Game Time: Games to help the ADHD Brain Tune up and Tune In!

This week on the show, we're talking all about games that may — or may not — improve the ADHD (research is thin!). But they're a lot of fun and might just help you build some new connections for the cold winter nights ahead!

Episode Hosts: ,

Subscribe to Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere else you find your favorite podcasts!

Support The ADHD Podcast and get great perks by becoming a Patron • Learn More and Join Now!

Looking for a little game night fun for friends and family? You’ve come to the right place. This week on the show, we’re talking all about games that may — or may not — improve the ADHD (research is thin!). But they’re a lot of fun and might just help you build some new connections for the cold winter nights ahead!

Links & Notes

Thank you for supporting The ADHD Podcast on Patreon!

Episode Transcript

Brought to you by The ADHD Podcast Community on Patreon

Pete Wright: Hello everybody and welcome to Taking Control, The ADHD Podcast on RashPixel.FM. I’m Pete Wright and right there is Nikki Kinzer. Hello Nikki.

Nikki Kinzer: Hello everyone. Hello Pete Wright.

Pete Wright: As we are recording this, so there’s a little delay but as we are recording this, we’ve just come out of the US Thanksgiving holiday weekend. So a belated Thanksgiving to those if we missed you last week. So we’re recovering. It is a fine Monday morning as we are recovering from being away for a few days. So if we’re moving a little slow, that may be why.

Nikki Kinzer: The recovering. That’s a really good word.

Pete Wright: Yeah. Let’s talk about that.

Nikki Kinzer: I’ll tell you why.

Pete Wright: How are you doing?

Nikki Kinzer: Well, I’m doing okay. I feel like I’ve been beaten up a little bit because I was. I was beaten up. So I had this great idea yesterday, which was Sunday. So this was Sunday after Thanksgiving to put my Christmas decorations up. In our attic we have all of our bins and I had to tell you that the bins … He already knows where this is going. So the bins, my attic is not organized, I mean if you looked at it, you would definitely think it was a hoarder that [crosstalk 00:01:27] small space. It’s extremely dangerous-

Pete Wright: What’d you say? It has been-

Nikki Kinzer: … and I found that out.

Pete Wright: … organized in the past because-

Nikki Kinzer: It has, yeah but-

Pete Wright: We used it, we did a photo shoot there.

Nikki Kinzer: That was like many, many years ago.

Pete Wright: Yeah, Oh God.

Nikki Kinzer: So anyway, yes, it’s very dangerous. So there’s this little small path and it’s actually a pretty good size attic because you can walk in and it’s not an attic that you have to like go up a ladder or anything. I mean, I walk right in and it’s part of the house. I mean it’s hard to explain. But anyway, there was this little path where I could see the decorations, I mean the bins. So I went to get the bins and my daughter was helping me and I looked where they were sitting and I thought, “I didn’t think that we could be on that part of the attic because it’s not wooden, it’s not wood, but yet here are these bins that are on that part of the attic.” So I go and I do my thing.

Pete Wright: because it’s just like dry wall like over the rafters. It’s not like ply.

Nikki Kinzer: Well part of it is like the majority of it is ply, but that’s where like the hoarding is happening. So I had to go to the other part of the attic-

Pete Wright: Which has no subfloor there.

Nikki Kinzer: Which has no. No, because I didn’t realize that my husband had actually put boards underneath the bins so that they would stay. Like, I didn’t connect that you needed to have a board where the bins were. So I’m getting the last bin and I am not kidding, I slipped through my roof.

Pete Wright: Oh God, Nikki. I mean I’m only laughing because you’re obviously standing here today.

Nikki Kinzer: I know.

Pete Wright: Nikki what happened [inaudible 00:03:29].

Nikki Kinzer: It was one of the scariest things I have ever experienced in my life. I seriously thought I was going to die or I was going to like break every bone in my body. I had one leg hanging and then I had the other leg … I know it’s like a Thanksgiving miracle/Christmas vacation experience. It was awful. So my daughter’s like, “Nikki, are you okay?” I’m like, “No, I’m I’m not okay.” She said, mom, she’s like, “Mom, are you okay?” I’m like, “No, I’m not.” I’m like, “I am through the roof, like I am dangling.” So they had …

Pete Wright: At this point, what is below you? I mean, I know as you’re through, what room are you-

Nikki Kinzer: The garage.

Pete Wright: What room are you … You’re in the garage.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. [crosstalk 00:04:39].

