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Bored People

By Starfoxy

When I was a kid I could never talk anyone into playing board games with me. When I was in grade school it was because my siblings were so much older than me. A game of pictionary junior just wasn’t appealing to my teenaged sisters. When I was teen and my group of friend had the inevitable “what do we want to do now?” my suggestion to play a game was always shot down with “Board games are for bored people.”  I would often respond with “we are bored people.” But by that point someone else had decided that we should go to Taco Bell where we would have the exact same conversation all over again, but this time in the parking lot.

I don’t think it was an accident that my husband and his family like games. Board games, card games, parlour games, you name it. This is a large part of why I enjoy spending time with his family. Yesterday after dinner we played Pandemic- a different sort of game where those playing compete with each other against the board. We had a really good time.

I bonded with a college room mate over an 8 hour marathon session of Skip-Bo. I know a woman in my ward who refuses to play games with her husband because she is competitive in a way her husband isn’t- playing games at all introduces too much conflict for them. On of my last memories of Grandpa A was him sitting up on his death bed to play Rummikub- he kept trying to make illegal moves and blame them on his bad eyesight, but his wife wouldn’t let him get away with it.

The leisure time needed to play games is certainly a luxury for which I am grateful. The interplay of competition, collaboration, showing off for each other, and sheer luck make games a very interesting subject for me. Often the way people play games reveals parts of their personality that they might otherwise hide.

What sort of part (if any) have games played in your lives?


Starfoxy is a fulltime caretaker for her two children.

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16 Responses

  1. Deborah says:

    Just finished six rousing games of Bananagrams with my husband and father-in-law. I’m a word gamer who married one of the world’s greatest Boggle players. My favorite iPhone app is Scrabble because my husband and I can lounge on the couch and play each other. Yeah for geekhood!

  2. Lori says:

    We love playing games. Have played Uno, Parcheesi, Whoonu, and Quiddler in just the last couple of days.

    I have lots of memories of playing games with my siblings. Rummikub is one of my favorites!

    My mom’s family plays Mormon Bridge – and everybody plays when we are all together. Several decks of cards, over twenty people playing at a time. I’m so glad my mom taught us how to play because it made it easy to fit in at family gatherings.

    My husband and I are too competitive to play together, but now that my kids are old enough to play, we can join in with them.

  3. FoxyJ says:

    Growing up we didn’t play a lot of games; there were a few that we had and would play as a family. I particularly remember Clue and a “Global Pursuit” game (like trivial pursuit with geography). My kids are only 6 and 3, but they love playing games. Candyland bores me to death, but they like it and since they can’t read it’s at their level. They also love Go Fish! even though the 3-year-old can’t really hold the cards very well. I recently found Scrabble Junior at DI and my kids love it; we’re also proud to introduce our favorite game to the kids 🙂

    My husband I like to play games together, especially Scrabble and Boggle. His family plays a lot of card games, like Rummy and Hearts, that I never played before. I like it, because many of my in-laws aren’t into the same conversational topics as we are (and we have some stark political differences), but a good game of cards is a great way to have a comfortable family gathering where we can all feel included.

  4. JM says:

    I have great memories of playing board games with siblings, parents, grandparents, nieces, nephews, and friends. My grandparents used to live in an apartment over my house, and they were avid Scrabble players with huge vocabularies. I loved to play, but the only advantage I could have at that age was to memorize the grains of the letter tiles so that I could pick some of the best tiles–S, X, J, blank, and some vowels (we spread the tiles face down on the table instead of taking them out of a bag). I felt guilty using my special weapon, so I didn’t ALWAYS cheat. Looking back, I’m sure my grandparents knew what what going on, but they didn’t let on at the time!

  5. mw says:

    i hated playing games when i was younger, for the most part because the only time we played them was with my grandpa who was a miserable cheat.

    there is something sort of demoralizing about being beaten all the time by a cheat.

    when i met my husband i started playing settlers of catan (probably just because i wanted to seem like a good sport). i was hooked. from versions of catan we moved on to axis and allies, world of warcraft and now our favorite is a strategy game called diplomacy (TRY IT!)

    we were talking the other night about the things games have taught us about ourselves and each other. i’ve even brushed up on my geography by playing axis and allies!

  6. James says:

    I’ve been playing games for years. I find that it’s a wonderful way to socialize and also to “excercize” your brain. There is a wealth of excellent games that virtually no one knows about that are *much* better than what you’ll find in Target or Wal-Mart. Go to a hobby game store if you have one near you. Also, on the web check out boardgamenews.com & boardgamegeek.com to learn more about this very fun hobby.

