Mental Health Benefits of Playing Card Games

Our population consists of more older people than it ever has before, but with the blessing of old age comes an increasing concern of developing thinking and memory problems.  We often hear the key to staying sharp includes physical exercise, healthy eating, and mental stimulation, but how many times has the doctor recommended creating art, having fun and playing social games?  With the release of a recent May Clinic study linking making art to preventing cognitive decline, however, we may have a new excuse to spend time creating and playing games.

A new intuitive card game called Original Odyssey draws on integral mental health concepts, mentally stimulating users as they play together and create their own game through memory association and innovative thinking while artfully mapping their experiences. Similar to other mentally stimulating and social card games like “Cards Against Humanity” and “Thinking & Drinking”, Original Odyssey provides a fun experience to be played alone or with other people in a sort of “choose your own adventure” fantasy.  The 33 card deck features inspiring hand drawn pictures, divided into 3 sets of 11 suits in three themes: inside, outside, and art.  First shuffle the cards, pick one, and then begin your unique game odyssey with the thoughts that sprout from the card’s image.   As the game goes on, players track gameplay using the unique illustrations, building a map that can be added to every new time you play.  To start your own game odyssey order Original Odyssey here.

The game’s light-hearted and fantasy-like tone, not only allow players to have fun, it also facilitates a high degree of mental stimulation. Played alone, Original Odyssey focuses on imagination while adding a second player turns the game towards memory and any additional player means a game geared towards communication.  This trifecta of imagination, memory, and communication, coupled with the highly visual/artistic angle of the game, are part of the essential functions that can increase social engagement and improve mental health, cognitive functioning, quality of life, and longevity regardless of the players’ age or artistic ability.   

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