In an effort to curb dependence on electronics, I’ve been encouraging my kids to play more board games. We have many of the standard games: Candyland, Chutes & Ladders, Guess Who, etc.
To be a good sport, I will play a game of, let’s say, Candyland. And while I genuinely love watching the enthusiasm on my little ones’ faces as we play, I feel less enthusiasm as the game goes on…
… because in many of those games, there are many opportunities to get sent right back to start. And when you’re sent back to start, that means you’re starting from the beginning. As in, ALL OVER AGAIN. And sometimes you have the misfortune of having this happen to both players, in which case the game never.seems.to.end.
I want to model good sportsmanship for my kids, so when this happens, on the outside I cheer, “OK! Let’s start again!”
But on the inside, it’s more like,
Where does this competitive drive & angst for board games come from, you may ask?
Well, consider the board games that WE had growing up.
If you’re an 80’s child like myself, then a glimpse at some of the games that we played as kids tells you all you need to know about my approach to board games. Sure, we had Candyland, but we also had some seriously cutthroat competitive gaming going on, too.
Someone’s dead. The game starts with someone being KILLED, violently, and the responsibility of figuring out who did it falls on your 8-year-old shoulders. No pressure there, huh? Oh, and they threw in some plastic/metal replicas of the murder weapons to really nail the concept down for you.
What’s even better than solving murders? World domination, apparently. Nothing like putting an entire army into the hands of a child & wiping entire countries off the map. Four hours of your life invested in ruining a previously good relationship with whomever you just destroyed on the map (or vice versa).
Great concept- a board game that compels you to earn a college degree (or not!), have children, pay taxes, and risk losing the house you bought with that hard-earned salary. Because “real” life isn’t daunting enough, let’s give kids a sense of how arbitrary bad fortune can be.
(I always ended up needing two cars in the game because I had so many kids. Little did I know that was an indicator of my future….)
Popping the bubble is fun the first few times, but it gets old quickly- especially when you’re trying to pop a “6” to get your player out of Start & onto the board. Other players begin moving around the board, yet you’re the unlucky one who can’t seem to pop a 6. You’re in trouble, because you.can’t.move.EVER.
Sorry that our friendship is over after playing this game, because this game bred resentment towards your fellow players. The goal is to get your pieces around the board and back to your home base. If you got the right card, it allowed you to take the strategically better place of another player.
(Never were you less sorry than when you triumphantly yelled, “sorry!” at your opponent.)
The highlight of this game was choosing which cool metal gamepiece to play with (my personal favorite was the thimble).
Pretty much downhill from there.
For someone that lacks any ability to spontaneously process anything remotely mathematical like myself, counting money out for this game amounted to sheer torture. Combine that with a general cluelessness about owning railroads and a penchant for picking cards that ALWAYS made me pay, this game usually ended with a bang:
…by landing on someone else’s Boardwalk/Park Place monopoly that held 10 hotels, wiping out your entire bank account & your desire to ever play, ever again.
Two players. Several ships. A bajillion tiny pegs. Calling out letters & numbers in a monotonous chant, hoping to blindly strike one of your opponent’s ships with a lucky pick. But you rarely did… because behind his/her safety screen, your opponent was secretly cheating by rearranging the ships.
8. Connect 4
A bit more innocent in appearance that the other games on the list: check four checkers in a row before your opponent. While the concept is simple, the reality was- you were either good at this game, or not. All’s well if you were, but if you weren’t, there was nothing worse than staring at your opponent’s three straight checkers, knowing that any attempt you made on either side would be futile. They would win NO MATTER WHAT.
(Unless you were like my brother, who would “accidentally” knock the slider that sent the checkers crashing out of the frame. Game over.)
Nothing like placing the balance between life & death into the trembling hand of a child, amirite? And the slightest tremble of a hand meant the death buzzer would sound, scaring the crap out of you & killing your patient. Not to mention it was unclear just why he had a bucket in his knee in the first place. But no matter, because that tiny piece was bound to get lost within the first few days of playing, anyway. So did the rubber band.
Ah, the only game to give you a crippling fear of inadequacy AND anxiety to work under pressure. Your fingers would tremble as you grasped the pieces, listening to the timer (& the taunts of anyone watching), knowing that every tick brought you one step closer to THIS (2:33):
Do any of these games bring back fond/otherwise memories for you? And if you’re into playing board games as a family, do you have any recommendations? I’m always on the lookout to add more to our collection.© Copyright 2017 Six Pack Mom, All rights Reserved. Written For: Six Pack Mom