  7. Kelly Ann says:

    Thanks Starfoxy for a fun article.

    I have a friend who says games are the way Mormons go to the bar …

    I like strategy games (Settlers of Catan) and word games although in reality I don’t play that much.

  8. Zenaida says:

    I grew up playing a lot of games. I love Cribbage, Scrabble, Monopoly, Stratego, Chess, and the list goes on. I was definitely blessed with a family who loved to play games. One of my favorites as a kid was Miles Borne because the cards were exciting, and they were in French!

  9. Ziff says:

    I love board games! I played them quite a bit with my sisters growing up. In particular I remember playing lots of Trivial Pursuit when I was a teenager. We played the original version so much that we had many of the cards memorized, and would try to see how early in a question we could answer it. I also recall that Santa used to bring at least one new board game every year for a while, so especially during the days between Christmas and New Year’s, we would play whatever the new game was to death.

    One type of game I particularly like is the ones that can be excuses to sit around and say silly things, particularly late at night, until everyone collapses with laughter. Apples to Apples falls into this category, I think, as well as Boggle if you play with certain of my sisters who are very good at making up words that evoke laughter by their very sound. Balderdash is another good example.

    My wife’s family also plays lots of games, although probably more cards than my family. But it’s been a good thing for us–we play lots of games just the two of us, and have fun inviting other people over for dinner and games. And our older son is getting just old enough to start playing some of our more fun games (Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, etc.) with us.

  10. Dane says:

    I have to put a plug in for my favorite, Puerto Rico. It’s a bit more complicated than Settlers, but a lot more fun once you figure it out!

  11. ZD Eve says:

    There are certain members of my family whose addiction to board games might be diagnosable. I remember one Christmas week in which one fanatic sister had participated in something like fifty different rounds of Settlers of Catan.

    I love Settlers and Ticket to Ride, but I’m very bad. I always lose. (Strangely, this seems to make people enjoy playing with me. 😉 ). I’m better at word games–anyone ever played Perquackey?–but my husband doesn’t like them so I don’t get to play as often as I’d like.

  12. Jenne says:

    My husband and I stopped playing board games after we got a cat, and then after the cat, the baby. We recently discovered how we can play out favorite game again (Settlers of Catan) without getting the board jumped on or little pieces in little mouths. WE play online against each other at games.asobrain.com.

    My two year old is started to regularly request playing Backgammom with us, which would just make his grandpa (deceased) proud.

    For my thesis on play in families (with a focus on play between married couples) board games were one of the most frequently reported play activities for married couples. I loved reading what my participants said about why play was meaningful to them.

  13. Jessawhy says:

    This is such a great post.

    I grew up loving to play games. We played four on a couch (it’s a memory, people moving game) at family parties.

    My husband likes to play games, but we can’t play together. If we’re on the same team for Pictionary for example, he’ll swear that I’m drawing badly on purpose so we’ll lose.
    Or, if I’m on another team, and somehow harm his player, he’ll swear that I’m picking on him and not other players. It’s ridiculous.

    We do love to play some video games (Rock Band, DDR, and Wii Sports.)

  14. Seraphine says:

    I love playing games, and whenever my family gets together, we end up playing games of some sort. In the past it was Uno, Skip-bo, Clue, Scattergories, Taboo Boggle, Rook, and other games I’m probably forgetting. My sister Vada and I played Rook for hours and hours, which is now why we can typically read each other’s minds when we play “Make-A-Million” on the same team against her husband and others, since the principles are basically the same.

    These days when my family gets together, if we play a board game it’s Apples to Apples or Cranium. However, what we typically do now is that we all get on our computers and play prolific and noggin (two on-line boggle games) together. It’s really funny when we’re all sitting around my parents’ kitchen table playing word games with each other on our computers.

  15. Lynnette says:

    I’m totally a board game fan. I might even be the Settlers fanatic mentioned by ZD Eve. Though I had to take a sabbatical from that game, because of excess amounts of the spirit of contention. It was probably lulling me straight to hell.

    Anyway, I think board games are a great way to get to know people, because they provide a kind of structured socializing. Just sitting around talking can be hard if you don’t know people well yet, but doing something like a movie doesn’t really allow you to get to know them. Board games are a nice medium there, I think. And of course they’re just fun–it’s one of my favorite activities to do with my siblings.

    Also, I must confess that I like playing board games with my nephews because I find it somewhat easier to play a game in which I at least know the rules than a game in which the nephew makes up the rules as you go.

  16. Jo says:

    Does anyone have the instructions for National Geographic Global Pursuit?

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