Friday, May 27, 2011

Players


Board games are dead now, aren’t they? Not that I mourn their passing. Board games gave us distorted values and unrealistic expectations; they led many of us to believe that life would be easy.

Board games fell into two categories: games of chance and games of strategy, but the skill set for either was surprisingly similar.

Almost all games of chance had a bank of some sort. Every bank needs a banker, and that would be me. And I learned that bankers not only make their own change, they can make their own rules and make their own math when they make their own change.

When playing games of skill -- cards, checkers, and chess -- I found a direct correlation between success and the number of times one could get one’s opponent to leave the room. “Can I have a coke, Linda?” rarely failed, and “Where does your mother keep the Oreos.”

In the event there were more than two players – Scrabble springs to mind – one had to employ multiple strategies, all of them hinging on the power to distract. Pets proved a willing accompliss. “Puffy, go get the Oreo. Wow, look at him go!”

They say all higher mammals play childhood games. Through play, we learn lessons in survival and psychology that we’ll carry throughout life. Such as, “If you have a good vocabulary but a tray full of vowels, go get a Q,” and “Make your own luck.”

48 comments:

  1. spot me 100 paces on a hike-off and your on.

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  2. "or hand out a joke(r)"

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  3. I dunno...seems to me you learnt to play the game of LIFE well.

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  4. Since I don't allow video games of any variety in my house (old fuddy duddy that I am), board games are alive and well here. My boys can make a game of Axis and Allies last for days! And a big favorite is Fact or Crap - not entirely due to its name, of course...

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  5. Marjie, when you're playing, beware the boy who says, "Look at Thor -- He's doing something cute!" Keep your eye on the Industrial Production Certificates.

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  6. When my sister was a kid, she and a friend were about to play a game of Clue. After they'd set up the board, my sister excused herself to go to the bathroom. When she returned, the girl asked if she could guess before they started to actually play. "I guess so," said my sister tentatively.

    This weekend in Williamsburg, Virginia, I watched my nephew's new inlaws playing a board game where you try to get train tracks to connect US cities. There seemed to be so many rules that I thought of Joey's quiz show host episode on Friends.

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  7. Earl, I think some poker games are that foolishly complicated.

    I have a hunch squirrels are pretty good at survival games. How many ways can I hang upside down to eat? How long do I have to chase red Fritz before we both realize we might have to sprint far for real some day. Etc.

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  8. Oh you'd love to play Scrabble with me. I could blow some third grader away , but after that.... well let me get you another glass of wine. :)
    V

    PS Do they make Paris Monopoly? Now that's the ticket!!!!

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  9. So glad I never had to play against you, Karin! There's a small problem when you have children - you have to let them win most of the time, else they won't want to play. But it takes away all the fun.

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  10. What fool did these tricks work on?

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  11. I always think a game of monopoly is a great idea, but I always end up feeling sleazy and empty after, no matter what the outcome is.

    I suppose that's a decent enough lesson for lots of things in the modern world. But it's an obnoxious lesson nonetheless.

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  12. A girlfriend promised today that we'll be playing Scrabble when she flies in from overseas. I can't even remember the last time I played it, so I'd better buy some TimTams and locate an animal named Puffy.

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  13. I can think of a board (floor) game ...

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  14. I think Twister is pretty much cheat proof.

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  15. Quoting Petrea "What fool did these tricks work on?" besides me.

    Board games bored me. Loosing as soon as possible was my strategy.

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  16. "I think I just heard Boz in the kitchen and he's trying to tell you something."

    See, it was easy.

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  17. I don't like to brag but I am a Twister master. But is that a board game?

    PS: Thank you so much for the very detailed directions to fix the blogger problem. You made much more sense than their help page did :-D

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  18. Cheaters never prosper!

    That was the sing-song line we would deliver to players like you, back in the day. ;-)

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  19. I'm much too grouchy to play board games...I HAVE to win and when I don't........

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  20. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bESGLojNYSo

    Comment: stoical dogs!

    Someone had too.

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  21. Barca got the cup.

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  22. I don't think we ever finished a game of Monopoly. It just went on and on and on... Somebody should've cheated to put us out of our misery.

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  23. I loved playing board games as a kid, but I was such a goody-goody and wouldn't steal from the bank or cheat. Silly me. My best board game memories are playing Scrabble with my Maine grandparents who played all the time (and kept the tiles in an ancient purple Crown Royal bag). In all the years playing I think I beat my grandfather one time, and only because he'd had a second beer at dinner. What I wouldn't give to be able to sit down for a Scrabble game with Grace and Al right now.

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  24. "The only time it's good to yell out diarrhea is when you're playing Scrabble because it's worth a crapload of points." Zach Galifanakis, SNL, May 28, 2011, 10:40 PM (approximately).

    You can't argue with logic.

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  25. Katie, with that one little detail about the Crown Royal bag, you've just taught a lesson about good writing.

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  26. Is anyone else jonsing for a game of Scrabble right now? I am. And Katie, nothing can beat Grace and Al, but if you visit, I can round up some good blogger friends and we'll have a helluva match.

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  27. Are you saying helluva is a word? Fasten your seatbelt, Katie.

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  28. "..bankers not only make their own change, they can make their own rules and make their own math when they make their own change."

    I wish this was true only in regards to board games.

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  29. Petrea any writing lesson I provided was purely coincidental as the only lessons I've ever been trained to give were swimming ones. And Karin I'll definitely make a point to travel south to take you up on that helluva Scrabble game, especially if Petrea provides the watermelon margaritas and Mister Earl brings the seatbelts.

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  30. And PI brings her qua.

    (K, yes, some of those kids took their lessons to heart. Did you hear This American Life's show on psychopaths yesterday?)

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  31. Tooo funny!!! And tooooo true!!! Banking, today especially, is following your example Hiker!!! They make the rules, and we've got to jump through the hoops!!! I'll tell y'all about our hoop jumpin' in the not too distant future!!

    wv...hoophab...banks have a lot of hoophab nowadays!!!

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  32. I’m with Sara and PA on this one. And Paula, thanks for that!

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  33. Jon's strategy with me when playing Scrabble works every time.

    Jon: "Want another glass of wine?"
    Me: "Sure!"

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  34. Hmmmm...Petrea...I think you just solved the mystery of why TheChief always wins at Scrabble...that and those darned two letter words he always makes a million points on!!!

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  35. Oops...my mistake...Laurie...I think you've revealed TheChief's secret weapon!!!

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  36. Don’t we all scrabble about for ... something?

    wv: workeram - us worker

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  37. Count me in on that Scrabble game. Just make sure you have an official Scrabble Dictionary to resolve any disputes. The word has to be in the Dictionary, or it's no good - unless of course it's profanity. Commons spellings of dirty words that aren't in the Dictionary are allowable.

    WV: belaph - that's a good Scrabble word

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  38. Petrea, I’m not sure if I understand you.

    Please repeat with an e-accent, I mean an English accent.

    wv: woren - probably very worried.

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  39. I'm one of those people who LOVES games of all kinds . . . I'm trying desperately to pass on that love to my daughter with Chutes and Ladders (virtue is rewarded and vice is punished . . . but she thinks the slides - vices - look like more fun) and Candy Land (the one with the most desserts wins)

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