Pete Wright: Your legs sticking out of your living room.

Nikki Kinzer: No. Out of the garage. So I look down and all I see is, I mean because my garage is a mess too. So I’m like, “Oh my gosh, if I fall, what am I going to fall on?” Because it looks like a hoarding episode two. It’s so bad. So I have one leg dangling and then I have the other leg up on the attic and I’m holding on like this. Like I’m holding on for dear life and I’m sitting there thinking, “Oh my God, I’m going to fall through the roof because if it went through my foot, my leg, if I’m sitting here, I’m going to fall. Like I am going to fall.” So daughter goes and gets my husband and he’s like, “Oh, we’re going to get you out, we’re going to get you out.” But then he starts walking on the part that I fell on, although he knows that it’s supported, because he knows where the boards are and everything. But I totally panic because I’m like, “No, you can’t stand there. You’re going to get hurt. You’re going to fall. Like we’re both going to fall.” So I’m totally panicking, not really connecting-

Pete Wright: You had the same image of your entire attic floor just falling into the … Yeah, I get it.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes. And believe me-

Pete Wright: I’m lightheaded here. This is …

Nikki Kinzer: … it would be much worse for my husband to fall than it would be for me, much worse, right because you know that scenario thing. So I was like, “No, you can’t.” So I’m like adamant. I’m like, “You got to get out. You can’t do that. He’s like, ”Nikki, it’s okay. I am standing on the wood thing.“ And I’m like, ”No, I mean, it was awful.“ So anyway, between him and my daughter they pulled me out. But he said when he heard my daughter say, ”Mom fell through the roof, mother fell through the roof.“ He looked in the garage and he said I can see your leg. He’s like, he wanted you to take a picture, but then he’s like, I can’t because you would be really mad if I like took the second to take a picture. But I’m like kind of wish he would have now because it’s really quite funny. Then I look back at the hole and I’m like, ”Oh my gosh, what did I do?" Just thinking that I like really trashed our house. Anyway so-

Pete Wright: Don’t fix the hole. You got to leave the hole as like a Memorial.

Nikki Kinzer: We’re going to fix the hole because-

Pete Wright: It’s going to be important to know where not to stand.

Nikki Kinzer: I know, I know. Why I feel so beat up though is because when you fall like that, you don’t come out with nothing. So like my whole left leg is completely bruised from the knee to basically the ankle. I have a bruise on my shoulder. I have a bruise on my head underneath my chin, on my arms. Then the worst one is on my side and it’s nasty. It’s like it’s swollen and it’s really bad. So I feel very sore. I do feel like somebody just like kick the crap out of me. All of my plans-

Pete Wright: [inaudible 00:08:14] you got to get in your chiropractic, you probably need that because that’s very jarring to fall [crosstalk 00:08:24] and probably throw yourself out.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. But anyway, I am fine and it was a funny story.

Pete Wright: Oh my God my glasses are fogging up. I’m crying here.

Nikki Kinzer: I know it was quite the story and my husband and I and my daughter had a lot of fun kind of talking about it yesterday and kind of going through it too, because they have great sense of humors. So we were talking about how if I had fallen through that I would’ve probably done like a flip and being crazy acrobat. But there were a couple things, so I got to tell you I was really lucky because one of the things that happened is I would have fallen all the way through and would have broken something. I wouldn’t have died because it’s not like far enough from the ground.

Pete Wright: It’s a high ceiling, it’s far.

Nikki Kinzer: It’s a high [crosstalk 00:09:15] ceiling.

Pete Wright: It’s like at least 12 foot ceilings in there.

Nikki Kinzer: It probably would have like hurt me. I mean, I know something would have broken. But what was so interesting and it’s so hard to explain, but there were these plates that we used to have hanging up that my kids when they were little, they would draw on. So it’s almost like chalkboard plate.

Pete Wright: Sure.

Nikki Kinzer: And there was two of them and I remember seeing them when I went in to get the decorations. Well, when I fell or at some point those two plates fell onto the ground where I was at and that’s what I was sitting on. So because I was sitting on those, I didn’t actually go through the roof completely. It was just my leg.

Pete Wright: The plate saved your life.

Nikki Kinzer: Otherwise I would have like gone all the way through. I was also thinking, I am so glad that my daughter was helping me and I can’t imagine if I was doing that by myself. Like what would have happened. So there were a lot of things that were put in place that I was like, it is a Thanksgiving blessing.

