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How a board game can teach families how their aging loved ones want to be remembered

Tom Meuser and his students developed a board game designed to bring families closer together

December 20, 2018

"Family Get Together" takes players on a journey to a family reunion
"Family Get Together" takes players on a journey to a family reunion
Tom Meuser being interviewed by WMTW
Tom Meuser being interviewed by WMTW
WCSH's Lindsey Mills interviews UNE student Corey Carmichael
WCSH's Lindsey Mills interviews UNE student Corey Carmichael

During the holidays we often try to spend quality time with our aging relatives, but sometimes it's hard to know how to make the most of that time. What questions do you ask your father, your grandmother, to really get to know them? 

UNE student and faculty researchers designed a board game to bring families closer together.

“Family Get Together” is based on research from Tom Meuser, director of UNE’s Center for Excellence in Aging and Health.

His research found that when it comes to someone's legacy, children have very little understanding of who their parents believe themselves to be and how they think they will be remembered.

“No matter how well you think you know your parents or your parents think you know them, my research shows that there's a lot of room for greater mutual understanding,” said Meuser.

In the game, players journey along different paths to a family reunion, learning about each other along the way. 

“The goal of the game is to bring multigenerational family groups together in the context of having a good time, but among the fun players explore some of the heavier questions of life, death and legacy,” Meuser explained.

The prototype of the game was recently featured on WCSH, WGME and WMTW.

Students are testing the game by taking it home for the holidays to play with their families. Eventually Meuser plans to refine the prototype at UNE’s Maker Space and turn it into a real working game. He believes table games are once again gaining popularity among young people and that the time is right to introduce this.

“Tabletop gaming is back, and I'm going to ride that wave,” he exclaimed.

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