There’s Not An App For That

Living Without Electric Entertainment

Spoiler Alert: We are getting a pool table for Christmas.

Sarah and I both like pool, we have room for a table, and found a great deal on a good used one. And a pool table, despite what Harold Hill says, is good family entertainment. It’s an enjoyable game, that can be played with up to four people either casually or competitively. Also, once purchased–if you take good care of it–there is very little additional cost, it doesn’t require any electricity or internet connection, and it will last for years. You could say it’s a sustainable game.

This led me to thinking about sustainable entertainment in general. We discuss our five basic needs a lot, but how much do we discuss the topic of ‘boredom avoidance’? In an emergency once you know that you’ll have food to eat, clean water, comfortable shelter,  light and warmth, and feel safe; at that point what will you do with your family for fun? This could be a short-term power outage or a long-term collapse. What kind of entertainment do you have that doesn’t have to be plugged in or recharged? This means no computers, smart phones, internet, video games, iPods, television, movies, or even radio – at least not for entertainment purposes.

I don’t see TEOTWAWKI as being a Hollywood-esque struggle full of fear and desperation to survive against the elements and mutant zombie bikers* (MZBs). In reality there will be a lot of boredom periodically interrupted by unforeseen challenges and scary moments. During those times, I believe that having activities which provide fun and laughter will be even more important.

Early on I taught my kids to play a variety of board and card games. When you have four kids during the long, wet northwest winters playing an organized game is a good way to keep everyone entertained and involved together.

Our family tends to play less traditional games. For example, our favorites include: Killer Bunnies, Munchkins, Carcassonne, pirates dice, Apples to Apples, Qwirkle, and cribbage. These types of games encourage thinking outside the box; they are also able to entertain a number of people of varying ages. A pool table, though different, will complement our stock of games nicely.

The games themselves don’t matter. What matters–after you’re fed, warm, and secure–when you’re stuck inside for days at a time without power, is having something to do. Something to keep the kids interested and involved; something to take your mind off the serious (and yes, scary) world outside your door; something to pull you together as a family. Remember, family is the reason we’re doing this.

*Mutant Zombie Bikers (MZBs) is a term used in David Crawford’s’ book, Lights Out. It’s describes the bad guys, who prey on the good guys, in a collapse world.


2 thoughts on “There’s Not An App For That

  1. We go camping in our popup quite a bit and we have a stock of games in there. The camping games stay in the camper so they don’t become dull. We have come across several games that are a little unique. We play LCR, it is a dice game that takes up less space than a roll of quarters. We have a couple of the Cranium games that fit in a pocket. Of course a deck of cards goes a long way. I love cribbage, but with 2 kids and it being a predominately 2 player game, we don’t play it much.

    • Yea, avoiding them becoming dull is a good idea. We cycle through our games about every other month, trying not to burn-out on any one game. Cribbage works well for up to four (playing as a partner team) and it’s a great way to teach kids processing skills and math. Also, reference to the deck of cards, make sure you have a Book of Hoyle in case the lights do go out and you have to be real creative.

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