The Fun Starts Here
For board game adventures
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 29, 2012 13:10
It’s the time of year when we North Dakotans are waving goodbye to autumn and teetering on the precipice of winter. Being outside does not hold much allure this time of year, at least for me. There is no snow yet for sledding, snowshoeing or snowboarding (what with all of our hills and such) and definitely no ice for skating yet.
Ah, so what is a bored, broke homebody to do? Don’t be bored, play board games of course! Frankly, I do not think board games are given the respect they deserve! The following article is my homage is to board games woven with plenty of nostalgia, fu, and reflection, of course.
I think the fun and simplicity of board games are so underappreciated in our technology and alcohol inundated society. Since I was a little girl and my grandma first taught me to play tiddly winks, I have always found games to be an engaging, fun way to bond, laugh and have fun.
The classic tiddly winks game with its bright, rainbow colored chips and board always has happy associations, although I do not remember the specific rules of the game. I do remember when my little sister thought the bright red chip was a piece of candy and swallowed it. We were worried a tiddly wink would grow some sort of bizarre plastic plant inside her stomach! Yet a few hours later, my sister delightedly called out to my grandma that she had expunged said tiddly wink from her tiny toddler tummy. No more details are needed.
The games we played as kids and into adolescence reflected our progression through developmental stages, from rubber naptime mats of preschool to the nylon neon sleeping bags of elementary school and junior high. It started with Candyland, the simple yet fun racing game in the quest of reaching the towering candy castle. Oh how I idolized the candy fashion mavens of Princess Lolly, Grandma Nutt and Queen Frostine and loathed the diabolical Lord Licorice. I learned counting and colors while frolicking in the gumdrop mountains and getting stuck in the evil molasses swamp. The game became a snooze-fest once I had mastered counting and colors, so it was onward to bigger and better.
Clue will always hold a special place in my heart, and hopefully yours too. I was fascinated by the classic whodunit plot, collecting clues in my “detective notes” to guess who the culprit, room of the murder and weapon hidden in a miniature manila envelope. Admittedly, I still love Clue and recently was delighted to find a 1980s version tucked away with all the pieces at a thrift store.
Alongside Clue, Monopoly is right up there with the classic, timeless board games. Monopoly is the quintessential delightful game of amassing the most money and property at the expense of your peers! Some have seriously argued against this game as a metaphor of capitalistic excess and greed, and I have even seen an Anti-Monopoly board game. I think those people take it a little too seriously--it’s a game with delightful little tokens such as a thimble, a top hat, a scottie dog and an iron, among others.
Unlike universal games of my childhood previously mentioned, I also delighted in girly games such as--gasp--Girl Talk! Girl Talk is basically truth or dare for dummies. If you refuse to perform a dare or answer a question such as who your crush or worst enemy is, you must wear the dreaded zit sticker! The lesson embedded in this game is teaching girls the perils of acne-ridden skin and the losers are the ones with the most zits. Pretty deep stuff, I must say.
Games stopped being “cool” in high school, so I mostly took a hiatus from them because, naturally, I was too cool for school. Really, I was not that cool, but I do not remember playing many games aside from family gatherings and occasional dork outs. Fast forward a few years, and I was reintroduced to my love of games via activity therapy or “AT” as those hip to the lingo of treatment “rehab” centers know.
At first it seemed sort of laughable that all of us “broken” people struggling with addictions and mental health would spend at least an hour every day playing games because of the therapeutic value and bonding. Every day we would gather around the table, a motley crew with a bizarre amalgamation of ages and disorders. It might sound cliché, but it helped us start to trust each other, ourselves, and we learned the value in just learning to laugh again.
We would enter wearing our scars and leave laughing after playing games like Apples to Apples, Outburst and Catch Phrase. Even outside the proverbial Cuckoo’s nest, I think anybody can find value in that, win or lose.
Tessa is a senior majoring in English.