English Like A Native Podcast

Language Learning Beyond the Classroom: Board Games with Luke's English Podcast

August 30, 2023 Season 1 Episode 65
English Like A Native Podcast
Language Learning Beyond the Classroom: Board Games with Luke's English Podcast
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E65: Do you know the highest-scoring three-letter word in Scrabble or which board game the British government used to stash real cash during World War II? Prepare to have your game-loving mind blown as we uncover these secrets and more with Luke, from Luke's English Podcast. From spirited discussions about the strategic intricacies of chess to the hilarious chaos of Hungry Hippos, we'll share stories, tips, and trivia that will make you see your game cupboard in a whole new light.

Our guest, Luke, brings a unique perspective to the table, discussing how board games can be powerful tools for language learning. You'll be surprised by the fascinating tales we unpack, like how a young woman turned verbal abuse from chess opponents into a winning edge and the mind-boggling value of the world's most expensive chessboard. We promise an episode filled with laughter, learning and a renewed appreciation for the world of board games.

👂 Luke and I discussing Monopoly at great length: https://pod.link/312059190

LUKE'S ENGLISH PODCAST

A huge thank you to Luke for joining me on this episode. Be sure to subscribe to Luke's channel as he has so many incredible episodes for your listening pleasure over on:
▶️ https://www.youtube.com/@LukesEnglishPodcast
👂 https://wp.me/p4IuUx-sQq


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Speaker 1:

You are listening to the English Like a Native podcast, a listening resource for intermediate and advanced level English learners. Today is a very special episode as we're joined by one of my favorite guests, luke from Luke's English podcast, which is an incredible podcast that you should all have a listen to. So in today's podcast, we are going to deep dive into a much-loved British pastime board games. It's going to be fun. Without further ado, let's roll. What do you do when you're with company, say your family or friends, and the conversation has begun to dry up and you're feeling a little bit bored? Well, you may decide to rummage around in the cupboard to dig out and dust off a board game to pass the time. In the UK, dice rolling, card shuffling and arguing about who's cheating is a much-loved pastime. And here, for a second time, to discuss the ins and outs, the ups and downs of board games, is Luke from Luke's English podcast. Welcome back, luke.

Speaker 2:

Hi Anna, thanks for having me back.

Speaker 1:

Oh, thank you for returning. I haven't scared you off. That's the important thing.

Speaker 2:

No, this is great topic.

Speaker 1:

I love board games, you do. You have a big love of Monopoly.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so we just talked about Monopoly at some length. On my show we did over an hour's worth of conversation only about Monopoly.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, who would have thought there was so much to say about the game?

Speaker 2:

Well, yeah, it is actually a fascinating game, as we've just discussed, with all of the different strategies, the sort of statistics, the mathematics, the politics, the things it says about society and all the things we're getting wrong, that everyone gets wrong when they play it, and all those other things.

Speaker 1:

Really important strategy that I think we've taken away from that particular episode that anyone who's interested in Monopoly should definitely go and listen to the episode, just to learn the strategy, if not to learn lots of fabulous English phrases.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely.

Speaker 1:

I'll put a link in the description so everyone can check that out later. But do you play lots of games? Do you have a game cupboard in your house?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we do. So we've got like the sort of bottom compartments of a cupboard in my daughter's bedroom has got all the board games stuffed into it. So, yeah, we definitely have a games cupboard. Back in my childhood home, when I was growing up at my parents house, we had a kind of a wooden box and we would open up the wooden kind of a chest and that was full of all the different games and things, some of which have survived, including that old Monopoly set and various others. So, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

So we have a couple of spaces in our house where we keep our games, because I've got two young children and it's possibly the same you said yours is in your daughter's bedroom. I mean the risk there because I think your daughter's quite young the risk there is that they might take them out when they're exploring one day and you're not looking and then you find that there are lots of pieces missing or shoved into lots of different places or mixed up. So we have been separating our stuff for a while, with the majority of the games accessible in the kind of kiddies play area. We have those IKEA cupboards. You know there's the. I think they're called KALAX or something. There's like everyone has one of these cupboards in the UK If they shop at IKEA for any furniture. They all have these KALAX units and we've got about five of them around the house. So we just fill one of those with the accessible games that we don't mind the children just grabbing at will.

Speaker 1:

And then we have an inaccessible cupboard that has all the more advanced games like the chess sets and things like that and the jigsaw puzzles. I'm a big fan of jigsaws. How about you?

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, yeah, I love a jigsaw and of course it's very good that you keep the jigsaw puzzles away from the little kids because you cannot let any of those pieces go missing. Because if you try and do a jigsaw and there's one piece missing, then that's the worst thing in the world. A 1000 piece jigsaw has to be complete and if you put all that time into doing it and then at the end there's just one missing piece, it really ruins it. But yeah, I do like a jigsaw. It forces you to slow down and take the time to just focus on building that picture. And there are strategies involved as well in jigsaws.

Speaker 1:

How do you do your jigsaws?

Speaker 2:

So you find all the edge pieces first obviously Corner pieces are vital and then edges, and then, well, you just do your best from there, don't you really?

Speaker 1:

Do you look at the picture?

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, of course.

Speaker 1:

See, the most fun is to spend about 60 seconds before you start studying the picture, and then you never look at it again.

Speaker 2:

Oh my god, but that's too difficult, surely?

Speaker 1:

Well, it depends on the jigsaw. We once did a jigsaw of the Rosetta Stone and actually I think that's the one jigsaw that defeated us. We had to first look at the picture and even then we couldn't get it, so we ended up putting that one away. But often we will just study the picture initially and then put it away and then try and figure it out without ever looking at the picture. It does take a long time. It will often take maybe a week or two, which now, because we've got the kids, we can't just leave it out on the table, because the kids will be like oh, what's this? I help, I help, I'm putting them everywhere.