Pete Wright: Mom fell through the roof.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes. Mom fell though the roof. Are you okay mom? No, I’m not okay. It was awful.

Pete Wright: Oh God.

Nikki Kinzer: But anyway there you have it. Now we have to move on to games.

Pete Wright: I’m not sure how to do that.

Nikki Kinzer: Let’s talk about games.

Pete Wright: We are going to talk about games today. I’m going to put that on the shirt, it’s just going to have the leg sticking down. It just says, “Mom fell through the roof.” The ADHD Podcast, Thanksgiving 2019.

Nikki Kinzer: Pretty much. And needless to say, my Christmas stuff is not up yet and it probably won’t be for a while.

Pete Wright: No. Okay, all right.

Nikki Kinzer: It derailed and [crosstalk 00:11:18].

Pete Wright: Something has to give. We’re going to be talking about some games today. You know where it came from? Well, I’ll tell you in a minute before we get started. You know what you can do? You can head over to takecontroladhd.com and get to know us a little bit, but you’re not going to find this story on that website though. I feel like this is the story that you get to know us the best. Now this is the high watermark for getting to know beaten Nikki with this today. But you can get to know other stuff at takecontroladhd.com. You can listen to the show right there on the website or subscribe to the mailing list and we’ll send you an email each … [inaudible 00:11:56] the graphic with the little leg. This is going to pay dividends. We’ll send you an email each time a new episode is released. You can connect with us on Twitter or Facebook at Take Control ADHD.

Pete Wright: If this show has ever touched you or if you just want to help Nikki rehabilitate from her activity or Thanksgiving activity, please check out patreon.com/theADHDpodcast. You can support the show with just a few bucks a month. You can get access to the ADHD live stream. You can watch us record this show live on a very private YouTube link every single week that we record. You also get the show early. You get the show a week early if you subscribe to us through Patreon. In addition to the higher level support levels, you get access to our monthly workshop, you get access to easy downloads of all of the past worksheets that we’ve ever done and all the PDFs. It’s all good. Mostly you’re just supporting the ongoing development of this show and we deeply appreciate it. In fact, we count on it. Thank you for your support of the ADHD podcast at patreon.com/theADHDpodcast. Can I start with a quick listener question?

Nikki Kinzer: Yes, please.

Pete Wright: I feel like it’s sort of tied in to my theme this week.

Nikki Kinzer: Oh, good.

Pete Wright: And it came into the general channel just I think this morning and here it is. Good Monday morning y’all, asking for advice on how you guys structure your unstructured time and how you found your hobby or calling. I thrive on extrinsic motivation, for example, deadlines and grades and anything that quantifies my performance and productivity. Of course, I thrive on high pressure environs and hobbies never really provide that for me. So I’m looking for help on how to be an actual person with hobbies or something. I know Take Control ADHD has covered this topic already, but yeah.

Nikki Kinzer: They want more.

Pete Wright: And it ends on the yeah. I just thought, what a good time. If you’re not in the US, I think the stereotypical US kind of Thanksgiving, you go home, you eat a lot on the last Thursday of the month or the fourth Thursday of the month. Is it the last Thursday or fourth? I don’t know. There is a Thursday near the end of November and you eat a ton and you’re hanging out with family and there’s a lot of games and puzzles and things that happen. It’s a good time to reflect on the things that you’re into. What are the things that you do to pass time? So I wanted to ask, how do you handle this, Nikki? How do you help others handle this on structuring your unstructured time and finding a hobby?

Nikki Kinzer: Well, that’s a really good question. And by reading and listening to you actually read the question, what I would say is that make a game out of trying to kind of figure out what your hobby or calling is. I mean, I think that you have to do a little bit of exploration. It may be good to kind of look at maybe some different sports or some different things. Like I just, I watched an interview on one of the hikers that do these hiking, these extraordinary hike up these mountains and it’s insane. But for somebody that has that adrenaline rush that is looking for something like that, that might be something to look into or something along those lines. So I would say just keep looking, keep being open to what interests you. Try it, see what you think. Hobby and calling I think are kind of two different things in my opinion.

Nikki Kinzer: A calling for me is more of like what I do here. I feel like what my work is, is a calling. I love what I do. I love the people I work with. I love working with you. I love doing this podcast. To me, I’m exactly where I need to be, but that’s more of a professional environment. My hobbies are very different, they have nothing to do with ADHD. Because I’m actually more of an introvert, they’re more of hobbies that I do by myself. So I think it’s just a matter of kind of figuring out who you are and trying some stuff out, see what sticks. It’s okay if it doesn’t stick for long because that’s part of your ADHD. Don’t beat yourself up if you are interested in something for a while and then you lose interest. That’s okay. Find something else.

