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Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

Unplug and Play: 50 Games that Don’t Need Charging

Author: Brad Berger (
Originally Published: 2013
Publisher: Keller International Publishing Corp
Source: I received a copy of this book from ID.CREATIVE

The Story

Unplug and PlayFrom the back of the book:

When technology invaded the 21st century the world quickly went silent! People who once spoke to each other turned to electronic devices as their loving companions. Of course, the love was one-sided, but that didn’t matter. The laughter of kids and adults communicating and playing fun games together rapidly became the sound of tapping on pads, pods and phones. It was an epidemic that grew out of control.

Society was on the brink of total disaster… but the human race wasn’t about to give up that easily! Pockets of rebel forces began to fight back! College students, teenagers, working men and women, moms and dads, families big and small gathered on weekends and weeknights, in cars, buses and plans, basements and living rooms… and most of all… vacation destinations. They were armed with only their creativity, their humor, their ability to communicate, their desire to compete and play games, good old-fashioned pens and paper… and this book.

For five minutes or five hours… they were unplugged.

The Response

Picture this – it’s a rainy afternoon when you’re up at the cottage. You’re stuck inside and have played all of the available boardgames hundreds of times. You don’t have cell phone reception or an internet connection, and people are starting to get stir crazy.

We’ve all been there.

Enter Brad Berger’s Unplug & Play, which contains games for all ages that you can play with just a bunch of pens/pencils and some writing paper.

I was contacted by ID.CREATIVE to review this book on my blog. My biggest concern for it was geared mainly towards families and children, but was assured that this was for all ages. I was happy to find out that this was the case – though if you are playing with children, they will at least need to know how to read and write to play the majority of these games. What I found awesome was that a lot of these games can be made as difficult or easy as you wanted, depending on how many people are playing and the age groups of the people playing.

This book is structured into six parts, with each part containing certain types of games. While there are some games that are really different from others, I found that there were also a lot of games that were variations on the same game. I also found that while some of these games were totally new, others were just modifications of existing games or game shows (for example, “Don’t Tell Frank He’s Going Bald” is very similar to Wheel of Fortune, except without money). The types of games that are included are broken down as such:

  • Matchmaker, Matchmaker – matching games
  • Call My Bluff – guess who said/did/drew something, all of which would be great “get to know you” games
  • That’s My Plan and I’m Sticking To It – strategy games (including letter, word and memory games)
  • Ready, Set, Go! – timed guessing games
  • Try to Remember – memory games
  • I’m Puzzled – more matching games, grouping games and word jumbles

We tried out a few of these games – Couples Concentration (similar to Concentration, except the two matching spots have to be related instead of the same), Who Am I (where you have 3 one-word clues to guess a famous person’s name) and Chopped Up Celebrities (where names have been chopped up into 4 pieces and placed in random spots on a grid, and you have to find out what all of the full names are). These were definitely a lot of fun.

I have a feeling that I’m going to be bringing this book up to cottages with me from now on – I may even leave it at one of them, to share the fun with everyone! This would have been an awesome book to have when I was working as a camp counselor, or as a youth group leader. They’re great for getting everyone to participate and get to know each other a little bit better.

The Bottom Line

This book is definitely a great addition to our game collection. I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys playing games with larger groups of people.

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 7:03 am June 23, 2014.
Category: Non-Fiction
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