Board games that come with sand timers
Many table games require an element of timed rounds. Each player has a set amount of time to complete a certain task to try to earn points for them or their team. This has been an element of board games for quite some time, although over the years these board games have used different means to produce this effect. In today’s electronic age, most games come with some sort of battery-powered timer, one that will function much like an egg timer. Turn a knob and time it until it reaches the deadline, where it will beep or ring, alerting players that the time period is up. However, in the past, these electronic timers were not as common and most board games provided an sand timer to measure time.
These hourglasses were shaped like miniature hourglasses and contained enough sand to count from thirty seconds to three or five minutes. It all depended on how much time the game would give players to complete the task at hand. These timers usually work by having all players set up for the task and then one player flips the timer to start the round. The responsibility for watching the timer often fell to one player or the entire group, as when the arena ran out, it was the player’s responsibility to announce to the group that the time was up and the round was over.
Games that everyone participated in, such as Boggle or Scattergories, required the entire group to keep track of the stopwatch, as everyone worked during that period of time to score as many points as possible. Typically, one player would turn the timer when another player uncovered the list of words or game space that players would need to refer to in order to play. Then, as the timer would slowly run out, players would have to periodically check the timer.
However, other games using sand timers were often team games and the team not trying to score points at the time was usually in charge of the timer. One player would manage the hourglass, watching it carefully to make sure an extra second wasn’t granted to the other team, while another player would monitor the team carefully, making sure no cheats were inadvertently made.
Sand timers had great advantages and disadvantages. They almost always came with the board game, and since it didn’t run on batteries, it didn’t cost anything to maintain. Plus, they were tested to always be accurate. However, if one were to break, a replacement sand timer would need to be purchased. One of the drawbacks is that during a game where everyone was trying to get in, one may not realize that the hourglass has run out and players may have been given extra time. An electronic timer would always alert loudly that the time was up, although most of these timers would make ticking noises during the countdown, which could be very distracting. While hourglasses have almost completely faded from board games during these contemporary times, they are still a bit of a nostalgic board game fan.