Speaker 1:

But we did just buy one of these mats and sorry, this is jigsaws, this is completely off topic, but anyway, we bought one of these mats that you can roll up with a big inflatable like sausage. You lay the jigsaw out on the mat and then, when you finished for that session, you just roll it very carefully around this inflatable sausage and then just tie it off and then you can travel with it, take it with you, unroll it somewhere else.

Speaker 2:

All right, so you're not restricted to just doing the jigsaw in this one location?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, Exactly, but for us it's a protection thing to get it away from the kids.

Speaker 2:

Very good, very smart move yeah.

Speaker 1:

We would never buy jigsaws from a charity shop as well. Like we have a little jigsaw club in my group of friends. We swap at jigsaws so we're always on the lookout for good jigsaws in different like garden centers and shops. But I would never buy from a charity shop because you can't guarantee if it's a complete jigsaw and I'm sure the charity shop don't say hey, vera, can you just complete the puzzle and make sure it's complete before we put it for sale. But I did break my rule when recently visiting the charity shop to reward my boys who had slept through the night for five consecutive nights, got their little stars on their star chart and I said okay, five stars, you can go to the charity shop and pick anything.

Speaker 1:

And while we were there I saw a jigsaw which was a map of the world and I thought it's a little bit old for them at the moment, but wouldn't this be a great thing to help teach them geography? So we bought it and broke it out with them. We did it on the floor, the hardest jigsaw I think I've ever done. I had to actually look at the picture because it's not a typical jigsaw shape. All the pieces are only the shape of the countries.

Speaker 2:

Oh, I see.

Speaker 1:

And so when you get to like Africa and there's all these teeny, tiny little countries.

Speaker 2:

A lot of them are straight lines as well. In the central part of Africa it was so hard, so hard.

Speaker 1:

It is really good. I mean, it was teaching me a thing or two about where places are. It makes you realise like, oh, I know where this place is. No, I actually don't. I've got no idea.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, my parents have got the same thing, but for all the counties in. I think it's only in England, just the English counties, and yeah, that's surprisingly difficult as well. You kind of think you know them, but that's very hard.

Speaker 1:

I'm terrible at geography, absolutely terrible, so I wouldn't be able to do that and the globe one ended up me, just me, on the floor. The kids got bored and so they were off doing their Play Doh or whatever it was. And I'm there doing this jigsaw on my own on the floor and there were three pieces missing at the end and I was just devastated. But it turned out that they weren't missing. They were under the rug. The boys had helped me, I stuffing them under the rug.

Speaker 2:

Right. Yeah, that's the thing with jigsaws You've got to watch out for all the pieces. But I do love jigsaws. I love doing jigsaws of maps, but I will look at the picture. I don't consider that to be cheating because, ultimately, if I was doing it without looking at the picture, I would have a horrible time. So why make life difficult for yourself? You know why don't?

Speaker 1:

you should try it I challenge you. Don't take a really hard picture that's just like clouds or waves or trees, rose bushes. Just take something that's a mixture of things that you can figure out. I think it's fun.

Speaker 2:

Jigsaws with lots and lots of little details are great Like. One of my favourites is the Beatles' Sgt Pepper album cover, because every single portion of that picture has got something interesting in it.

Speaker 1:

Sorry, Alexa is so rude.

Speaker 2:

You're being interrupted by Alexa.

Speaker 1:

She always does this.

Speaker 2:

What's Alexa saying to you?

Speaker 1:

Someone's at the front door.

Speaker 2:

This happened to us last time, Anna.

Speaker 1:

It always happens. I've unplugged her.

Speaker 2:

Alexa is so helpful and yet unhelpful at the same time.

Speaker 1:

So what was I talking about? I was doing a podcast when I was talking about how a lot of English words come from Arabic or have a relationship to Arabic, and I was going through the list and one of the words was Alexa and Elixir and she kept coming on going. I'm sorry, I don't know that one. Right now I'm not talking to you.

Speaker 2:

I'll be teaching in class in English lessons and I say something that sounds like hey Siri.

Speaker 1:

There we go.

Speaker 2:

Not talking to you now Doing a podcast. Okay, says Siri.

Speaker 1:

Brilliant.

Speaker 2:

All right, and I'll say something that sounds like that, and Siri steps in and says I'm sorry, I can't find that. Here are some results from the internet or something like that. It's always a hilarious moment.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's so rude. It's so rude. Someone should teach them some manners. Okay so Jigsaw is fantastic, but what's your default, what's your go-to game when you're, say, with your family or your friends?

Speaker 2:

Well, obviously Monopoly, as we've said, but other ones, scrabble, is a bit of a favourite, or it's a tough one, you know.

Speaker 1:

What Scrabble's a tough one, yeah, or the question's tough.

Speaker 2:

Scrabble is well, both. The question is tough because there are many games I could talk about, but I realise there are only a certain number of minutes that we can do this for. But I mean, you know, could do an hour on each game.

Speaker 1:

Why is Scrabble tough for you?

Speaker 2:

Well, it's just, you know words in it. You know, just like English, words spelling. But it's tough because I'm competing against probably my mum and dad and my wife. Now, she is French, but she's so good at Scrabble in English, it's frightening. Yeah, I'm so ashamed of myself when I play against her and lose. I mean, you know, I suppose I shouldn't be. I should just be proud of my wife for being so good at Scrabble in a second language. We were on holiday in Brittany recently and there was a Scrabble set in the room and it was a French Scrabble set. You might think. Well, the alphabet's the same, but like the number of letters is, you know the arrangement, the number of each letter is different, and in a French Scrabble set, just so many vowels. Just, it's just like too many vowels Because you know, in French spelling they use a lot more vowels.

Speaker 1:

Do you have the ones with the little?

