Board Games or Bored Games?

We are smack in the middle of a blizzard.  Six to ten inches of snow and 40 mile per hour winds.  No visibility and gusts that push semis off the road.  Super fun–but only because I just grocery shopped and we won’t have to gnaw on last night’s roast bone for the next three days.

Anyway, when the weather keeps us in, our family usually breaks out board games.  We all have our loves (yeah, I kick hiney at Scrabble) and dislikes (I’d rather pluck out my armpit hair with a tweezers than play Monopoly) and a very few games that everyone enjoys (try getting six people to play the same thing and not break out the brass nuckles.)

In one of my manuscripts, my MCs are playing a game.  Right now it’s the dreaded Monopoly.  I figured it was a game everyone and their grandma would recognize and relate to without having to actually address how the game is played.  The actions are interspersed between dialogue. 

“Have you heard about the ghost?”  Jenny slid her boot onto Boardwalk.  Everyone turned to her…blah, blah, blah.

It wasn’t until later that I realized she never paid me rent.

Okay, not exactly, but you get the picture. 

And so I’m doing a little research.  What is the most popular game in your house? 

Which game makes you stand on the table, rip open your shirt, pummel your chest and declare yourself King of all?  Which game would make shoveling raw manure on a ninety degree day appear fun?  And which game simply bores you to the point of picking belly button lint?

And when you play, what kind of player are you?  The kind that pouts when someone scores more points, the kind that holds a grudge to the point you refuse to lose, or the kind that flings your money across the table and storms away only to curl up in the fetal position until someone soothes your wounded ego?

Consider this research.  Seriously.  I want to make my passage realistic and interesting.  To the point where, if you have any great game-playing anecdotes, I’d love to hear them.

Thanks in advance.


16 responses to “Board Games or Bored Games?

  1. We play Monopoly with two boards, overlapping the Free Parking squares and moving in a figure 8. Takes for-EVAH, with the double amount of cash and hotels and houses, but eventually two people end up like Donald Trump and one of the 4 of us wanders off to something else.

    My daughter is like Trump. Merciless and avaricious.

    My wife is like the one who runs the homeless shelter. She always loses.

    I’m like the judge.

    • Peter, your version of family game night is synonymous with my vision of hell.

      I would be the homeless person needing your wife’s compassion just to keep me out of a mental ward.

      Therapy plus soup and a warm bed=I’ll live for one more figure eight around the board.

      I have hives just thinking about it!

    • As a PS. I do love the kid version of Monopoly. We have Diggin’ Dinos which is super fun. Even if I always end up iin the tar pits and have to pay $2 to get my jeep repaired.

  2. My family loves board games!!! Our favorites for big groups are Apples to Apples, Imaginiff, Trivial Pursuit, Phase 10, Taboo, and Cranium. But we have tons more! (If you ever need any new suggestions, just ask me.) My husband’s and my favorite two person games are Scrabble, Jenga, and Sequence. I’m also a big fan of the kid games like Candy Land, Life, Chutes and Ladders, Sorry, Trouble. So fun!

    I can be really competitive. I don’t like to lose! But I only win about 50% of the time, lol, so I don’t get mad or that takes the fun out of it. Whenever we play boys v. girls, the boys ALWAYS complain that we’re cheating because we girls have never lost yet. We’re just a good team (and smarter, haha!).

    Everyone in my fam is pretty gracious about winning and “losing”- my dad always says there are no losers, only 1st winner, 2nd winner, 3rd winner, etc. It’s a nice way to look at it especially for the little kids!

  3. Thanks so much for your wonderful insight into a functional family game night! I love all of your suggestions. Taboo is awesome, as are Cranium and Apples to Apples. More creative than competitive and right up my alley.

    Sorry is the bombdiggity of kid games. My kids love it, though we have the Pokemon version, so I’m moving alien creatures around the board and don’t have a clue what my kids’ side dialogue is.

    Another great one–from my childhood and still beloved in our home now–is Clue.

    I think the boys vs. girls with the girls coming out on top is pretty normal. Right? I mean, we are naturally smarter than our male counter parts. Or is it that as a pack, we are just better hunters and more stubborn?

    Love your dad’s philosophy. In my childhood home, my dad was as cut throat as they came. Maybe that’s why I hate Monopoly. I was always the Last Winner!

    Thanks for making me smile this morning.

  4. My husband and I play Boggle several times a week (not exactly a board game, but we love it), and occasionally Scrabble. We’re pretty competitive, and I’ve improved enough so I win slightly less than half of the games (which is better than the almost never wins I suffered through when we first took up the “sport”).

    The only card games I play are the ones where I don’t have to have a partner. I don’t take the games seriously enough, and I don’t really care if I lose, so any partner gets mad at me and says mean things (especially if I trump his ace). 🙂

    • LOL, Patricia. Yeah, the Partners do get competitive when it comes to games with tricks and trumps! I usually get paired with DH’s dad who will bid nine hearts with only a red six in his hand because he can’t stand anyone out bidding him! Good times.