Pete Wright: Well, I mean I come back to it. It is the time to reflect a little bit on some … you can quantify anything. You can set goals and put numbers to anything that you want to get better at. For me, I’ve talked about NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month in the past and that was a thing that really helped me get over the hump of figuring out how to write a fiction novel, a long form piece. I couldn’t have done it without the metric and the graph and the pace, the tracking my words per day, words per hour kind of pace to get to know my relationship with this as a hobby turned professional part of my career. So that was a big deal for me. I think that if you figure out the right metric, you can make anything up sort of relatable hobby that tunes into that part of your brain, that extrinsic motivation.

Pete Wright: In terms of structuring time, I think that’s the bigger question for me because all of the time that I devote to a hobby can become a black hole time sink of doom if I’m not careful. Whether it’s how many DVDs can I rip in a day from my personal collection in order to put them in my online collection so that I can stream them. That’ll take me a year and I’ll lose track of everything and stop eating. So being able to figure out what the limiters are, whether I’m putting false limitations, like fake limitations in the process, like I have to do 15 pushups between every DVD I rip, I don’t know what that is. But some sort of constraint, some sort of wrench in the mix to slow me down or make me stop and reflect on when the last time I ate was. Like, those are the things that I have to think about. But I tried to do, I put it in my calendar. I structure my time in my calendar because I’m one of those hyper scheduling guys.

Pete Wright: If I don’t put it in the calendar, I’ll forget to do it. If I do, it’ll have an alarm associated with it and I’ll do it and I’ll make progress on my hobbies. I’ll get better at the skills I want to develop it. So I think for me that’s a really important thing. Maybe it’s a half hour a day, maybe it’s 45 minutes, whatever it is. I make sure it’s represented or I won’t do it. So I don’t know if that helps but I really appreciate the question. I hope others jumped in there. It’s in the general chat and I just checked in. This was from her. It’s from [Grama Notsi 00:19:16], so thank you. Grama Notsi, not the other one. But I love it, great question, everybody [crosstalk 00:19:26] there.

Nikki Kinzer: We’ll probably have to do a new show on unstructured time [crosstalk 00:19:30].

Pete Wright: Right where we actually put a little bit more thought into it.

Nikki Kinzer: Right, that’s hard.

Pete Wright: So let’s talk about games, Nikki Kinzer.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes. That’s Fun.

Pete Wright: Yeah. So a lot of games come across the boards over these holiday weekends. A lot of games and puzzles and so I started kind of percolating on the kinds of games that attract me. The things that attract my brain because there are definitely games that repulse me and we’ll talk about those too.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. I would say me too. It’s interesting. There’s some I’m drawn to.

Pete Wright: Right. So what are the kinds of games that attract my brain with ADHD? And so I started doing a little bit of research and it turns out there’s kind of some research out here that actually helps us refine the whys. Why certain games and activities are helpful for ADHD. I thought, you know what, we don’t really do a holiday like gift show. That’s not really our motivation. We did a long, long time ago, but I started thinking like I have some games that I guess are kind of recommendations, but more like category recommendations. And hopefully suggestions for folks to at least think about what you might introduce into your life to help you kill some time and maybe introduce some new sorts of family time, that might help. So if you do a search, Nikki Kinzer for ADHD games, what do you think you’re going to find? If you just go on the Google, what are you going to find?

Nikki Kinzer: I’m surprised I haven’t done that at this point.

Pete Wright: [crosstalk 00:21:07]. Don’t do it.

Nikki Kinzer: Don’t, oh, okay.

Pete Wright: [crosstalk 00:21:09].

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah, I have no idea. I don’t know what I would find.

Pete Wright: Well, the first thing you find is like neurofeedback opportunities for kids with ADHD. That means we’re plugging kids into an EEG and we’re making them try to accomplish tasks on the computer and watch their brain activity as they accomplish tasks on a computer. The idea behind these neurofeedback games is, I think really it’s kind of, it’s fun. It is intriguing for me to at least think about, which is training your brain to find emotional States that allow you to achieve sort of a normative relationship with time and space around you as you’re accomplishing tasks. If you find a space of focus, you hopefully over time will learn how to find that focus again without being plugged into the machines because you’ll know what your brain feels like when it’s in that space.

