Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What your choice of board game says about you - Blog Rerun

NOTE: The following was originally posted on my old blog ("They Still Call Me Daddy") on December 28, 2011. I like it so much that I'm bringing it back here. Which is both narcissistic and lazy. But as I always say, I try to deliver to you, the reader, full value for the price you pay me to visit this blog. Which is of course nothing, so do the math...

We're a board game kind of family.

And by "board" game, I don't just mean the ones where you roll a dice and move a little piece around a sheet of pressed cardboard, though Lord knows we have dozens of those. I also mean checkers, chess, cribbage, Scrabble, and Yahtzee, and oodles and oodles of card games.

In our downstairs storage room is a seven-foot cabinet filled top to bottom with almost every game you can imagine. We never lack for choices.

One reason we like board games is because we like winning. If there's one thing I've passed down to my kids, it's a competitive streak. I like to win. They like to win. There is little mercy expected and almost none shown during one of our family board game sessions. You might think, "But isn't it about having fun?" And we would respond, "Yes, but isn't the greatest kind of fun seeing an opponent land on Boardwalk and Park Place when you own them with hotels, and watching the other person burst into tears as they hand over the small fortune in Monopoly money they've spent 2 1/2 hours accumulating?"

We like to play virtually anything, but there's a subtle message conveyed in the specific board game you select. Like the car you drive or the clothes you wear, a board game says something about you. Here's what I'm talking about:

People who like to play Clue are violent sociopaths. They have no interest in free-market real estate (Monopoly), choosing a career and raising a family (Life), or out-and-out lying (Balderdash). They want a game that involves the gruesome bludgeoning or stabbing death of a rich guy, and the subsequent trial, conviction and execution of the murderer (who, by the way, always seems to be Colonel Mustard when I play). Be careful, because if you beat them at Clue, they're liable to reenact the murder scene with you playing the part of Mr. Boddy. Just saying.

Battleship is a game of luck. Winning is random, unless you're playing a little kid who packs their ships into that compact "I have no idea what I'm doing" square of doom. I'm not saying that being a good Battleship player is the equivalent of being a good slot machine player, but....well, yes, actually I am saying that. They're both hit and miss. But hey, there's no shame in the fact that you lack deductive reasoning or any other socially redeemable skills.

Like Monopoly? Then you're a cheater. Yes, you heard me, you're a cheater. No honest person genuinely enjoys Monopoly, because an honestly played game of Monopoly takes 14 hours. The game only ends in a reasonable amount of time if the banker is giving himself interest-free loans on the sly, or if someone else grabs a deed they didn't pay for in order to complete a monopoly ("Wait, you have Marvin Gardens? I don't remember you buying that." "Oh yeah, it was an hour ago. You must not have noticed.") You might be saying, "Well, I never do either of those. I don't cheat at Monopoly." Yeah? Do you do that thing where you put money on Free Parking and give it to the next person who lands there? Then you're a cheater. It's not in the rules. Look it up.

If Trivial Pursuit is your first choice, you're an insufferable, overly competitive know-it-all. I should know, because I'M an insufferable, overly competitive know-it-all, and Trivial Pursuit is always my first choice. Why? Because I know that no matter who you are, I'll probably destroy you. My mind is filled with useless knowledge. Rarely is it of much use unless I'm playing Trivial Pursuit or appearing on the occasional television game show. Never play Trivial Pursuit with someone who wants to play Trivial Pursuit, that's my advice to you.

People who choose these games are all smarter than me. I can do random trivia, sure, but that's no indication of intelligence. That's just having a photographic memory and the gift of instant recall. These are games of strategy that require clear thinking, a quick mind, and the ability to anticipate your opponent's moves. I lack those skills, and the people who have them are exactly what I want to be when I grow up. But let me get them on the other side of a Candyland board and I'll wipe the floor with them. I have five kids, man. I'll be past Queen Frostine and on my way to victory before they even know what hit them.


  1. What does it say if I have an unhealthy love of the game Risk?

  2. Damn. I was afraid of that. Fun piece Scott. Keep it up!