The Quote Garden

 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998

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Quotations about Games & Puzzles

Life is more fun if you play games. ~Roald Dahl

Most people consider life a battle, but it is not a battle, it is a game. ~Florence Scovel Shinn, The Game of Life and How to Play It, 1925

The problems of puzzles are very near the problems of life; our whole life is solving puzzles. ~Erno Rubik, as quoted by Arthur Fisher, "Rubik's Reduced," in Popular Science, 1997

But cards are war in disguise of a sport... ~Charles Lamb

And it is in games that many men discover their paradise. ~Robert Lynd

Clarissa:  Talbot, it is so delightful to have you back again. I shall now have such charming evenings with you at chess.
Talbot:  At what?
Clarissa:  Chess — the king of games.
Talbot:  Do you call it a game? Ha! ha! No, thankee; life's too short for chess.
~H. J. Byron, Our Boys, 1875

The perfect family board game is one that can be played each time with fewer pieces. ~Robert Brault,

Men trifle with their business and their politics; but they never trifle with their games. ~Bernard Shaw (1856–1950)

You don't have to be a beer drinker to play darts, but it helps. ~Author unknown

Never neglect an opportunity to play leap-frog; it is the best of all games, and, unlike the terribly serious and conscientious pastimes of modern youth, will never become professionalized. ~Herbert Beerbohm Tree, as quoted by Hesketh Pearson ("Sir Herbert Tree," Modern Men and Mummers)

Never play Twister naked unless you have a can of non-stick cooking spray. ~Anthony J. D'Angelo, The College Blue Book, 1995,

It is hoped that some expert will leave for future generations a record of the rules of the game of Beaver. It is played, I understand, by two persons, and the points are scored as in tennis. Whichever of the two first cries "Beaver!" as a beard heaves into sight, scores. At the sight of a white beard, one cries, "Polar beaver!" which counts a game. At the sight of a royal beard, the correct call is "Royal beaver!" which counts not only as game, but as sett and match. There is a story of a Cambridge function at which, on the entrance of King George V., the audience of undergraduates rose to their feet with a universal shout of "Royal beaver! Game, sett, match!" It is possibly untrue. There are, I believe, still other variations of the game, and, no doubt, in time it will become as elaborate in its niceties as poker. ~Robert Lynd, "Beaver," Solomon in All His Glory, 1923  [This essay first appeared in 1922 in the New Statesman with a slightly different wording. —tg]

Elderly people say that is a silly game, and that is true enough. On the other hand, it is a silly game in the English tradition of silliness... It may be that all games are silly. But, then, so are human beings. This does not happen to be the planet into which the wiser spirits choose to be born. ~Robert Lynd, "Beaver," Solomon in All His Glory, 1923  [This essay first appeared in 1922 in the New Statesman with a slightly different wording. —tg]

“All the world's a game,
  And men and women merely Billiard-players.”
  SHAKESPEARE (a little altered)
~Captain Crawley (George Frederick Pardon, 1824–1884), The Billiard Book, 1866

As a game of mingled skill and chance, Billiards stands at the head of what may be called Indoor Athletics. Requiring far less mental exertion than Chess... it provides amusement for the mind, it also affords exercise for the body. ~Captain Crawley (George Frederick Pardon, 1824–1884), The Billiard Book, 1866

Snooker on television is the moral
Equivalent of war. Man against man,
It is a pitiless yet bloodless quarrel
Racking the nerves behind the deadened pan.
Slowly a break accumulates like coral
Yet has the logic of a battle plan.
Fought out on a flat sea within four walls
Well has this conflict been called chess with balls.
~Clive James (1939–2019), Poem of the Year, 1983,

Whoever called snooker ‘chess with balls’ was rude but right. ~Clive James (1939–2019), "The Sound of the Crucible," 1984,

Whoever dreamed up Scrabble had an exaggerated idea of how many seven-letter words have five i's. ~Robert Brault,

Egotism, n.:  doing the New York Times crossword puzzle with a pen. ~Author unknown