Speaker 2:

accents. No, there are no accents. They don't do accents because that would be too complicated, but no, just just way more vowels. So I'm just like picking out my letters. It's like okay, e, o, u, e, just O's, u's and millions of E's and O's and U's. So that was complicated and of course you know we. I was like oh, there's a Scrabble set here and my wife's like should we play in English or French? You know, sometimes hard for me to win in English, so there's really no chance of being able to win in French. But it's still a great game I do love like trying to find, like the. It's not just about finding the long words, but finding clever ways to use little words but maximize the extra points. You know, if someone's put down a word with a Q in it or an X or something like that, you can find a way to incorporate that X and get a triple and land on a double at the same time, and then you can get a massive score if you're clever enough.

Speaker 1:

And if you struggle with spelling, because I am really not very good at spelling, I've improved a lot since teaching because I'm always looking at and writing out notes and looking at words and teaching them. But I'm dyslexic, so spelling has always been a bit of a weak point and I think I've often hidden behind that as an excuse. Oh, I'm dyslexic, so I'm not going to worry too much about it. But as a teacher, you try and hold yourself to account a bit more and make sure what you're putting out is good. So I think I've learned a lot with that. So I think maybe I'll be better at scrabble now than I used to be. But you can get junior scrabble, can't you? So if you're an English learner, maybe scrabble would be a good game for you to play.

Speaker 2:

Sure.

Speaker 1:

Help with your English but, perhaps a junior scrabble board initially would be good yeah yeah, yeah, absolutely yeah.

Speaker 2:

All those things I mean board games for learning English 100% great idea, because you know, it's basically a scenario in which you often have to use language in order to complete the game.

Speaker 2:

It essentially takes away the need for forced social interaction. It's a great social lubricant, which is exactly what you need to practice English. You know, you don't have to be like, oh, what are we going to talk about now? You know, it's all there. You just have to play the game and you will be encouraged to use language. Some games involve language, like scrabble, for example, or some others, and some games also just encourage you to use language to achieve the outcome of the game, like, for example, if you have to negotiate in monopoly for something you know, for example.

Speaker 2:

That can be really good practice. So, yeah, I should give a shout out to another teacher called as Denik as Denik Lukas, from the Czech Republic, who has been doing a podcast in English for many years and he likes to use board games as well. He's kind of a huge board game enthusiast and he has a discord server called the achievers chamber. And they do play board games there in English, so he's a good person to go to if you're interested in practicing your English with board games.

Speaker 1:

Fantastic, yeah, and I think having fun while learning is always really important for motivation. Also, your brain, you process things and you know it helps your memory If you're enjoying and releasing all those happy hormones yeah, while you're learning, you know, removes all the stress, which isn't good for memory. So so play some games Now. One of the great things with scrabble is getting a scrabble dictionary and learning some of the weird and bizarre words that you'll throw down on the board and it's a high score. And some will go that's not a word and say, hey, check out the scrabble dictionary because it is a word I actually played for my school funnily enough, terrible speller, but I played in the scrabble like leagues at school and there was always a whole bunch of random two letter words. I'm like you would never use this word in a conversation what even is it? But they're allowed because they're in the dictionary. And one of these words is not even in the official dictionary but it's allowed in the Scrabble dictionary and it's an abbreviation of casual. It's Caj, spelled C-A-Z-H.

Speaker 2:

C-A-Z-H.

Speaker 1:

Really Caj.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that Scrabble dictionary is very suspect isn't it?

Speaker 1:

Don't you think, bit dodgy, bit dodgy.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, like my parents. When we play Scrabble with them, they basically ban the Scrabble dictionary.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

You know, because otherwise what happens is you just end up digging through the Scrabble dictionary trying to justify some ridiculous three-letter word that contains an X or something, or you know, you come out with QI, is it? Ah, qi. And so, like everyone's, like QI, that's not a word. Yeah, it is key. It's pronounced key. It's Chinese word. It means energy. Ah, there you go, you know.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, your parents are a lot of fun. You did an episode with them recently for the coronation.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, they are. You can see a lot of your personality and where that's well not that. Your personality came from your parents. You are unique, but yeah, I did it myself.

Speaker 2:

I built it on my own, but they are good fun.

Speaker 1:

You can tell that they're quite astute and clever.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, they are pretty smart, clever people, quite funny. Yeah, it's nice. Yeah, I'm lucky, Lucky to have parents like that. And yeah, it's nice to play board games with them. It's always pretty good fun, although, you know, my wife is very competitive and my dad is competitive.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

So there's when the two of them clash heads.

Speaker 1:

Oh, they fight, do they?

Speaker 2:

Well, in a nice way.

Speaker 1:

Which side do I take? Obviously always your wife's.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, of course. But it's always interesting to see how the dynamic switches when the competition arrives. But it's good, yeah, no, it's great.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so there's just two more words I'm going to mention on Scrable before we move on, and one of them is Zax, which is the highest scoring three letter word that you have.

Speaker 2:

Z-A-X.

Speaker 1:

Zax, do you know what this is?

Speaker 2:

Zax. I've no idea what Zax is. No one ever uses the word Zax. I've never read it, heard it.

Speaker 1:

It would be used in a specific industry. So if you work in a specific industry, it's a tool.

Speaker 2:

Okay, like, can you just pass me that Zax over there.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

It's a tool like that. Sorry, pass you what that's Zax over there. This is first day on the job. He doesn't know what a Zax is.

Speaker 1:

So it's an ax that a Slater uses. So it's a specific ax for a specific job of putting nails into slate.

Speaker 2:

Slate, which is like things that would go on the roof of a house. Okay a Zax is a specific hammer for hitting nails into a roof.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I believe, so Don't quote me on that, I might have got that wrong.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'll take your word for it.

Speaker 1:

Slater Zax. Now the other one. Quite funny is the word gang bang.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah.

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah.

