Sunday, October 2, 2011

Game Day

Hello, folks!  I don't know what it is about fall Sundays that gets me in a competitive mood (my guess is watching football may be a major contributing factor), but today is all about Game Day.  I love games.  I mean, who doesn't?  It's fun to sit down and match skills (or luck) with your friends and family.  Some of my fondest memories of childhood include playing board games with the folks and my kid brother. 

But are board games still relevent in the 21st century?  With everything digitized, pixelated, and virtual, how many people still take the time to set up a board with tokens, cards, and dice?  Me, for one.

Today, I want to run down a list of board games that I love to play and bring with them an overpowering sense of sweet nostalgia.  Incidentally, these games should always be played in as vintage a condition as possible to enhance said sweet nostalgia.  Here goes:

5. The Ungame (Talicor).  This isn't actually a game at all, in the traditional sense of the word.  Just look at the title.  Rather, it's a non-competitive way of bringing family and friends closer by fostering "listening skills as well as self-expression" (per the included directions).  As each player progresses through the game, they get to visit such sites as Fearful Forest, Worry Wharf, and Impatient Island, which prompt the questions each player is to answer.  I always thought of The Ungame as the ultimate game for sore losers.  Fun!

4. Clue (Parker Brothers).  Who among us hasn't studied his or her opponent across a Clue board, wondering just how much information the opponent knows about which of six suspects murdered poor Mr. Boddy in Tudor Mansion?  Was it Professor Plum in the Study with a Wrench?  Or perhaps Miss Scarlet used a Revolver in the Conservatory?  In any case, Clue gives each player the opportunity to play sleuth.  Few finer moments exist at a gaming table than making a correct accusation based upon the power of deduction. 

3. Scrabble (Hasbro). The ultimate word game.  Use letter tiles with various point values on a 15x15 grid.  Use all seven tiles at once to grab an extra 50 points.  I can attribute learning at least half my vocabulary by poring over a Scrabble board. 

2. Monopoly (Parker Brothers).  By definition, the dominance of a market by a single entity.  Not legal in the United States, but on a Monopoly board it is not only legal but a requirement of winning.  By rolling dice, move one of the classic game tokens around the board and buy up various properties in order to bankrupt your opponents.  What better game to play to prepare for the new impending recession

1. Stratego (Milton Bradley).  This game does for strategy what Scrabble does for words.  It teaches you.  Two opposing armies, one blue and one red, must move across a battlefield to capture the other's flag.  Be careful, though.  Spies and bombs lurk in unexpected places.  One wrong move and you could get knifed or blown to ribbons.  What's not to love? 

So, tell me -- are board games even worth the while anymore?  Has the world grown too fast-paced with FPS's and RPG's?  What are your favorite games, board or otherwise?  Let me know!


  1. My Family didn't play board-games, or anything the like because we spent little time indoors-- however, one game I did love that I played often with my many cousins was Hide and Seek. I still love that game, lol.

  2. Outside games will be the subject of a future post. No doubt pleasant days and nights were owned by Hide 'n Seek, Freeze Tag, and Monster. But rainy days and winter eves belonged to board games. :)

  3. I always had fun with Clue and Scrabble. Monopoly is ok but I remember it becoming tedious in longer stretches. Ive never heard of the Ungame or played Stratego, but I'll take your word when it comes to those. I remember playing a few others as a child, like Sorry, Candyland, and Life. I think for the most part, video games on consoles, computers, and phones have taken the place of the board games that we grew up with. Having grown up in the early days of video games, but with board games still being popular, I had an appreciation for both. Unless we make an effort to expose our younger generations to board games, its likely that they wont really have much opinion of them. I still see board games being made and sold, but they have significantly less relevance in the digital age. It's another example of newer technology moving forward but not completely eliminating the old. For instance, power tools are widely used in manufacturing, but the old manual hand tools are still bought and have their uses.

  4. Sorry and Life were also staples of Game Days, along with Trouble, Uno, Skip-bo, and various card games. Being the father of a pre-schooler and a toddler, Candyland and Chutes & Ladders have made a recent resurgence (talk about tedious...what we won't do for our kids!).

    Perfect analogy regarding power tools vs. hand tools. Old technology is rarely rendered FULLY obsolete. Good news for our aging population of baby boomers. Heh.