CAR­RIE BICKMORE plays by the rules – un­less she’s los­ing a board game.

“Some­thing strange hap­pens dur­ing change…” a board game. Peo­ple

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - Car­rie co-hosts The Project, 6.30pm week­nights, on Net­work Ten.

The days are get­ting shorter, the nights are colder, and that means one thing: board-game nights. Over the past month or so, I’ve found my­self reg­u­larly, die in hand – eye­balling a loved one across the table – ready and will­ing to take no pris­on­ers.

I have dis­cov­ered board games are not al­ways a safe op­tion for a bit of friendly fun. I have be­come acutely aware that the phrase, “Who wants to play Pic­tionary?” can break an oth­er­wise lovely night with friends and family. And when I say break, I mean break.

My friend Marcus (not his real name) lit­er­ally re­fuses to play board games with his in-laws now af­ter one ter­ri­ble night when his mother-in­law im­ple­mented the house rule of col­lect­ing $400 ev­ery time you pass GO in Mo­nop­oly. Af­ter a huge de­bate and sev­eral emo­tional con­sul­ta­tions with the rule book, Marcus promptly stood up, stuffed all the Mo­nop­oly money in his pock­ets and bailed. His long-suf­fer­ing wife was left to apol­o­gise and ex­plain that he is a stick­ler for the rules. Need­less to say, the family now have movie nights in­stead. Some­thing strange hap­pens when a board game is placed on the table. It changes peo­ple. The meek can be­come the strong. The strong can be­come the in­sane, and the per­son you least sus­pect can be­come an unashamed cheat. I was away for the week­end with friends a few years back, and one of my mates (quiet, friendly type) be­came a right royal, well, prick. We were play­ing Pic­tionary and he was part­nered with his new Dutch girl­friend. She couldn’t guess what his child­like draw­ings were and he start­ing chastis­ing her for not un­der­stand­ing (how dare things get lost in trans­la­tion?). I have been guilty of go­ing a lit­tle cray cray, too. I’m usu­ally such a fol­lower of the rules. But put a game of Scat­ter­gories in front of me and I for­get my­self. The other day I even tried to con­vince my nine-year-old it was OK to bend the rules… just a lit­tle. I’ll never for­get the look on his face when I told him to add a word even though the sand glass had emp­tied. What had happened to me?! A big prob­lem is “family rules”. If we all just stuck to the rules in the box it would be fine. But you ei­ther lose them or ad­just them for kids, and be­fore you know it you are ar­gu­ing over who is right.

My part­ner Chris and I spent 45 min­utes (I’m not ex­ag­ger­at­ing) the other day de­bat­ing that, given he’d used the word “row­boat” for one of his an­swers in Scat­ter­gories, he couldn’t use “row­ing” in the same round. In my book they were ef­fec­tively the same an­swer, and the rules clearly state you can’t use the same word twice in a round. He said: “Row­boat is a noun and row­ing is a sport­ing dis­ci­pline, and there­fore quite dif­fer­ent!” ARGH! We never fin­ished the game.

On the flip side, there are times when board games can be so much fun. Like the time we were play­ing Pic­tionary and my mum and step­dad thought the word was “mas­cara”, and my aunty and un­cle thought it was “mas­sacre”. One team was yelling: “Eyes! Lashes! Face!” While the other was yelling: “Kill! Dead! War!” We were all left in stitches.

The moral of this story? Well, there isn’t one. All I can say is: this win­ter, PLAY SAFE.

“I tried to con­vince my nine-year-old it was OK to bend the rules… just a lit­tle”

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