Speaker 2:

Oh, yes, okay, Wait, that's quite a long word as well for G-A-N-G Eight, eight. So that's yeah, if you've got a word that ends in a G on the board and you've got ang bang in your hand then don't waste any time.

Speaker 1:

Get on with the gang bang.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, exactly.

Speaker 1:

So what I've got here is the word was allowed in the second edition of the Scrabble Dictionary, but then it got removed from the third edition and then was reintroduced in the fourth. Now, apparently, this is because it changed meaning over the time. So, gang bang. It's transitioned it's meaning from participating in gang related activities.

Speaker 2:

Right Gang banging or to be a gang banger.

Speaker 1:

Yes.

Speaker 2:

Yes.

Speaker 1:

So me and my gang are going to go and hang out in the fields and just make daisy chains with just having a gang bang?

Speaker 2:

I don't know about that. I think it would be more like what some guys going and stealing a car or something. No, Maybe or maybe something as innocent as just collecting flowers.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, Perhaps I've never been involved with any gang activities.

Speaker 1:

So, and some people might be listening, going what on earth are they? Why are they laughing so much? What is going on? The overarching meaning of this word that everyone knows it for, is a bunch of chaps having intimate relations with one woman, and so that's why we're kind of like sniggering and giggling. That's sex Law. So, yes, initially it was the thought of as gang-related activities, to then something quite naughty, and then it went back to meaning participating in gang-related activities. I don't know how that happens.

Speaker 2:

So as the word sort of drifted in and out of access, of acceptability the word is because, because yeah, it's grab In and out. Yeah, that's another way of saying it, anna. Yeah, because in Scrabble, like rude or taboo or swear words are not allowed, which I find completely wrong and disappointing, because I mean, you know why exclude the swear words?

Speaker 1:

Maybe it's because it's not family friendly.

Speaker 2:

Oh, yeah, yeah, Okay, if you're playing it with your grandma and you write, you know you put down gang bang and then you know she said well, it's in the rules, grandma. You're allowed to use that word.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

I suppose they're just trying to prevent those sort of family potential problems that could be caused by writing extremely rude words on a board. I mean, you know, depends how committed you are to winning the game, doesn't it really? If you're like I'm going to risk it all and I'm going to, I'm going to write gang bang. I don't care what my grandparents think, I want to win this game and I'm prepared to defend my choice. I'll Google it in front of them if I have to.

Speaker 1:

And display the trophy with pride.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so that's Scrabble. We'll leave that there, okay, yeah, so some. I think when it comes to board games, you're either a lover of games that really take strategy and thinking so the like strategic games that you have to use your brain or they're just a game of chance, and I guess, with younger children, a lot of their board games tend to be just rolling a dice or, you know, picking the right card. It's all a game of chance. For example, snakes and ladders, the old classic snakes and ladders, yeah.

Speaker 1:

You just have to get the right numbers and work your way up the board. And what happens if you land on a ladder?

Speaker 2:

You climb up it. If you land on a snake's head, just like in the real world, you slide all the way down, all the way down to its tail.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

I mean it's not based in, it's not a very realistic game. I suppose You're more likely to get bitten by the snake, I suppose, especially if you land on its head. But anyway, yeah, in terms of the game, yeah, climb up the ladder. If you land at the bottom of it, if you're lucky enough, and if you land on a snake's head, you slide all the way down to the bottom and it's yeah the drama, slide all the way down. But yeah, the kids love it because it's pretty simple stuff.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, aging up again, one of the things I used to play a lot as a child was trivial pursuit. Did you ever play that?

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, I love for a bit of trivial pursuit.

Speaker 1:

What do you love about it?

Speaker 2:

I think the trivia more than the pursuit. In fact I'm quite happy sometimes to just get the box of cards and just like, just ask me some questions. Let's ask each other questions. You know, never mind about these bits of different coloured cheese in a wheel, like what. Just ask the questions, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's right. I called it a pie in the notes, but you're right, it's a wheel and it's cheeses, right.

Speaker 2:

Well, I don't know, because, like when you play trivial pursuit, people will just decide to call it a pie or cheese. It's cheese pies.

Speaker 1:

I don't.

Speaker 2:

I don't know really, but that's not written in the rules, is it? I don't know segments segments.

Speaker 1:

It sounds really familiar. As soon as you said cheese, that really made sense to me. I was like, yeah, that's what we used to call it. I couldn't remember. I'm sure that's what it's written as you have a cheese.

Speaker 2:

Because trivial pursuit. It's got a kind of air of slight sophistication about it and sort of oh, we're very clever and sophisticated, we know things about science and geography and the history and literature and the arts. I don't think they're referring to those pieces as cheeses. I think they call them segments.

Speaker 1:

Oh yes.

Speaker 2:

I guess, so I would imagine, so that would be sensible.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so for those listening, trivial pursuit is basically a round board game. It has a big circle that you have to get around and as you keep going around it with your little piece that has loads of segments that are empty, you have to fill up your let's call it a pie. You have to fill up your pie with all these little pieces, and you get those pieces by landing on different colors, which are different topics. So you have things like sports and leisure, geography, arts and literature, things like that, so different topics of questions, and every time you land on a square you get asked that question. If you can answer it, you get your cheese or your segment, or whatever it is you get your cheese.

Speaker 1:

And when you fill up your entire Pie wheel, then you no longer have to keep going around. You can move up the middle and it's the first person to then get and you have to roll the exact number. It's so frustrating to get into the middle and then you're the winner, and I think that's the downfall of the game. Like you said, the fun is the trivia is answering the questions. The boring bit is having to roll the dice and get the right numbers to get to where you need to be.

Speaker 2:

But it's quite clever in the way that they've made the game, where if it wasn't for the board and the cheeses and the pies and going around and collecting cheese and going to the middle, if it wasn't for that, it would essentially just be a list of questions and a different topic. It could have sold it as a book.

