Wednesday, October 16, 2013

board of board games

I used to enjoy a good board game.  My wife can tell you that I'm the last person to participate in one these days.  She's the one that plays board games with the kids.  I guess I'm officially an old fuddy-duddy.  I just don't enjoy them.

As a kid we had a lot of board games in the closet; Life, Monopoly, Trouble, Sorry, Clue, Risk, etc.  Pull one out and we'd have enough interest amid a family of eight to find someone who wanted to participate.

I know why I lost interest in board games.  It might not make a lot of sense to most, but I know why.  I grew tired of it because playing often brought out the worst in people.  The last time I played Monopoly was in the late 80's.  It will continue to remain the last time I  play Monopoly.  I didn't really want to play in the first place, but I was begged into it.  I tried to decline, but I was begged into it.  Did I say I was begged?  Since I was the guest in their home, I eventually succumbed to the pleading.  The game of their choice was Monopoly.  I rarely won at Monopoly.  Toward the end of the game, as I was about to win, one of my hosts flipped the board and stormed away.  I picked up the scattered pieces and put them into the box and left quietly.  What little interest I had in playing board games escaped me that afternoon.

It's not just other people, it's me too.  Board games are not relaxing or fun for me.  Because of my experiences in life, I personally find board games stressful.  I don't want to compete against family or friends.  Competing isn't fun.  I like having fun with friends, not beat them.  I really want out if I sense the game is affecting a fellow player's mood.

The Game of Life, I recall, was a game I actually asked for a kid.  I liked the spinning thingy in the middle of the board.  When I got the Game of Life, I realized it was too much like life and so I quickly lost interest in it.  I find most games are like the Game of Life.  If I want to be entertained, why must I play a game that reminds me of life?

Not long after Gina and I were married, we reconnected with some friends of mine who lived in the area.  Gina had heard of a game called Scruples.  It's a game that poses 252 questions of moral dilemmas of work, family, friends, neighbors - relationships in general.  We had invited the young couple over for diner and Gina wanted to play this new game.  We all started out having fun, but it turned into a living hell quickly.  The first question that was lobbed to my friend was something like, "Do you deem it necessary to tell your partner decision you make?"  His wife chimed in, "Why YES, we discuss everything.  He make our decisions together!"  Her smile quickly faded when he started laughing.  "No I don't.  I don't have to tell you everything.  I have to make decisions that you don't know about on a daily basis!"  It took him a little to long to realize he needed to stop laughing at her.  She then demanded to know what decisions he'd made without her recently?  Still laughing at her, he told her that he spent a very large amount ($5,000?) on equipment earlier in the week.  They got into it right there in our living room.  After the dust cleared and our friends were gone, I closed Pandora's Box and never opened it again.

I've had too many bad experiences with board games.

Gina likes games.  Her favorite is Scrabble.  For years there seemed to be an ongoing Scrabble match at her mother's house.  For years, if food wasn't on the kitchen table, there would be a Scrabble board.  Every now and then I'd be begged and would agree to a game of Scrabble.  There was always an understanding that I could leave the game at anytime.  I didn't mind it as much because there was always a good mood around the board.  Those Hales though, sure liked to make up words that never were.  Most of the time I'd sit on the couch at a distance and tune out the commotion in the kitchen.  Rarely do they play Scrabble anymore.

Gina and Katie like to play chess together.  It's a mother daughter thing.  I never learned that game, nor do I have the interest to try.  It's nice that they love being together and enjoy each others company over a game or two...or three.

Every Christmas Gina will purchase board games for the girls.  We have board games that have never been played.  I have an old trunk full of board games that have not been touched in over a decade.  We also have an entire closet dedicated to board games that are seldom touched.  I'd like to have the space back, but for some reason those board games are too precious to part with.  I am hoping as the girls move off, they will divide the games between themselves and take them with them as they go out into the world, find a mate and multiply. 

We'll keep the chess game for Katie and mother to enjoy as time goes by.  Kelsey likes playing checkers with her mother.  Maybe we'll keep that game too.  We'll keep Candyland and and Shoots and Ladders for any grandchildren that may come our way.  Other than that, I'd like to see those dusty boxes go.

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