Thursday, January 03, 2008

GAMES PEOPLE PLAY
Bored (board?!) with Resolutions, or even Non-Resolutions?
Me, too. What to do instead? Play some games. Here in the woods of the Great State of Vermont, the temperature has dropped below zero. Despite mounds of lovely white snow, I remain inside, cozy and warm, curling up with a blanket, a mug of hot cocoa, and a good book. However, sometimes I catch the yen to play a game. I've collected quite a few.

I've always wanted to give a party where I set up game tables all over the house. I can picture guests wandering from room to room, joining the action or sipping wine and watching. Wouldn't that be fun? Lots of finger food and snacks and yummy dessert items. Lovely aroma of caramel candles and popcorn. I know, I know. A lot of adults are hosting "wii" parties. No... I prefer human contact. Yes, I've played wii and it's lots of fun. But... give me a good old fashioned board game any time. In no particular order, and illustrated with pictures from "the internets," as our Boy King would say, here goes this Thursday Thirteen roll o' the dice:

1. Candyland. I wanted to find the "classic" original board art, copy it, and paint the whole rainbow path plus obstacles on the wall of my studio. That's how much I love this game. I remember hours of delicious play as a child in our little house (six kids and two parents in three bedrooms...oy!) in Gardena, CA, 1956-1966.

2. Mille Bornes. I received this game in the ninth grade, when I began to learn French. Mon dieu! I'm an old fart, n'est-ce que pas?

3. High Gear. I won't tell the long story. Because it's a long story. BUT.... this is the game I wanted with all my heart when I was just about over Santa Claus. I penned "High Gear" at the TOP of my Christmas list. And waited. And waited, with delicious anticipation. And for some odd reason, because we had never done this ever ever ever, my sister and I searched the house (under beds and in closets no less) for presents, before Christmas. Unfortunately, we found them, including my game. Oh, how sad. I blew my only surprise. Then my acting career began -- how to look ecstatic upon opening a gift. Of course, that little skill comes in so handy when your former husband gives you a Salad Shooter for Christmas (yes, he did; can't imagine why we're not still married, can you?). PS .... I found a beautifully preserved original High Gear game on eBay... and it is now MINE! I'm thrilled!

4. Jam Pack Jam. Just received this one for Christmas. Cranium makes it, so I expect great entertainment and fun! Object? To pack the car before everything "explodes." Just your standard, regulation vacation practice.

5. Parcheesi. I still love this old standby -- the ultimate in strategy and revenge... with a bit of luck to sweeten the mix.

6. Canasta Caliente. Playing this game, I found out that my husband is a sandbagger. What a poop. I learned canasta one summer when we were young. Our little gang would always discover the "game of the summer" or become obsessed with some activity to occupy all our free time. One summer jacks spilled over every flat surface in the house (I even pierced my foot on one... ouch!). One summer we lived through an interminable game of Monopoly. One summer found us dishing out gin rummy, even at the beach. And one summer, real canasta (with seven decks of cards). Ah....

7. Scrabble. Like you thought an English professor would leave this one back on the last closet shelf, huh? Oh please, think again. My fav. And contrary to popular belief, I don't ALWAYS win.... not always, no. Mostly. [caught you off guard with the picture, huh? Check it out. Amusing. And informative... in a scrabble kinda way] Big P.S. Yesterday I watched (use "watch" loosely, since I was taking down the xmas tree and packing away xmas decorations... you know how that goes) anyway... watched a movie, Snow Cake with Alan Rickman (I might do a T13 on him; I have such a crush!) and Sigourney Weaver. The Comic Book Scrabble scene is probably one of the funniest scenes in a serious movie (yeah, mostly serious with dark comedy moments) in a long, long time. Snow Cake hits hard in places, is mostly quirky and memorable, in an odd way. I'd recommend it, but you gotta be "in a mood" somewhere between comedy and tragedy. Oh, and if you're a Scrabble player -- you'll definitely wanna play Comic Book Scrabble asap!

8. Whac-A-Mole. Technically, not a board game. And you might even be thinking... "What were you thinking?" Started as a joke. My husband has been deviled with moles in the yard and... well, you get it, right? BUT... joke's on me. The grandkids love this game. Of course, the whacking noise makes me nuts. My husband has his revenge. Touche.

9. Yahtzee. My dad loved this game so much (NO...not the handheld electronic version...duh..although that one does wile away waiting for airplanes to depart)... My dad loved this game soooo much that he built a beautiful wooden box for tossing the dice. Rectangle, about 15x7" with a green felt liner. It's one of my treasures. Our family was pretty much into games... which is why I'm still the nut that I am about them... oh, games AND my family.

10. Spinners. Nanci McQuire, one of the Whittier Women (we all met in the dorm, freshman year, 1969 at Whittier College... and we still hangout together), introduced us to Spinners. A wildcard version of dominoes. LOTS of fun!

11. Rummikub. I like this one; Steve doesn't. Wonder who wins more often? Maybe if I let him beat me at Canasta Caliente, he'll compromise and play this once in awhile.

12. Spite and Malice. Today I discovered that you don't have to own the cute cards to play this game. Here's a link to the rules: http://www.pagat.com/patience/spitemal.html

13. Ticket to Ride. I am dying to play this game, but so far can't drum up the roll call. The reviews are tops and it even won "game of the year," but can I get anyone to play. Bummer. My virgin game looks like a lot of fun. Players ride a train across the US (other versions include Europe and other continents), choosing routes, buying tickets and blocking other players. Doncha love a good block of the other players? Can't wait!

I like to believe our imaginations thrive when we play games, indulging our senses of competition, strategy, fun, and fairness. At our house, we don't subscribe to t.v. (via cable or antenna). We read quite a lot and maybe two nights a week we watch movies from Netflix. In my limited, controlling philosophy of life (I'm working on those control issues... I am... I am) I also like to think we are engaging our brains and connecting as humans when we sit down to play games or engage in conversant activities -- the operative word ACTIVE... rather than passively let t.v. and all that advertising and other propaganda wash over us. Just an idea.

Go. Play. Have fun! Yep. That's gonna be my New Year's Resolution.

3 comments:

Gina Ardito said...

Some of these I never heard of. I do remember Milles Bournes (I seem to recall yelling something like, "Creve!" when you hit someone with a flat tire), but when I mention it to most people, they think I'm off my meds again.

Current faves you might enjoy: Balderdash, Scattergories, Apples to Apples, and Taboo.

Peggy B. said...

My favorites back as a kid was Candy Land and Shoots and Ladders. Today, my favorite is Catch Phrase! Oh, I'd play every night if enough friends would drop by.

Hugs and thanks for taking me on the journey down memory lane!

Peggy B.
www.peggyborel.com

Zara Penney said...

I didn't play more than Snakes and Ladders, Monopoly. Marbles were big with the boys when I was little. I never learned to play card games - specially bridge because my Mother in Law and Father in Law were nuts about it. Both sons play it and I'd have been roped into playing it ad nauseum when we (read very often) stayed with them. This game is the one where:

Husband. "Why didn't you play the Diamond?"

Wife. "How am I supposed to know you had the three of hearts.

Husband "All you had to do is add it up because IT. WAS. THERE."

Mother in Law. "She plays cards, like she keeps the house."

Pardon? Is this fun? Am I having fun yet? Can anyone let me know when I love this?