Speaker 1:

This is gone to the pub.

Speaker 2:

But no, obviously this is the joy of the board game as a thing that there's a board and you wait your turn, you roll some dice and the ritual of a board game is a fantastic thing. And so, yeah, let's just turn a quiz into a board game, and they've done a very good job. It's one of the most successful board games that's ever been created.

Speaker 1:

Lots of versions of it. I think for me one of the downfalls is that it does go out of date. If you're young, it goes out of date for you quite quickly. So I was quite young when I started playing this and there were questions about like politics and things I was a kid I had no idea about. If you had like arts and leisure and it's about movies and things it could be very much of its time and not as relevant or well known.

Speaker 2:

So also quite American centric as well. Some of the early, maybe the first edition, that's the one I think that we've got at my parents' house. It's always funny playing Trivial Pursuit with my parents that edition because there's always a moment where everyone sort of sneers at the game. This is written by an American, you know, because all the questions are about American public figures and Americanness and.

Speaker 2:

American that I think so. It's always quite funny when that I mean, at some point someone gets it wrong and they're this is an American, isn't it who wrote this?

Speaker 1:

You can always update the cards just by a fresh box, I guess.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I'm just what them in.

Speaker 1:

I'm going to ask you a few questions now.

Speaker 2:

Okay.

Speaker 1:

Are you ready?

Speaker 2:

No but. I'll answer them anyway.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so this one is a. What topic is this? It gives you a clue when you know the topic. So this is a sports and leisure question.

Speaker 2:

Sports and leisure Okay.

Speaker 1:

True or false, competitive tickling exists. Competitive tickling, that's when you tickle someone like when you like, rub them with your fingers to make them laugh.

Speaker 2:

The ribs under the arms, the soles of the feet, competitive tickling, true or false? I'm going to say it's true, I think it's true.

Speaker 1:

You are correct, you get a cheese, oh brilliant Competitive tickling.

Speaker 2:

Yeah Right, I wonder what the rules are for that that you Maybe it's that you have to make the other person wet themselves laughing. You get bonus points. If, if, if, yeah, if they wet themselves.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I'm going to divulge. My dad with our younger used to tickle me until it was just uncomfortable. Yeah, just tickle me. And I'd be like, no, please stop, please, stop, please stop. And once he tickled me until I wet myself.

Speaker 2:

Oh my God, really.

Speaker 1:

It was horrendous. I was like look what you made me do. It was so good at tickling and I just I couldn't resist. It was awful.

Speaker 2:

Well, when you know someone and you know that you, you know exactly how to tickle them, then it's very hard not to tickle them, isn't it? But, you should probably stop before that person has to change the trousers.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I was a child. I mean, it's not like I did this as an adult, you know. So we'll forgive me for that one. But the next question on my list is a science and nature.

Speaker 2:

F? E is the abbreviation of which elements on the periodic table? Okay, I did study chemistry at school. Good, I think this is one of the only ones I remember, along with AU, which is gold AU no, there's no joke there. You think about it, but F? E is. Is it iron?

Speaker 1:

That's right.

Speaker 2:

Yes.

Speaker 1:

Done, you get two stars or two cheeses. Confuse the game, okay. Last question, because I don't want to drag this out too much, okay, okay, a and L is arts and literature. Which classic novel opens with the line call me Ishmael.

Speaker 2:

Call me Ishmael. I don't know. I have no idea. I should probably guess, but I'm not going to.

Speaker 1:

Okay, but I don't know who is what's that Moby Dick.

Speaker 2:

Oh right.

Speaker 1:

I should have known that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, have you read it?

Speaker 1:

I haven't read it. Have you read it?

Speaker 2:

No, I haven't read it, but I'd like to read it, but I'm put off by the fact that it's exceedingly long.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, like war and peace.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, exactly Okay.

Speaker 1:

So I have one question for the listeners at home, so please don't answer this, Luke. You can message me later if you think you know the answer. If you are listening and you're listening or watching on YouTube, then you can write the answer in the comments. The question is what is the only country to start with the letter O?

Speaker 2:

Don't Google it folks.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, don't cheat.

Speaker 2:

Use your brain.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so that's trivial pursuit. So now, one of the most played board games in the world, and it's also the most owned board or board game in the UK, is what do you think?

Speaker 2:

Hmm, hmm.

Speaker 1:

Like a standard piece of kit in a cluedo. Oh no, I don't have a cluedo set here.

Speaker 2:

Oh, okay, so it's not cluedo. Well, can we go back to the classics like chess, chess, okay.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I feel like chess is an ancient game or something.

Speaker 1:

It is. It dates back to the sixth century.

Speaker 2:

Sixth century, not the sixth century, where everyone was sick with the plague.

Speaker 1:

Well, they probably were quite sick in the sixth century.

Speaker 2:

I expect so, but the sixth century, so that's 500 to 599 AD.

Speaker 1:

I'll trust you on that one.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I don't do mental maths.

Speaker 2:

I'm pretty sure that's right. Okay, it's the Dark Ages.

Speaker 1:

It's a very old game, which means that some of the rules and the way the players move on the board is quite bizarre really. Can you remember what all the you said in the previous episode? Our little chat about Monopoly, that you don't really do chess?

Speaker 2:

I love chess. Don't get me wrong, I love chess. I'm fascinated by chess. I do play chess sometimes, but it's a little beyond me. But I know the rules. So you've got your castles. I call them castles on the corners.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, they're supposed to be, because I call them castles too, but aren't they like rook? Are they rooks, rooks?

Speaker 2:

Rooks. Yeah, that's right. They should be called rooks, I think. And they go horizontally and vertically. Then you've got so straight lines I just think about. They go in straight lines, straight lines, exactly Left right up down.

Speaker 1:

But then I guess a diagonal is a straight. If it's straight, it doesn't deviate.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah True.

