Codenames. Canasta. Scattergories: Stitch members take to gaming during pandemic

Collage of Stitch members who game

Right across our global community, enterprising Stitch organizers have taken to hosting games as a way of breaking the ice and making new friends …  and have amassed a loyal following in the process! 

From Codenames to Canasta, Liar Liar to Mah Jongg, Stitchers are meeting like-minded members over a casual game, both online and in-person. 

We reached out to several event organizers and asked them to share their story of how they came to be hosting some of the most enjoyable games on Stitch. Enjoy!

Jeff, Florida, USA

“Hi, I’m Jeff. I now live in South Florida but I’m originally from the New York City area. I’ve been a member of Stitch since September 2020.

I found Stitch in the days following the death of my wife of 39 years by searching online for bereavement and widowers groups. The first Stitch events in which I participated were for bereaved members which, along with help from friends and family, made it so much easier to get through my first few weeks reflecting on and starting to recover from my loss.

Becoming a member in the throes of the pandemic as I did, Stitch has given me back an active social life and the opportunity to meet people throughout the English-speaking world. The events in which I participate also give me something to look forward to throughout the week.

Codenames was just a hook I used to create events that would allow me to give something back to Stitch. Before becoming a member, I’d never heard of the game. A cousin of mine told me they had a lot of fun playing Codenames with friends on Zoom once a week.

Stitch members playing a virtual game of Codenames

I was surprised and pleased by how popular the game has become in the Stitch community. I owe much of the credit to Susan from Santa Ana, California, for helping me introduce the game to new players, and to several other Stitchers on three continents who have made it possible to accommodate many more attendees at each event.

My thanks to fellow Stitchers for enhancing my life in these early years of my retirement, and a special thanks to Andrew for creating and nurturing Stitch, and to Jay and Anastasia for working hard to keep our community running smoothly.”

Join Jeff’s Play Codenames! group on Stitch to get notified of all upcoming games!

Pam, Wales, UK

“Hello my name Pam and I joined Stitch at the beginning of lockdown in the UK, in April 2020 when person-to-person catch ups were not allowed due to the pandemic.

That meant that Stitch was mostly online and virtual for us in the UK. After a wobbly start I figured out how to create a Stitch group for my local area. I had hoped to find others locally with whom to play cards and board games, but at the time this was not possible.

So during lock down I thought that a virtual quiz would be a good start to help me interact with others around the same age as me and not feel quite so cut off from society.

It took a couple of months before I felt confident to host my own online events but since doing so, I have made many good friends with promises to meet up in the future when life gets back to normal.

We are now in lock down again here in the UK and I have just hosted my 5th multiple choice Fun Facts Quiz on Stitch. We always have a laugh and one person every time is hailed as quiz “champion”, though we don’t compare scores.

“I am finding that virtual activities can also be the basis for forming strong friendships and help break the loneliness and isolation we all sometimes experience”

Community Champion Pam

I’ve also hosted a simple drawing/dice game called “Beetle”, and “Liar liar”, where you have to tell two stories about yourself and the others have to decide which one isn’t  true.

I’ve also hosted “Who’s Who” in which you pretend to be a famous person or character and the others have to guess who you are by asking questions. All good fun!

A selection of Stitch member Pam's virtual events

There are some good and serious group activities and discussions on Stitch  but it’s always good to be silly sometimes.

Many other members  have also hosted quizzes and word games, some of  which I have played and enjoyed. I have to say that my favourite is the card game, Canasta, hosted by Wendy (see Stitch story below) and played with fellow Stitchers virtually in the USA.

Playing games and interacting with others helps to break down barriers and is a good way for getting to know people better.

“There are some good and serious group activities and discussions on Stitch but it’s always good to be silly sometimes”

Community Champion Pam

Hopefully in future months, there will be in person meet ups, walks, bowling, days out and lunches, but for now I am finding that virtual activities can also be the basis for forming strong friendships and help break the loneliness and isolation we all sometimes experience.”

Join Pam’s Carmarthenshire Wales UK Stitch Community Members and Chatterbox UK groups to get notified of all upcoming games!

Wendy, Washington, USA

“My favorite games are Canasta and Mah Jongg so I Zoomed with my family to see if I could adapt these games for the online Stitch community. I found it possible!

Now I actually like both games better online. Everyone has really loved playing both games on Stitch, and so I keep them going for 3 to 4 hours at a time.

I always introduce everyone to share something about themselves. I figure people come to events to get connected with new Stitch friends, to find common ground, and to connect. I try to make my events a welcoming experience.

I love Stitch and Zoom. It has made such a difference in my life because I live alone and now rarely go out (once a week). After hosting so many events, I woke up one morning and said to myself, I’m not lonely anymore.

Stitch and hosting Stitch events has been so meaningful to me. I love it. I’ve met so many intelligent and nice people.”

Join Wendy’s Aging Backwards group on Stitch to get notified of all her upcoming Canasta, Scattergories and Mah Jongg games!

Alanah, Sydney, Australia

“I spent most of my adult life thinking that people who played board games must be rather dim and with too much time on their hands.

When I retired, a friend dragged me along to a U3A course on Modern Board Games. I quickly learned about the raft of “millennial games” which originated in Germany and Scandinavia, and involved various intriguing narratives. The various strategies seemed to use different parts of my brain and I definitely felt my neural pathways developing, rather going into a post-retirement shut down.

I also discovered that whether I won or lost, these games were actually great fun to play. I bought several of the games and when the course finished, I began meeting up to play with other people from the course and we developed firm friendships. After a couple of years, people dropped out and when Covid-19 hit, it was the final death knell of the group.

I badly missed the mental stimulation and companionship. Then I heard about Stitch, and I signed up eagerly looking for a games group to join.

Stitch member Alanah's board game, Train to Ride

In October 2020 I decided to start my own games activities on Stitch, meeting for lunch at the newly opened RSL in Parramatta, and then playing between 1 and 4 p.m., fortified with a coffee break.

None of the Stitch members who attended had any experience of these newer games. I am impressed how far some people are prepared to travel, with three people coming in from the Blue Mountains.

I originally planned to meet fortnightly, but people seem keen to come weekly so that they can build up some expertise.

I am hoping to attract some other keen gamers who can introduce me to their favourite games and share the joy around our enthusiastic group.”

Join Alanah’s upcoming Board-gamers’ Lunch and Games Play-time catch up on Stitch.

Be sure to join Stitch to gain access to all upcoming games, both virtual and in-person!