, and as much as it pains me to say it, I'm behind on the leaderboard. Oh well. The true test of a good game is if it's still fun when you lose, and those are really the only kind of games we play.)

A good lunch hour game should meet a few criteria:

  1. Simplicity. Games are best when they allow anyone to join at any time, especially when you are playing in a public place like the lunch room at work. Thus, they should be easy to teach and play within the lunch hour without going over.
  2. Short. Ideally, a game should be 45 minutes or so, long enough that it takes most of the lunch hour and doesn't leave you awkwardly wondering if you have time for another game, but short enough that you aren't rushing to finish or worried that you'll miss the meeting you've got scheduled right after lunch.
  3. Fun. If a game is going to stress you out, you probably shouldn't be playing at work. The idea of playing a game at work is that it should relax you. It should energize you for the rest of your day. If a game is draining (e.g., Monopoly), save it for Saturday.
What about you? How do you make the workweek go by faster? What games do you think make good lunchtime games?


  1. Reminds me of Family Game Nights. I miss those. I was going to have some people over a couple weeks from now for a game night.