Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Object of the Game

I have memories of playing board games when I was younger, but I never really "got it." Win or lose; do or die? That mindset was lost on me. Never a fan of losing, but not willing to invest what it took to win, I just never really enjoyed playing a game.

In my mind, I guess I had always spelled them BORED games. Having the attention span of a gnat made it difficult to sit through any game that lasted more than five minutes. I never understood how anyone could have a family game night. A whole NIGHT devoted to BORED games?

I was not blessed with a competitive spirit, and was the kid who always said, "It's just a game." I never cared who won. If I could see it was a big deal to you, I would let you win. I didn't want to play the stupid game anyway, and I certainly didn't care about winning it. 

Dad loved games of strategy. He taught us early to play chess, and I would play with him on occasion to make him happy, but my "laissez-faire" attitude drove him nuts. 

"Necie, are you sure you want to do that?" he would ask me over the top of his glasses. 

"It's a move, Dad. Your turn."

"But in four more moves, I'll have you in checkmate." Perfect, I would think, this game will be over before I know it.

"Yep, that's my move then."

Strategy escaped me. How he could predict what was going to happen four moves down the road baffled me. I didn't even know what I was going to do until I did it. How could he know how the game was going to end based on any move I made? 

Candy Land was the most inane game on the planet. Honestly, that game could bore me to tears as a youngster.  

I can remember "accidentally" bumping the Monopoly board on more than one occasion to end the game abruptly when I couldn't take it any more. What a dreadful game. Real estate? Paying taxes? Jail? How is any of that stuff fun? Any time a friend suggested that game, I would only play if they would agree to play the short version. Even that one seemed interminable. 

The games I liked had moving parts, or allowed me to move. Mouse Trap was fun, but I just liked making the ball roll down the chute to trap the mouse. Hungry Hippos was a little more fun, for about three minutes. Twister was my favorite, and entertained me more than most games because I didn't have to sit still, or be careful not to tip the board. Yes, I realize there was no board involved in Twister. Note to self...

It's embarrassing to admit, but it wasn't until recently that I realized the point of games isn't to finish them or to win them, it's simply a way to bring people together to enjoy each other's company. I still like games that allow me to move more, like Jenga, or even Quelf. 

Later in life, I discovered Scrabble, and I will admit that I am always up for a game of that! Bridger and I rarely keep score, and we like to invent new versions of the game, when we ignore the rules. 

Bridger and I have played Quelf, a fairly new party game. I love, love, love that the instructions are as follows:

Why else would you play a game?"

We had a raucous game night when the big kids came to visit in January, and I have to admit, I've never laughed so hard in my life. (If you have ever played Cards Against Humanity, you know what I'm talking about. It's not for everyone; our love of irreverent humor knows no bounds.)

Now that I understand that the point of a game is to have fun, I am more agreeable about playing board games, and have even relinquished my passive-aggressive spelling, no longer spelling it BORED. Now I focus on the people around me. As long as you don't care that I don't care about the outcome, we'll probably all have a lot more fun.

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