Getting Together by Games

Main themes: Being together, friends, games, parties, fun, alcohol and coziness

By Carina and Sigrid (Bjerringbro High school)


Game night

The food is in the oven, the candlelights are lit and on the table cold beers and snacks are ready for the guests. The scene it set for a cosy evening with the card game “Canasta as the main event.  When the guests arrive, we open the first beer, and the evening begins. The participants have all been looking forward to an evening of playing games, but where the gathering of good friends is the essential part. While they wait for the food to finish the guests start playing at the big table in the dining room and the atmosphere quickly becomes even better.

The four players pair up according to gender - the males against the females. They pick one person to note the points, and the game begins. They play until the food is ready and they pause the game to eat the delicious dinner, which the hosts have prepared for them. After the dinner, they continue the game, and more beer and wine is served. In this case, the beers, the wine and the snacks are used to create a cosy atmosphere and satisfy the players during the evening. The players start talking more and the game is suddenly pushed aside in favour of the interesting conversations and funny jokes, which arise during the game. Torben, one of the male players, says with a smile to his partner: “Come on Paw, focus! It’s your turn!”. Paw laughs, looks at his cards and makes a move, but it is hard for him to detach from the funny joke he just heard. The game continues until midnight, and the guests leave with the feeling that this type of night will definitely happen again.


Bar games

Thomas opens a beer in the basement at the high school in the renovated bar. Young students at the school meet here every other Friday to relax and start the weekend with good friends. They are all sitting at the worn table with writings all over, and the bar quickly gets crowded with students who just got off from class. In the homemade wooden bar, more beers and sweet alcoholic drinks are passed over the desk. The students are ready for a fun afternoon. Once again, the alcohol is used to create a fun and cosy atmosphere, but in this case it is also to get a little drunk after a stressful week. To get the party started, they start playing several games, which makes them drink even more. For example, they play the dice-game  “Meyer”, and other games that involves drinking.

The focus on the games does not last long. The students get more unrestrained and unfocused. People stop listening and the game is not important anymore. Now they want to talk and have a good time, and they forget about the game. The music keeps on playing and the students stay until the bar closes at 4.30 p.m.


Getting together by games

Playing cards and dices is used for several purposes. We have seen two different kinds of occasions where they are used in different ways. At the gathering of adult friends, the games are used as the pivotal point for the evening, and many people are gathered around the games time after time so it becomes sort of a tradition. In this case they build the evening around the game “Canasta”, and make it a whole evening of fun among good friends. They do not get together just to play the game, but it is the game that gathers them. In the bar, the game is used to get things started. They also use it to join people at the party, but they quickly find other things to gather around. They are more interested in having a good time and drinking with their friends. As mentioned before, they get more drunk and unfocused as the afternoon proceeds, so they start talking and the game breaks up. Even though the young students does not plan to play games at the bar, it often happens, so you could say that it has become an expected event in the bar. However, even though the primary meaning of the games seems to be the way they join people and get conversations started.

In both cases, the games are actually not as important as you would think. Of course the games play a role in the gathering of friends, but when they are gathered, the games are not that important anymore. The gathered friends just want to be with each other and have a good time, and the game could easily be removed at this point.

We have been focusing on two different age groups: adults and young students. But many different age groups can play cards, dices and board games. Small children can play more simple games like jigsaw puzzles and with playing cards you have a lot of opportunities to regulate the level of the game, so that the game will fit the age of the players. Games are very popular in Denmark, and we have learned that games are used in different ways. Many people use games to create a returning tradition, and as an activity to create a social gathering of friends, which seems to be more important than the actual game.