Pete Wright: So there are all kinds of opportunities for neurofeedback games but they’re kind of hard because you have to go into a specialist and you have to like train your brain by being plugged into somebody else’s equipment. And home opportunities for those things are isolating and not terribly reliable. So there’s been a spinoff of these neurofeedback games and I’m sure you have heard of these. These are cognitive training games and you find them all over the Internet. Games like Lumosity and BrainHQ and Peak. These are things that you usually get on some sort of a freemium model where you get out your phone or your iPad or whatever and you work on things like memory training and pattern recognition. And things that are supposed to by judging your reaction time, make you better at all sorts of different contexts outside of the environment. Have you ever tried any of these? The biggest one I think was Lumosity for a while, they got sued for false claims and they’ve gotten sort of quiet. But they’re still definitely out there.

Nikki Kinzer: I have never tried any of these.

Pete Wright: So I tried Lumosity for a little while and BrainHQ is another one that’s super popular. They make me really mad, like intensely mad because I just, like some of them I can do very, very well. The ones that I can’t do very well, I do very, very poorly. So I get just furious at the experience. So I started reading up like, are these any good? Am I really missing the boat at having one of these like quick to play games on my phone to do when I’m waiting in line? Like should I do the pattern recognition games and should I tap away and making sure which face? There’s one, oh my goodness over BrainHQ where it asks you to recognize a face. It’s like a face recognition thing. So you see a face very quickly and then it shows you other faces at different perspectives. Like you’ll look at them side down, like up at their faces as if you’re seeing them from the side when you only saw them from the front and that destroys me. It just destroys me.

Nikki Kinzer: Wow, that would be hard.

Pete Wright: Oh goodness. It’s just awful. So I start reading up on these things and it turns out these games are … the good news first, good news. They don’t do any damage to you. If you’re not enraged by them and you like playing them, go on and play they’re not going to make anything worse. So the table stakes are these won’t hurt you. Also you will get better at the tasks that you are doing in the game. So you’ll get better at playing the game, facial recognition and playing the game shape recognition and twisty turny shapes. Like you’ll get better at those things. So those are the two bits of good news. Here’s the problem. There is no conclusive research that says you will get better at living your life in any other context outside of doing those specific games. So while you’ll get better at the facial recognition stuff, as you tap around on your BrainHQ, you won’t get better at living your life with ADHD as a result of hours and hours of practice of that. You will only get better at the task in the game.

Nikki Kinzer: So what you’re saying is it doesn’t really help with the executive functions. It doesn’t improve the executive function. It just improves whatever it is you’re specifically doing for that game.

Pete Wright: Right. So that’s the thing and that’s the thing to just be aware of those things. There’s nothing that says you shouldn’t do them. There’s nothing that says they’re introducing evil into the world. They’re not snake oil. You’ll get better at doing those tasks. You’ll get faster and there’s a dopamine push that goes along with that. You’ll feel good about doing them. But the research so far is deeply inconclusive about the actual utility of those things. So it’s important to just recognize that’s what those are. But there are other little things that I like even better and that’s why I want to talk about puzzles.

Nikki Kinzer: Puzzles, I love [crosstalk 00:26:13].

Pete Wright: Do you do the crosswords?

Nikki Kinzer: I don’t do crosswords because I’m awful at them. Like I can never think of the words.

Pete Wright: Do you think those two things are related?

Nikki Kinzer: The words and the …

Pete Wright: Could it be that you’re awful at them because you don’t do them?

Nikki Kinzer: Probably because I don’t like them so I don’t do them. But I do, do Sudoku. I like Sudoku.

Pete Wright: Sudoku.

Nikki Kinzer: Sudoku.

Pete Wright: Sudoku. So [crosstalk 00:26:42]

Nikki Kinzer: I haven’t played it in a long time.

Pete Wright: [inaudible 00:26:43] Wrangling a ding-dong.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. I haven’t done those kinds of puzzles in a long time, but I used to really enjoy them.

Pete Wright: Well, so far the research says that and there is a ton of research specifically on these particular kinds of puzzles related to age, cognitive function and Alzheimer’s. That’s really where a lot of the research is focused.

Nikki Kinzer: And I’ve heard that before. Like the more you do puzzles and crosswords and all of this stuff, the less chance you have of Alzheimer’s.

