I don’t remember having a lot of family board game nights as a kid. Maybe we did and they just haven’t stayed in my memory or something, but as far as I know, it’s just not something that was a big part of our lives when we were growing up. Now that we’re older, though, it’s started to become a bit of a tradition to drag out a game or two around Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is something we make an extra effort to do when we have a boyfriend or another guest visiting, in an attempt to make other people believe we’re the kind of family that plays board games. We’re not. We’re the kind of family that eats dinner in front of the TV and has spirited arguments over who’s the best contestant on Survivor this year.
But yeah, anyway. What was I saying? Elaborate hoax of an idyllic family. Right. We drag out the board games.
We have approximately one million board games, and 999,995 of them are missing enough pieces to make them completely impossible to play. We could probably throw them away, but that would be way too easy. Besides, maybe the knife, candlestick, and noose from Clue will all turn up on the same day someday, just in time for us to figure out the mystery. So what if we lost those pieces twenty years and four houses ago and the dog who’s been dead for twelve years probably ate them? It could happen! Let’s hang onto that game just in case!
We don’t like trivia games very much. We prefer games that require little thought or skill, giving us lots of time to scream at each other and to come up with creative ways to cheat. Card games like Uno and Skip-Bo are particularly good for this. We also like Monopoly. Trivial Pursuit just hasn’t lent itself well to forming alliances and calling your sisters dirty whores. The only trivia exceptions are the Shout About Movies games, because they brilliantly allow us to combine screaming, alliances, and trivia with sitting on our asses in front of the TV. We don’t like Scene It! because there’s a board and shit and we just can’t keep up.
This weekend, the games on deck were UNO Spin and Monopoly.
Game playing almost got derailed entirely because during Wednesday Monopoly with Mom and Jamie, Jay offered to trade me two of her orange properties and two of her green ones for Park Place. We don’t cut Jamie any slack because she’s the youngest, so I took that deal and proceeded to wipe the floor with both of them. Mom and Jamie are horrible, horrible losers, and their crushing Monopoly loss led to a yellfest several hours later. We are lucky we recovered in time for UNO Spin on Friday night.
UNO Spin is like regular UNO except with a spinner that causes players to take extra actions. These extra actions nearly caused fistfights in my family. Highlights:
- Some other member of my family – certainly not I – called other members of the family bastards and sons of bitches.
- My mother punched me in the arm approximately four times, possibly in connection with the time I called her a mean old hag. When my mother punches, she punches with her whole body, and she leaves marks.
- When the game made us trade hands, my dad complained EVERY TIME that Jamie didn’t sort her hand by color. My mother complained that my cards were out of order and arranged “left-handed.” In possibly related news, I am left-handed.
- Jamie and Sammi had some kind of sketchy deal going on, as usual. I think they had a secret card-trading alliance.
- When the game made us show our hands, my mother would flip her hand down for a half of a millisecond and insist that this counted as showing her hand.
- The game was delayed by about ten hours because every time we cited a rule, Mom was convinced that we were making it up, and insisted on checking the actual rule book. She was the Rules Nazi for this particular game.
- Jamie complained for approximately seven rounds about the time we busted her for not saying UNO and made her draw two cards. She is probably still mad about that today.
- Mom tried to argue that throwing a yellow 2 down on a red DRAW 2 was a totally legitimate move, as both cards had the number 2 on them.
- Mom also blatantly tried to look at other people’s hands before playing her card.
At some point we got bored with UNO Spin, probably because I was winning every game, and we switched to Monopoly. Here’s what you need to know about how my family plays Monopoly:
- Dad gets mad when no one will make deals with him, but Dad is a Monopoly fiend and is capable of dominating the entire game with nothing but slums. He proved this in fine fashion on Friday night.
- Mom gets territorial, curses, and throws dice at people. She also tends to fight Jamie for the utilities.
- Sammi is a lousy money manager and tends to lose or quit early.
- Jamie tends to have lots of money and to make terrible deals. Jamie will, for example, offer you a thousand dollars and two free passes around the board for a single property. Sammi always sits next to Jamie because Jay will feel sorry for her and start slipping her money under the table. This is why Jamie tends to lose.
- I am always the banker, and I either win the game or I get my ass kicked. There’s no in-between. This time, I had my ass kicked, because I was playing against Dad the Master, and because I landed on maybe two properties in my first ten turns, when everyone else was snapping up all the real estate.
I am not sure how Ginny plays because she was not able to be home with us this year, and so we haven’t played with her in a while.
The Monopoly game lasted until the wee hours of the night, when Dad yelled “REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEENT!” every time Mom landed on his slums, and I listlessly threw $100 bills at them when they passed Go. Finally, Dad dragged Mom kicking and screaming into bankruptcy, and insisted on counting his winnings. For the record, he had over ten thousand dollars.
And we were so wiped out on board games and tryptophan that that we all slept late the next day.