Posted by: Bonnie Anderson | May 8, 2012

Confessions of a Game Player

Games have been a huge part of my life.  I remember playing Monopoly with my brother and sisters when we were kids.  Those games were like a marathon, especially with my brother’s rule of exemptions from pay for a set number of times if he lands on my property – all for just a measly monopoly.  And who wins when your only monopoly is Baltic and Mediterranean?  Especially since you don’t collect for the next four times you are landed on.

The irony is that now that I’m an adult, I’d rather visit the Baltic or the Mediterranean than the Boardwalk or Park Place.  But I’m getting off track here.  Here’s a peak at my progression of game playing from being a child to being a parent of adult children.

Child:  You want to win.  Winning is everything.  You don’t care about the rules.  You have to be taught to play your best and that’s all you can do.  Your parents tell you that winning is not everything.  You wonder what else your parents are lying to you about.  Surely this is the only thing.  Of course Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny are as real as The Tooth Fairy.

Teenager:  You want to win.  Winning is everything.  You don’t care about the rules.  You are taught that it is fine to want to win, but remember winning is not everything; it’s how you play the game.  We’re here to have fun.  You think it’s a lot more fun when you win.

Parent of Young Children:  You want your child to win.  There is no thrill of victory in crushing your four-year-old in a game of Chutes and Ladders.  You wonder what the record for longest game of Candy Land is because you know you’re in contention for it.  You don’t care about the rules because your children are already cheating but that’s okay because you are too – anything to shorten the game.

Parents of Teenagers:  You want to win.  Winning shows your kid you still know a thing or two.  You care about the rules and you want your child to also.  You discover it’s fun to play games with them.  You no longer cheat in an effort to end the game.

Parents of Adults:  You want to win, but it’s not quite as important to you.  You’re just happy your kids still want to hang out with you.  Of course, this is from a mom’s perspective.

And speaking from a mom’s perspective, for some reason I don’t pose the same threat to my children as my husband does when we’re playing a game, even though I truly am quite an awesome game player, if I do say so myself (and I do – somebody has to).  The biggest exception to my game-playing awesomeness is Clue – I hate Clue.  Why does Bob write something down on everybody’s turn?  (I want to hit him with a candlestick in the library.  Is that wrong?)  But getting back to how it’s different for my husband – everyone (our children, our friends, his family, strangers) always wants to beat Bob, all the time.  It’s like he has a target on his back, and well, he’s earned it.  Bob is one of those annoying guys who wins at games – a lot.  If all things are equal in a game or if the other players are not quite sure who to go after to advance their lead, they go after Bob.  You may say it’s not fair, but if you do that only means you have never competed against Bob.

Our favorite game is Settlers of Catan.  We play regularly.  If you stop by our house at any hour of the day we will most likely stop what we are doing to play this game with you.  We have the travel version of the game and it has gone on a Western Caribbean cruise with us and another couple.  We played a lot on the ship.  That’s how much we love it.  I understand there was a myriad of activities on our cruise, but all I know is that Bob kept beating us at Catan.  We have worn out the cards that go with it about three times and have had to upgrade our board once because of excessive use.  For Christmas some of our kids got us the super-duper wooden deluxe set that should never wear out.  I call it “The Precious.”  Our daughter and son-in-law made different sets of pieces for each member of our family for Christmas one year.  This involved using a dremel tool and individually painting all the little roads, settlements and cities.  Our kids are pretty extreme, too.  We’re so proud.

I will not play this with my grandchildren yet, even though they are getting dangerously close to being old enough.  I don’t want them seeing that side of their grandfather and me.  It was easy enough to use a permanent marker to make “play designed for age 10 and up” look like “18 and up.”

So now you have my confession.  I should add one thing.  A paraphrase of Mark 12:25 would be that there is no marriage in heaven.  I try to align with that scripture when playing Catan with my sweet husband and tell him that while playing Catan, there is no husband and wife, just people trying to beat Bob.

Sorry, Layna, you have to be 18 to play Settlers of Catan

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Responses

  1. Fun post, Bonnie. Discovered another thing we have in common; I love playing games. And now there’s one more person in the universe who wants to beat Bob. 🙂 ~Leslie

    • Thanks, Leslie. It’s fun to know more about each other. We’ll have to share what games we like some time soon. I’ll warn Bob that the army is growing.

  2. First of all- why would one be surprised? Ship for Tarshish? Of course, the Mediterranean- even the Baltic is a short hop…
    Secondly, I first played Clue with my cousins- and used my scientific method to devastate them. Which is why we stopped playing when I hit 7 (they were almost 11 and 14)…
    And, we adjusted the rules of certain games to match the needs and abilities of our children. Winning was often the opposite when they were three and when they were six…

    • I had overlooked the Tarshish connection. It makes even more sense now. Thanks, Roy! Yes, we adjusted the rules of games, too, and still do when we have new players. You know, I would love to see you and Bob play each other at Clue. It could be a very interesting match. I’ll sit that one out though.

  3. That was an AWESOME post! I could relate to every stage and actually spewed Coke Zero out my nostrils at the image of you whacking Bob with the candlestick in the library – brilliant!!!

    • Thank you, Tor. It is tempting to resort to physical violence, but I just keep thinking how challenging it is for Bob to play with us mere mortals. He is one of the most brilliant people I know. I’m a blessed lady.

  4. I grew up with games as well. We regularly played a fairly rare game (it was only made for two years before Milton Bradley pulled it) called Dark Towers.

    As an adult, we don’t play much. My hubby (love him to pieces) is one of those highly intelligent individuals that believe, if a game is worth playing it’s worth winning. Which means no one else ever wins because he also will ONLY play games of strategy.

    Oh, and btw, the reason Bob writes down things is because you can then narrow down what other people have that way! I do it too!

    • Thanks for commenting! Bob has explained why he writes down things the same way you did, but for some reason it is to no avail for me. Sometimes I doodle just to make him wonder what I’m up to. Sorry for your loss of a game opportunity. If you’re ever in Orlando you can come play at my house.


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