Pete Wright: You get better at them and you get better at them quickly too. Because you learn that there are patterns and there are repeated clues and there are words that once you learn them, you’ll find them in all kinds of puzzles. Dr Ann Corbett at the University of Exeter Medical School led a 25 year longitudinal study on age and relationship to doing these puzzles every day. They said that what they discovered was that the memory performance and being able to function in these kinds of cognitive tasks improved really stunningly. In fact, let’s see the improvements are particularly clear in the speed and accuracy of their performance. In some areas the improvement was quite dramatic on measures of problem solving. People who regularly do these puzzles performed equivalent to an average of eight years younger compared to those who didn’t. Eight years is a long time y’all-

Nikki Kinzer: That is a long time.

Pete Wright: … in terms of brain function, that’s a big deal. So the question is like, what does that do for ADHD if it works so well for aging brains, what does it do for ADHD? There a different set of kind of relationships there. In fact, there isn’t a lot of research being done specifically ADHD, but there is with Chess. If you’ve never played Chess, it turns out that Chess is one of those games that also has a distinct relationship with executive function and performance and focus and you can improve. As it turns out, a study at the University of Madrid, it’s very early and the researchers say you should be cautious when reading our data here, but what we have found is that it turns out that playing Chess should definitely be included in a multimodal treatment of ADHD. A regular practice of Chess can potentially offset requirements for meds, they can change the way you focus, changed your relationship with your executive functioning disorder. So Chess who knew? Chess, fascinating. I imagine the same kind of thing-

Nikki Kinzer: [crosstalk 00:29:31] do you play?

Pete Wright: I do. I don’t play as much as I used to but I do have a board and I have a dear friend. My kids godfather actually had a set of Chess pieces, beautiful set of Chess pieces custom made for me as a gift, some 15 years ago that we still kind of play. It’s a giant beautiful kind of soapstone, completely custom molds that are just lovely. So I am a big fan of the game. I don’t play enough. I’m not very good at it but I do enjoy playing it. I also love playing Go. It’s kind of a similar experience playing Go. It’s diminutive or dismissive to call it Chinese Chess, but if you’ve never played Go, that’s another really fun game that allows you to trigger a part of your brain that you just don’t normally trigger.

Pete Wright: So it comes down to this approach to inattentive mistakes. When you’re playing games, what is the cost of an inattentive mistake? And a crossword, the inattentive mistakes are very, very low. When you’re sitting around doing a crossword and you lose track of what’s going on for a few minutes, you can come back to the crossword. It’s not like the crossword is going to [crosstalk 00:30:46].

Nikki Kinzer: Or if you do it in pencil and you made a mistake, you can erase it and everything’s going to be fine.

Pete Wright: Exactly. It’s not like the crosswords going to fill itself out if you look away for five minutes and think about the dog. It’s not going to [inaudible 00:30:58]. When you’re playing Chess with somebody else, the cost of inattentive mistakes is much higher because if you stop paying attention then the game will go on. You will miss a move that was important to you. It’s one of the reasons I love playing with my son so much because the cost of his inattentive mistakes tend to be higher for him than for me. So I’ll move a piece and he’ll totally miss it. That will be the thing where he loses the game. So he’s about the only one anymore that I can beat pretty regularly because of inattentive mistakes. I hope he doesn’t listen to this show because he will start paying attention.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes, he will.

Pete Wright: So there’s this issue with impulsivity and games and what is satisfying to you and what you need practice on. Like one of those reasons that Chess can be exhaustive if you’re new to it, because you have to work so hard until you develop that muscle at the end and are able to focus for just long enough that you can start thinking one or two moves ahead. You compete in worlds here, you don’t need to think 20 moves ahead. You just get one or two and you’re going to be fine. So I love those. I also love the crosswords. My wife and I subscribed to the New York Times Crossword Service, highly recommended because you get access to the archives and you can play on the iPad or your phone. We do it one every single night before bed.

Pete Wright: The lights go out, we play a crossword and then we’d go to bed. It’s a little ritual that we love doing. These kinds of games are really useful. But I do want to talk about my … this is where we get into some harder core recommendations because these are super fun. They’re super fun around the holidays because you have a lot of people around and having a lot of people around means you can think about games in a new kind of way. So do you play Monopoly Nikki Kinzer?

Nikki Kinzer: I have yeah.

Pete Wright: [crosstalk 00:32:46]. Do you like it?

Nikki Kinzer: It’s too long. It’s too long of the game. We haven’t played in a couple of years, but the last time we played it was the four of us. It was my family and it was probably not this last summer, but the summer before that. So it’s been about two years. And we ended up like making up a rule that had to get it to close because [crosstalk 00:33:14].