...there he was, leaning back in his chair and finishing the Friday New York Times puzzle with a ballpoint pen... The New York Times puzzles grow progressively harder as the week advances, with Monday being the easiest and Saturday requiring the sort of mind that can bend spoons. It took me several days to complete my first Monday puzzle, and after I'd finished, I carried it around in my wallet, hoping that someone might stop me on the street and ask to see it. ~David Sedaris, "21 Down," Me Talk Pretty One Day, 2000

Do I rue a life wasted doing crosswords? Yes, but I do know the three-letter-word for regret. ~Robert Brault,

The self-complacent actor, when he views
(Stealing a sidelong glance at a full house)
The slope of faces from the floor to the roof
(As if one master spring controlled them all)
Relaxed into an universal grin,
Sees not a countenance there that speaks of joy
Half so refined or so sincere as ours.
Cards were superfluous here, with all the tricks
That idleness has ever yet contrived
To fill the void of an unfurnished brain,
To palliate dulness, and give time a shove.
Time as he passes us, has a dove's wing,
Unsoiled and swift, and of a silken sound;
But the world's Time is Time in masquerade.
Theirs, should I paint him, has his pinions fledged
With motley plumes; and where the peacock shows
His azure eyes, is tinctured black and red
With spots quadrangular of diamond form,
Ensanguined hearts, clubs, typical of strife,
And spades, the emblems of untimely graves.
What should be, and what was an hour-glass once,
Becomes a dice-box, and a billiard mace
Well does the work of his destructive scythe.
Thus decked, he charms a world whom fashion blinds
To his true worth, most pleased when idle most,
Whose only happy are their wasted hours.
Even misses, at whose age their mothers wore
The backstring and the bib, assume the dress
Of womanhood, sit pupils in the school
Of card-devoted Time, and night by night
Placed at some vacant corner of the board,
Learn every trick, and soon play all the game.
~William Cowper, "The Winter Evening," The Task, 1785

I stayed up one night playing poker with tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died. ~Steven Wright, A Steven Wright Special, 1985,

POKER, n.  A game said to be played with cards for some purpose to this lexicographer unknown. ~Ambrose Bierce

      "N is the letter."
      "Now then, you've got five minutes in which to write down everything you can beginning with N. Go."
      I took out my pencil and began to think. I know it sounds an easy game to you now, as you sit at your desk surrounded by dictionaries; but when you are squeezed on to the edge of a sofa, given a very blunt pencil and a thin piece of paper, and challenged to write in five minutes all the words you can think of beginning with a certain letter — well, it is another matter altogether. I thought of no end of things which started with K, or even L, or "rhinoceros" which starts with an R...
      "I must keep calm," I said and in a bold hand I wrote Napoleon. Then after a moment's thought, I added Nitro-glycerine, and Nats. "This is splendid," I told myself. Then I suddenly remembered that gnats were spelt with a G. However, I decided to leave them, in case nobody else remembered. And on the fourth minute I added Non-sequitur.
      "Time!" said somebody.
      ~A. A. Milne, "The Complete Kitchen," 1908  [a little altered —tg]

At my house, when a missing pawn shows up in the Scrabble tiles, it counts as an extra blank. ~Robert Brault,

Indeed, it is impossible to win gracefully at chess. No man yet has said "Mate!" in a voice which failed to sound to his opponent bitter, boastful and malicious. ~A. A. Milne (1882–1956), "A Misjudged Game"

A well-adjusted person is one who can play golf and bridge as if they were the same games. ~20,000 Quips & Quotes, Evan Esar, 1968

Old card players never die, they just shuffle away. ~Author unknown

I saw a news report recently that measured average video game use by American men between the ages of twenty-five and thirty-five: twenty hours per week. Do you mean the flower of America's masculinity can't think of anything more important to do with twenty hours a week than sit in front of a video screen? Folks, this ain't normal. Can't we unplug already? ~Joel Salatin, Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World, 2011

Video games ruined my life. (Good thing I have two more.) ~Author unknown

The human need to play is a powerful one. ~Leo Buscaglia, Bus 9 to Paradise: A Loving Voyage, 1986

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published 2003 Oct 8
revised Jul 2021
last saved 2022 Aug 20