CARRIE BICKMORE plays by the rules – unless she’s losing a board game.
“Something strange happens during change…” a board game. People
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”