With all of the entertainment options available today, why do people still play word games? It turns out that there are some very good reasons why wordplay remains popular. It isn't just that people are trying to be retro cool, although many of the games in this book might have been played by your grandparents' grandparents (and they just might have been better at them than you are).
One thing word games have going for them is that they require your active participation, which is a refreshing change from the growing trend toward passive entertainment. There once was a time when people actually played sports rather than watched them, made up stories rather than turned on the television, and even sang songs rather than put on a CD. You can enjoy most books by passively reading the pages, but here you will be required to actively participate by working the puzzles!
Word games can also bring people together socially, something that is less common as we spend more time at home watching television. Most of the games in this book can be played with others — family at home, friends at parties, strangers on a bus, the kids in the car — whoever, wherever. Word games are portable and no expensive equipment is required. People of all ages and from all walks of life can play together.
Mental exercise is another thing that word games offer. Let's face it; a neural workout is not the goal of most modern forms of entertainment. But research shows that mental exercise is important to keep your brain fit, just as physical exercise keeps your body in shape.
Contrary to popular belief, recent studies indicate that with mental exercise your brain can continue to grow as you age. Word games are a fun way to get your daily mental workout.
And you just might learn something practical by playing word games. Of course, words are the fundamental building blocks of human communication. So the more you know about words and how to use them, the more effective you can be at communicating with others. Many of the puzzles in this book will help build your vocabulary and expand your word power.
People enjoy word games because they are a form of play. As every child instinctively knows, play is important business and a way to experiment and explore our world in a safe environment. Even babies enjoy wordplay, delighting with the repetition and rhymes of words and sounds. Word games give us a way to play again, something that is often left behind as we grow older.
For all of these reasons people have been enjoying wordplay for thousands of years, in all cultures of the world. You will learn some of the history of the word games presented in this book. The games are all the more fun knowing that people generations ago enjoyed the same word challenges.
One thing you should know about the puzzles in this book is that they were not designed for word geniuses. You might be able to solve some of the puzzles in a matter of seconds, while others might take hours of thought and repeated attempts. This book presents a smorgasbord of word challenges, so there should be something for nearly everyone.