Pete Wright: Yeah. How to end the game?

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah. [crosstalk 00:33:16] too long.

Pete Wright: There are very few games that drive me to want to like turn over a table. Like I hate Monopoly. It’s the worst. It’s like the message of Monopoly is the worst. It’s too long and it’s too long of an experience of just beating down each other. That’s why I present Monopoly first because this category of games that I want to talk about that I recommend and particularly recommend in light of ADHD are cooperative games. In every way these games are opposite of Monopoly. These are games where you and a group of friends are playing against chance. You’re playing against the game itself.

Nikki Kinzer: That sounds [crosstalk 00:33:57] fun.

Pete Wright: That’s what makes these games fantastic. So the first one that sort of cornered the market wasn’t the first in this sort of style of game. This store style game has been around for a long time, but the one that I think started really rising to prominence is called Pandemic. Pandemic is a delightful game, complicated in its initial setup, but really fun because you and everybody playing take on different roles. Like you may be a medic, you may be a scientist, you may be a rescue worker, whatever your job is, you’re working in cooperation with everyone else at the table. So you have to stop an outbreak of a big disease. That’s your job, together you work against the table, against the cards, against all of the things of chance that could go against you.

Pete Wright: I’m telling you, this game can turn your life on its ears. What’s lovely about this from the ADHD perspective is it doesn’t slow down. You are constantly engaged and moving and you’re talking to other people and they have to talk to you and work with you. You don’t have any chance for your gameplay to stop and then five other people to have to go before it’s your turn again. You’re always thinking cooperatively with the rest of the players and it’s just so fun.

Nikki Kinzer: That’s the problem with Dominoes. I love playing Dominoes, but man, if you’re going to play dominoes with me, you better be fast.

Pete Wright: Yes.

Nikki Kinzer: Like do not be thinking, like you need to know your move way before it’s even your turn because that drives me crazy.

Pete Wright: That’s right. I think that pacing thing, the idea of working cooperatively actually does, again, back to this inattentive mistakes catastrophe. Because you’re working cooperatively with other people, the inattentive mistake risk is mitigated because other people are looking at you saying, “Are you sure you want to play that card? Like what the rest of us are doing is this other thing and it feels like you might not be paying attention. Can we rethink this?” You’re helping one another.

Nikki Kinzer: Is this an actual game that you buy at the store?

Pete Wright: Yes, it is.

Nikki Kinzer: Okay.

Pete Wright: These are all physical games that I’m talking about now and-

Nikki Kinzer: These are all physical games.

Pete Wright: … I have a couple of more that I really want to talk about.

Nikki Kinzer: But before you do that and maybe these are one of those games. Have you heard of the game that is actually sent to your house like once a month and it’s like a mystery or murder mystery or investigating.

Pete Wright: Nikki, I’m so glad you brought that up. Now I don’t remember the name of it, but you’re absolutely right that should be on this list. Yes.

Nikki Kinzer: Because I think that would be fun too. That would be totally something fun to look forward to. Especially, I think as our kids are older now, they’re teenagers, it would be a fun way of getting the family together that is unique. You’d be looking forward to it. It’s like, “Oh, I wonder what is this month mystery or whatever it is.” But I can’t remember what it was called.

Pete Wright: There are a couple. There are some that are actually really interesting. We did a whole show on the escape room in the ADHD, so they make me a little bit nervous, but there are a couple that are …

Nikki Kinzer: [crosstalk 00:37:04].

Pete Wright: Escape the Crate is one that $30 every two months and you essentially get escape rooms that you set up in your house. There are like murder mysteries. Did you ever play Murder in the House or Murder in the Dark when you were a kid where everybody’s wandering around and there’s one person who if they shake your hand-

Nikki Kinzer: No, but Pete Wright, you and I have played a murder mystery at my old house in Tigard.

Pete Wright: Yes, we did.

Nikki Kinzer: And I am in a post some photos.

Pete Wright: No, you’re not.

Nikki Kinzer: Yes, I am. We’re talking about games and you and I, our friends and our spouses, we all played a game and it was a murder mystery game and we had to get dressed up and Pete Wright you looked [crosstalk 00:37:51] fine.

Pete Wright: Do you remember the era?

Nikki Kinzer: 1970s baby.

Pete Wright: Yes, it was.

Nikki Kinzer: 1970s.

