My office building is hosting a toy drive for Toys for Tots. The toys are being displayed in the window of the office across my mine, so when I walk through the lobby, I can see them. Among the donations of puzzles, Crayola art sets and toy trucks are board games, like Candy Land and Yahtzee.
I love board games. When I was a kid, if I told my mom I wanted a game for Christmas, I got a game - you know, a cardboard gameboard that folded in half, or quarters if it was a fancy game, dice, cards, and always little pieces we'd surely lose before Christmas day was over. Nowadays, if a kid asks for a game, it probably involves a computer or TV.
I still have my original Candy Land game somewhere, although the box is MIA and a few cards might be missing. It is a great game for little kids who can't read - just match the colors. I used to play with my little brother all the time. We'd always hope the next card we drew was the one that took you up to the Ice Cream Sea, and pray we'd never get stuck in the Molasses Swamp.
My mom used to play Yahtzee with me. She would put a kleenex in the bottom of the cup so it wouldn't make so much noise. It never failed though - I try and try to get the Large Straight filled in, and finally, just after I'd decide to give up put my total in the Chance slot, sure enough, I'd roll a large straight on the next turn.
When Trivial Pursuit came out, I was in heaven. I have so many random facts rolling around in my head, this was finally an opportunity to play a game that required knowledge and skill, and not just a random roll of the dice. I would usually win, and then people stopped playing with me. So I amused myself by reading the questions on the front, then flipping the card over and seeing if I got any right. Yes, I was a sad lonely child, why do you ask?
I think one of my favorites has to be Sorry. My brother and I would play that for hours, laughing manically when we'd send the other back to Start. My brother would take great pleasure in sliding my piece right off the board, and sometimes right off the dining room table. I swear while I was retrieiving the piece off the floor he was moving his closer to Home.
Lately I've seen TV commercials for family game nights, and I think that's a great idea. Whether you win or lose, it's not about the outcome but the memories you make.