Speaker 1:

It's not curved. Is it Diagonal? No Straight line.

Speaker 2:

Anyway, Up down, left right, these are the rooks.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Then you've got the knights or horses, the little horses yeah little horses and they do an interesting L shape which is quite interesting. They can go forward three and right one, or forward three and left one. Is it forward three?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it is forward three From the one they're on, then two forward from there right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, they can kind of go in any direction in that pattern, or they can go right and then, oh, it's just L shapes.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, L shapes, so it's actually two From the square they're on. They can only move two more squares forward.

Speaker 2:

Oh, is it two.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I don't think it's three because if you're starting your horse or your knight. You can jump over. It's the only player that can.

Speaker 2:

Of course it's two.

Speaker 1:

Jump, so it jumps over the pawn. We'll come back to those. Jump over the pawn and then move across Right. There's only two forward and one across.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, okay, and in any variation of that pattern, basically, which is interesting? And then you've got the bishops.

Speaker 1:

Oh yes, they're wonky lines, they go in diagonal lines.

Speaker 2:

You've got one on the white squares, one on the black squares, and they can command the diagonal lines, as it were, axes, axes.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And then you've got the queen and the king. The queen is the boss of the game.

Speaker 1:

It's amazing, isn't it?

Speaker 2:

Brilliant yeah. He's so strong as a player that the king Fully the strongest player on the board, but the king is bloody useless in terms of being able to do anything. All the king does is run away, doesn't he? Or hide.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, behind all the other players.

Speaker 2:

He can take pieces, but it's rare. But the queen is just amazing, she can go straight lines, diagonal lines.

Speaker 1:

She can't do a horse move, though, or a knight move, correct?

Speaker 2:

She can't do that, she can't jump like that, yeah, and the king can only. Can move in any direction, but only one square at a time.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, which is exactly the same as oh no, Porns, they can only move one square.

Speaker 2:

Two squares. So their first move, they can go two.

Speaker 1:

That's right, their first steps. But they can't move backwards, they can only move forwards.

Speaker 2:

They take other pieces by going diagonally.

Speaker 1:

Diagonally. That's right, but when they get to the end, you can swap them for any player that's been taken off the board.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you can so if you've lost your queen, but one little pawn is just like made it all the way to the end somehow. Yeah, and all the others have like wait a minute, where's that pawn gone?

Speaker 1:

Oh, he's got to the end.

Speaker 2:

And then you could replace that one with a queen and suddenly pow, I'm back, bitches.

Speaker 1:

You can have two queens on the board at any one time as well, right?

Speaker 2:

So if you already.

Speaker 1:

I think if you already have your queen and then you get A pawn to the other end, maybe this is a bad rule that I've been playing.

Speaker 2:

People listening do know more about chess than us. This is just. Luke and Anna talk about a game they don't really understand.

Speaker 1:

Well, I taught myself chess as a young child from a book that was also pretty old and I wasn't very good at reading at the time. So you know I'm probably making some rules up as I go.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

But yeah, chess is one of those games that if you understand it and if you've got the kind of mind that can remember strategies and you can think several moves ahead, then it could be over really quickly. And people play speed chess, don't they? Where they're just like pow pow, pow, pow pow.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

They're hitting the clock and moving their piece and it's just done, whereas when I play chess, I often get to the point where there's just two pieces left to play a piece per player and you're just constantly moving around the board trying to, and you just can't end the game until you just go, you know what I give up, I give up.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, there's just two pieces chasing each other around the board. It's completely stupid. But yeah, I mean it's a fascinating game, though, because of the level of intelligence that can be applied to it, and these chess grandmasters are absolutely amazing.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so there's two that I've got in the notes, which is Magnus Carlson and Beth Harmon. Now, there was a really interesting drama that was made about Beth Harmon and that was called the Queen's Gambit, which is really, even if you're not into chess, if you're interested in chess it was still a really great drama that I recommend to viewers Listen.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Did you watch it?

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, I did watch it yeah.

Speaker 1:

Do you know what gambit means?

Speaker 2:

Isn't a gambit, a sort of a strategy, like a kind of a move that you would do, a kind of specific strategic move?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's like a clever move or a clever opening move that gives you an advantage but it's not necessarily seen or deemed to be an advantageous move. So like giving up your queen or giving up a valuable piece going. Oh, you just took my queen. How silly of me. But, really you've got something in mind that you're like their next move Checkmate pow. I tricked you.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. There's a lot of obviously kind of mental strategy involved in it too, in the sense of like coming into a game of chess sitting in front of your opponent. We're a bit like in a game of poker or something your opponent will yeah, you poker face, or you maybe use your opponent's first impressions of you against them. So every now and then, YouTube will suggest these chess videos to me, and it's. There's a girl I can't remember her name now, unfortunately, but she is sort of in her 20s. I think both her parents were chess grandmasters.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

And so she's fairly like. So she goes to these chess games in the park, you know, in like New York or other cities in the States where there are these guys who spend their whole day there playing chess with each other and they do a lot of like trash talking While they're playing the game. These guys are trash talking and sort of you know bantering and sort of talking up their game quite a lot. And this girl comes in. She doesn't look like she's going to be a chess grandmaster and so these guys are super confident and they totally underestimate her and they trash talk her and stuff and she like gives quite a good trash talk back. It's really interesting to watch. I don't really I don't understand what's going on on the board. You can see the board on the screen as well. I don't understand it, I can't work out the moves, but it's interesting just to see the behavior of these opponents of hers change when they're like the realization.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, they're giving it all this really really overconfident talk and then after about five or six moves they changed totally and they're like oh, oh, oh, oh, this is going to be difficult, oh, it's going to be difficult. Oh, you don't move on me now. You know all this kind of thing and it's just really funny to see the interaction and to see how they deal with the fact that actually she's really good and often it's only within about four or five moves that they can work out that she's really, she really knows what she's doing, and they work it out just within a few moves and you think, my God, the way these guys are playing, they're just like thinking so far ahead. You know all the possibilities. It is like kind of like you have to have a very mathematical mind in a way to be able to do all these different algorithms and calculations all instantly Amazing.