Pete Wright: I still have my suit. That white suit.

Nikki Kinzer: Yeah, I’m posting that.

Pete Wright: Oh dear.

Nikki Kinzer: All you Patreon members are going to get a treat.

Pete Wright: Yeah. That’s right.

Nikki Kinzer: Okay, go ahead.

Pete Wright: Anyhow, the other one that we’ll put a link to is Hunter Killer, which is another one that is highly, highly reviewed although I’ve not subscribed to it so I can’t actually talk about it, but I’ve heard wonderful things about it. So we’ll put links in the show notes to those as well. Okay. The other one, there are a couple of more that are like that like Flash Point Fire Rescue is one that is highly recommended where you work together to save people from a burning building and it feels like … And you know how you lose? If people die in the house but the people are like chance. Or a building can collapse that is [crosstalk 00:38:41].

Nikki Kinzer: Oh Jeez.

Pete Wright: My favorite …

Nikki Kinzer: Can you fall through a roof?

Pete Wright: Right, the leg.

Nikki Kinzer: My little leg, that probably is going to minus the point.

Pete Wright: Let’s see, Zombie Side is another one. You each play as a survivor with special skills. So after Pandemic, a lot of these just sort of blossomed. Or Stop Thief, this is an interesting one because you play a private investigator, you’re a team of private investigators to catch criminals. But the cool thing is there is an app actually that you can download and the app will deliver you audio clues as you play. These audio clues-

Nikki Kinzer: [crosstalk 00:39:19] fun.

Pete Wright: … can actually get more or less descriptive as you get good at the game. So you can actually change the difficulty of the game every time you play thanks to this lovely app that works in parallel with the game. So that’s that one. The last one I want to mention, I swear this is the very last one and then we’ll get out of here. I was just introduced to this game at a friend’s party, a friend’s house and it was kind of a group party game. I am now addicted to this. I think about this game all the time. It’s not a mystery, it’s not a story, it’s just shapes. So you’re sitting down at a table and you have foam blocks of different sizes, cubes and diagonals and cones and all kinds of things.

Pete Wright: All spread out on the table and they’re all different colors and you each get a card, like six people. I think six to eight people can play and you each get a card. On that card is a two dimensional representation of a final shape that is different from the person next to you, but it is the same shape when it’s finished. So you have to work together to build the three dimensional building structure that represents what’s on your card and what’s on their card and their card and their card all the way around. So all of these cards add up to make the final shape, which is a three dimensional structure that you’re building together on this table. It’s called mental blocks, and it is so much fun and it has my brain on fireworks in the very best way. Not that stupid horrible way.

Pete Wright: It’s a really, really good way. We had a blast with this game. Eventually, as you get better at it, you introduce saboteur cards where one person will have a shape that doesn’t match and you have to figure out that person. It’s just extraordinarily fun. All of these kinds of games I think work just beautifully for gifts. If you want to give a gift to your own family and introduce some new [crosstalk 00:41:26].

Nikki Kinzer: Yes. This is great.

Pete Wright: These are gifts at games that you can sit down with your ADHD and approach a game in a that doesn’t make you want to turn over the table-

Nikki Kinzer: I love it.

Pete Wright: … and actually have some fun with it. So that’s it. That’s my little contribution to the holiday spirit. I hope that’s useful for somebody and links to all these things will be in the show notes.

Nikki Kinzer: That’s great.

Pete Wright: What do you think?

Nikki Kinzer: Thank you Pete.

Pete Wright: How do we do?

Nikki Kinzer: This is great.

Pete Wright: There’s a little bit of [crosstalk 00:41:52] aside, not quite so heavy.

Nikki Kinzer: I have some for ideas for gifts.

Pete Wright: Excellent. I hope he play hard. So thank you everybody for downloading, listening to the show. As always, we appreciate your time and your attention. On behalf of Nikki Kinzer, I’m Pete Wright. You should probably use this as an opportunity to go reinforce that attic floor. We’ll catch you next week.

Nikki Kinzer: I was just going to say, I should probably just on one last note, just be careful where you walk on the attic floor-

Pete Wright: Plywood is [crosstalk 00:42:22].

Nikki Kinzer: … because you might be dangling if you don’t.

Pete Wright: We’ll catch you next week, right here on Taking Control, the ADHD Podcast.

Through Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast, Nikki Kinzer and Pete Wright strive to help listeners with support, life management strategies, and time and technology tips, dedicated to anyone looking to take control of their lives in the face ADHD.