Beach House Diaries: 7 Tips for Board Games at a Vacation Home

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Board games provide old-school entertainment -- and I do mean old. Backgammon dates back 5,000-odd years; and Senet, an Egyptian invention, is even more ancient (elaborate sets were left in King Tut's tomb, presumably so that he could keep trouncing his minions in the afterlife). Following these hints will help you carry on the tradition at your own vacation home.
  • When pieces get lost (as they inevitably do), suss out replacements on eBay or buy a cheap duplicate game at a thrift store that you can mine for missing parts.
  • Confused about rules? Try checking the manufacturer's website. Hasbro's Scrabble page, for instance, supplies these as well as solid tips and FAQ answers.
  • Options such as Monopoly and Boggle have junior editions that are ideal for kids who've graduated from Candyland but aren't quite ready for the big leagues.
  • Tired of the usual suspects? Bookmark BoardGameGeek.com. This information-packed website's database includes 65,000-plus variations on the theme.
  • Devotees fascinated by the history of board games can peruse online exhibits at the University of Waterloo's Elliott Avedon Virtual Museum of Games.
  • When all else fails, get creative. Remember, you don't have to buy a Pictionary set -- to play, you really only need a big pad of paper, markers and a word list.
  • Mix things up with a few hands of cards. Learn about new ways to play them at Pagat.com: it's billed as "the largest collection of card game rules on the Internet."

Susan MacCallum-Whitcomb will report on life at a summer beach house in AOL Travel's weekly Beach House Diaries. Follow along with her or share your beach house tips in the comments below.
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Photo by MTSOfan, via Flickr
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