Speaker 1:

So it's like being what's the term? Like being a card shark. If someone or there's a term where, like when people come into play pool and they put some money down and say, a hustler, that's it you can hustle people and be like oh yeah, I don't really know what I'm doing, but let's put a hundred pounds on it. A hundred pounds, yeah sure. And then you're like I'm amazing.

Speaker 2:

I'm going to win. Well, you lose your first game on purpose and you're like you know what I want to try again. You know I'm enjoying this. Let's raise the stakes, let's do it for five hundred dollars this time and they're like sure, ok, if you really want to, you know, maybe I can teach you a thing or two. And then they really raise their game and suddenly they've made loads of money from those people.

Speaker 1:

Pow. Talking about money, how much do you think the most expensive chessboard in the world is? Because you can get all sorts of different, like gorgeous chessboards, but what's the most expensive? The?

Speaker 2:

most expensive chessboard in the world In dollars.

Speaker 1:

Let's do it in dollars.

Speaker 2:

I don't know. I mean, we talked about the most expensive monopoly board being two million dollars. I think the chessboard is going to be more. I'd say it's going to be five million dollars, all made of pure diamond.

Speaker 1:

You can double that or just about double it. Nine point eight million dollars is the most expensive. It's a dual royale chessboard and the pieces are obviously quite heavy. They're made of pure gold. So they're not gold plated, they're made of pure gold and encrusted with diamonds and other precious gems. Jesus, and it would probably be like too magnificent to play with you. Just look at it. Keep it in a locked cabinet.

Speaker 2:

It does raise the question why buy that if you're not even going to Like? It's an object that's designed to be played and you're just going to leave it? Well, it'd be a statement, wouldn't it? Yeah?

Speaker 1:

Don't touch the chessboard. Very good, I do like to have a nice chessboard. I have bought chessboards as gifts for people. I think it is something nice to have in the house, just, you know, like having a globe in the house which you know opens up to reveal the drink. I don't drink very much anymore, but I used to have one of those Having a nice chessboard. I think these are just nice pieces of not furniture but things to have around the house.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely chessboards. They can be very beautiful things indeed, that's true, and there's something very satisfying about the objects if they're very nicely made. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

And another classic, of course, which we talked about on your podcast, is Monopoly. Now, I'm not going to go deep into this, but this is the kind of game that can really bring families together and teach them some really good lessons, but also has a reputation for tearing families apart and causing horrendous arguments. But there is a really interesting fact about Monopoly that we didn't cover in your podcast, so it might be good to touch on now. In World War II, the Nazis let Allied prisoners prisoners of war play board games.

Speaker 2:

That's nice of them. Yeah, it is very nice of them.

Speaker 1:

So the British government was even allowed to send some of these games to the soldiers who were incarcerated. So the government kind of worked with the game producers to hide items and like real money within the game. So in the stash of paper money they'd hide real bills and then rather than the kind of the tokens, the pieces that you'd play with, they gave them like little things that they could use to escape, like lockpicks and things like that oh my gosh.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and files, so they could like file their way out of their chains and whatever.

Speaker 2:

Sort of like hidden within the box or within the board or something, or even the little items themselves could be used to like file away the bars of a jail or something.

Speaker 1:

It's just here. Oh compasses.

Speaker 2:

Wow, and they actually used them to escape. That's incredible.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so I'm going to move on quickly because I know that you're pressed for time. I love that expression. Just be pressed for time. You're running short on it. So, some of the more unusual games that I would still call classics because they were a big part of my childhood. The first is kaplunk. Did you ever play kaplunk?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, we had a kaplunk game at my grandma's house.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and this is quite unusual. It's not a typical board game, although it is listed as a board game. It's like a plastic tube with a new shove loads of plastic straws to block the tube.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, lots of yeah, yeah and needles kind of thing stuck inside little holes in the tube.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, Very long ones and they're not sharp. Are they Child safe? Yeah, and then you and they block the way to the bottom of this like tube. And then you, you pour loads of marbles in the top.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

And then the idea is to remove these kind of straws or needles without dislodging any of the marbles. And at some point you remove a needle and some marbles come crashing down. But that's not the end of the game, it's only the end. But all the marbles have fallen. So, you have to get to the end without having too many marbles.

Speaker 2:

If you're the one who lets the last marble fall, you lose, yeah yeah. So it's kind of along the lines of like the Jenga, you know game that everyone knows Jenga, and also there's another one where you have these sticks with different colors and you let the sticks all fall in a pile and then you have to pick up the sticks without letting the other sticks move.

Speaker 1:

Oh, I haven't played that one.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, they play in France quite a lot. So you get a bunch of these sticks. They've got different colors on them that represent different points. Some of them are more valuable than others and you have to very carefully take the sticks away from the pile without letting the others move. And it's really interesting you can use other sticks to help you prize them off. They've got pointed ends so you can press your finger down on the end and it makes the stick lift off the table. But it's not really a pub game, because if you've had a couple of drinks then you're like, oh, let's play the stick game. And then you know you've got to be very careful when you play it, is it called pick up sticks?

Speaker 2:

I can't remember. It may be Maybe that's the UK version, I don't know. I can't remember what they call it in France.

Speaker 1:

Now, Well, the being very careful reminds me of one of my most fun games of my childhood is the game of operation.

Speaker 2:

Oh God, can't stand it. Why do you get nervous? You just can't stand operation, can't do it. It's just horrible. Like I don't know Again, maybe I had a bad experience of playing it with other kids when I was young and it was just, you know, one of those times we were at someone's house and it was horrible. But no, no no One.

