When I was 12 we (my mom, brother & I) started going to my step-dad’s house on the weekend. It was a fun place to visit. My 2 step-brothers and step-sister were there too and we had a lot to do since we were out in the country. We could swim in the summer and skate in the winter. We climbed trees and played baseball. And we played Monopoly.
We had marathon games, like the lacrosse games of lore that lasted for weeks at a time. The 5 kids would set up a game in the front living room on an old kitchen table and play until there was a winner. Some times we played for a few turns before dinner. Some times we played for a few hours on a rainy day. But the game didn’t end just because the weekend did. We would mark down whose turn it was and pick it back up next time.
Those games started a trend of Monopoly being the most popular in the house and family. We would start games after dinner on Saturday nights at the dining room table and play into the wee hours of the night when my mom would walk into the room, remind us about church in the morning and we would wrap it up.
There were other games in my youth, not just the property trading legend. When we visited my grand-parents at the farm we often ended up playing loud, long, laughable games of Uno. Nicknames were invented, fingers were pointed, feuds were started and fun was had. There were nights when we had 14 or 15 people around the table with a fistful of cards in their hands. Those were good nights.
Two of my first game memories came early in my youth from the living room of one of my mom’s cousins. They had KerPlunk and Jenga… and my mind was blown. Both games were fun and loud and things fell and made a mess and were awesome for children. I think it was probably Christmas, somewhere between 1987 and 1989 when I discovered these 2 games. And here I am, remembering my time on the living room floor with KerPlunk and in the basement sitting at a coffee table with Jenga.
I also remember playing Sorry with my dad and brother on weekends. Who knows how many games we played. But I remember laying and sitting on the carpeted floor in the house in Port Hope. It was calm and sometimes not. It was good and sometimes bad. Just like every other board game experience. Without reading any studies or asking anyone my gut feeling is that it’s because there is winning and losing involved.
Note: One night I was playing Cranium with an ex-girlfriend and 2 friends of ours. My ex was not having a good night, was not participating and was bringing us down. I got competitive. I got fed up. I called her a bad name. A very bad name. It wasn’t a good thing.
Over the years the frequency with which I’ve played board games has slowed. However, I still dig it. I’ve played Scrabble in bars with friends. I’ve played Smart-Ass at my mom’s kitchen table at my birthday party. I once got ESPN Scene It and Canadian Monopoly for Christmas. The SuperFriends played a rousing game of Bezzerwizzer at Rannie’s place.
I have a lot of great memories that involve board games from when I was a kid, more as an adult, and I hope there are more still to come.
Thanks to everyone who tweeted at me with their fav board games… we heard Monopoly, Life, Payday, Nightmare (the board game), Clue, Sorry and more!
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