      I love Boggle. It’s such an awesome game. We have both the adult and junior versions. Maybe we’ll have to break it out this afternoon.

      Thanks for your wonderful iinput. May your Scrabble score rock the next time you play.

  5. I’m not a Monopoly fan either – it takes too long and someone’s nerves always frayed… yeah, probably me.

    We used to play a TON of Yahtzee. Everyone enjoyed it.

    I tend to want the kid who hasn’t won lately to win – so I tend to try and help and therefore I can sometimes mess up the whole game completely by mistake. 🙂

    • LOL. I love your version of helping the underdog.

      Youngest is highly competitive for physcial games, but is just fine to play, have fun and lose at brain games. “Oh well, that was fun.”

      Middle goes all pouty when he loses. Pushes the pieces away and tries to quit. We don’t let him, but neither do we try to help him win because I don’t want to reinforce that playing is only for winning.


      It’s so bad that youngest will put on his social service hat just to keep the peace.

      Wonder why they never show these versions of Game Night during a Hasbro commercial?

  6. I used to love playing Monopoly but rarely do anymore. After my husband came into the family he introduced us to his way of playing and nothing was ever the same again. At first, he would consistently kick our butts and we couldn’t figure out how. Only later did it become clear: most of us had always scorned and ignored Baltic and Mediterranean Avenue. They’re so low rent what’s the point? But he would readily snatch them up at the beginning of the game. EVERYONE lands on these spaces all the time for some reason. He soon was squeezing a lot of rent out of us until he could afford everything. Then he would spend the rest of the game trying to make bargains with us, buying and trading properties on the side and such. Which is apparently completely within the rules. And the deals always ended up going in his favor. We began to call him Mephistopheles. And now NO ONE in my family is willing to play Monopoly with him. Not even the fancy LOTR movie version we have. 😉

    My family tends to play a lot of boardgames at Christmas time, usually trivia oriented type stuff, because we’re pretty smart people. But one time many years ago I remember we played the Master Detective version of Clue (more rooms, weapons and characters basically). I think my younger brother was about 12 or 13 and I was two years older. He’s always been the clown of the family and so no one took him seriously when he began proclaiming what the answer was during the game. We all proceeded with our guesses as he continually insisted that he knew it was the gazebo. He slowly made his way across the board to the gazebo at the far end. When he finally reached the gazebo and made his first guess… he was 100% right. None of us had any idea how he knew, but he had been telling us the answers the whole game and we didn’t listen. I suppose he deserved to win. 🙂

    • Both of those are great Game Night stories. I love the Monopoly one.

      Mephistopheles~ how much did he enjoy this nickname?

      Clue is one of those tricky games. Some people just have a mind for that kind of thing, while other stumble around the house asking the same questions over and over again. Funny how that works.

      Clue is one of our faves in this house. We started with the junior version, then moved to the Disney Haunted house version. For Christmas we just got the boys a SPY version where the clues get texted to the detectives. Can’t wait to try that out!

      Thanks so much for weighing in and sharing your stories.

  7. My friends down here are pretty big into board games, so I’ve been introduced to a lot of great ones.

    Dominion, Arkham Horror, Betrayal at House on the Hill, and Red Dragon Inn are some of my favorites.

  8. I’m not a very competitive person. I like games where we can all get along, and if possible, point to the spinner or dice as the thing that makes one person win over everyone else. I hate it when people get angry over board games, and in large groups (when I play), it always seems like someone does.

    My favorite game right now is Scribblish. Everyone is laughing to hard during that to even care who’s winning.

  9. narrativethreads

    My FAVORITE is Taboo. I kick arse at it. It got to the point in college where my male friends REFUSED to play girls against the boys because the girls always left them in the dust with our crazy mind meld communication.

    I too, despise Monopoly, but the TRUE bane of my gaming existence is Trivial Pursuit. Because I don’t CARE who won the world series in 1978. I would rather trim my nose hair than play trivial pursuit. Srsly.

    As far as games we can all agree on, we like Uno and Sorry. Everyone in my household tends toward the cut throat, so games are vicious in the extreme. But we MOSTLY keep our tempers, and rarely does anyone pout or behave badly. My stepdaughter–The Drama Princess–almost always wins though. It’s bizarre.

  10. Hmmm…growing up my family played all sorts of board games. My favorites were Clue, Pictionary, scrabble and Candyland. (I own the winnie the pooh verison).

    I would say I’m a combination of all of the above. Which side comes out depends on how competitive I’m feeling that day and who I’m playing against.

    Now a story….One time my sister and I were going to play Clue. We set everything up, put the cards in the envelope and picked our pieces when she left to use the bathroom. When she returned we started the game. On my first guess I won. She was so mad. She accused me of cheating and peeking at the cards while she was gone. I wondered if it ever occured to her that since only two of us were playing, we had more clues increasing the probability of guessing right on the first try? Needless to say she branded me a cheater and didn’t want to play again.

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