Speaker 1:

very fun game that I'm sure you would like is Hungry Hippos.

Speaker 2:

Hungry Hippos. Yeah, it's fun to an extent.

Speaker 1:

Well, as much as bashing Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang bang.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, bang, bang, bang. Get the hippos to eat all of the red balls. If they get yellow balls, that's even better, right? Because there's red balls and a couple of yellow balls in there too, which are worth more points. And da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da, that's good for me. Now. Ten minutes maximum is all I can. Da-da-da-da-da-da-da, you know what? Let's? Can we just play Monopoly instead?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, my sons love to play it over and over and over again, but then they also like stashing. So at one point my two-year-old would just start taking the marbles. Well, I'm playing with my four-year-old and putting them in different places, like one in the kitchen, one inside the crocodile's mouth, one in the cupboard and it's like where have all the marbles gone? What's happened?

Speaker 2:

Another reason why the game makes me uncomfortable. Just, it's quite a messy game, it's just. No, it makes me a bit uncomfortable and stressed a bit like operation.

Speaker 1:

Yes, well, one very messy game that you might not have heard of is Monster Mash.

Speaker 2:

No, don't know it no.

Speaker 1:

So I've never been able to find this, but we played it as kids and it's basically you each have a big lump of Play-Doh with a monster's head stuck in the top and that's your piece. And you just go around a very basic board when you're rolling the dice and when you land on someone you just mash your monster on top of their monster and kind of just take over them like the body snatchers and your monster becomes twice as big and that person is out because you just mashed them, until you become this humongous four-piece, four-bodied monster, having mashed the other players on the board.

Speaker 2:

OK yeah, again, no, not for me, because Play-Doh, of all the kids toys, play-doh is not one of my. I can't no, no.

Speaker 1:

Wow.

Speaker 2:

It's too messy and it makes me feel uncomfortable.

Speaker 1:

It is messy. It is messy. I love Play-Doh. I think the kids have a really great time with Play-Doh. It keeps them quiet. So we always take Play-Doh in the backpack when we're at restaurants or going out somewhere.

Speaker 1:

And they just play for hours with the Play-Doh. My sister-in-law said I hate Play-Doh, just like you. It's too messy, too messy. But then asked what would your children like as a present for Christmas? And I said they love Play-Doh. How about like a Play-Doh set? Play-doh do all kinds of sets, so why not maybe like the dentist set, where the Play-Doh are the teeth and they can practice dental hygiene, oral hygiene, or maybe the pizza-making set? She's like leave it with me, I'll sort it out. I don't like Play-Doh myself, it's too messy, but leave it with me. Guess what she got.

Speaker 2:

The messiest Play-Doh set she could find.

Speaker 1:

It's the Hoover Play-Doh set, where you have a sprinkler that makes tiny, teeny, weeny, little teeny pieces of Play-Doh and spreads it all over so that then you can then Hoover it up. But the Hoover is, you know, there's no way to take it apart, and so it's just full of Play-Doh. So if you want to save any of the Play-Doh and it's to work again, you have to pick it all out. It's horrific.

Speaker 2:

Oh, stop, it sounds like my worst nightmare, like a game that's designed to turn Play-Doh into Play-Doh dust. Oh no, no, can't, can't do it.

Speaker 1:

OK, so I'm going to bring it to a close because I know you've got no more time, but one of the more recent players in the gaming market is one that's caused a lot of hilarity, and it's cards against humanity.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, not a kids game. So, going from Play-Doh and Hungry Hippos and Operation, which are absolutely children's games, to cards against humanity, which is definitely want to play when the kids are in bed, fast asleep, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

It's a set of cards that are just Just a lot of them. It's just filth, right. It's the kind of thing that will shock and, yeah, just break it.

Speaker 2:

Disgust yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

It's the most shocking and disgusting and offensive stuff that they could think of that they put into the game.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, I've had a few awkward evenings with people like neighbours that we're just trying to get to know and they're like should we play cards against humanity? Yeah, yeah, sure, yeah, awkward, very awkward. Or, grandma, I saw this new game. Apparently it's quite popular.

Speaker 2:

It's got a very high rating on Amazon OK.

Speaker 1:

Grandma. What does this word mean? Maybe don't Google that Grandma, so how does cards against humanity work?

Speaker 2:

again, it's basically, I can't remember now, yeah.

Speaker 1:

So it's something like creating sentences. Yeah, you have to put sentences together. It gives you some horrific endings or beginnings of sentences and you have to complete it or something.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's right. There's a sort of a beginning of a statement and then you've got a number of cards in your hand and you have to choose the card which you think is best to complete that statement.

Speaker 2:

And all the cards in your hand are horrible, offensive, rude things. I mean it's fun when you're with your friends, of course, because it's just a thing that makes everyone shocked and it can be laugh out loud funny when you're with people that you know and you know that there's no danger of offending anyone. It's all just for fun and you can come out with some pretty hilarious and disgusting things. You pass your card in and the person who's turned it is reads out all of the statements and then everyone decides which one they think is the best.

Speaker 1:

Yes, the one that's the funniest. Yeah, yeah, that one wins. Yeah, that's right. So on that note, thank you so much, luke, for joining me. Listeners, if you are interested in hearing a little bit more of a deep dive into Monopoly, then do head it to the show notes to go and listen to that other episode on Luke's channel, luke's English podcast. Thank you so much.

Speaker 2:

Thank you, anna. It's really good fun. I'd love to just play a board game now, but I've got to go to the supermarket and then cook dinner you know the way.

Speaker 1:

There's important life stuff coming up. So you've, got to get your game in order.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, the real game of life.

Speaker 1:

The game of life, yeah, yeah, ok, thank you.

Speaker 2:

Lovely to speak to you again, anna.

Speaker 1:

And you take care, you too, and bye, bye-bye.

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