I was born in 1978, but I grew up in one of the (in my opinion) greatest eras for entertainment:
I’m not talking about music or television, of course (although lets face it, the music and TV shows were awesome), but rather card and board games. Those cardboard (THE LAST PUN I SWEAR) boxes of bright and colorful squares, circles, dice, and plastic figurines were a staple of almost every household. They were the cure for our boredom (SEE, NO PUN) on vacations, afternoons after school, weekends with nothing to do, and evenings spent with the family. Yeah, we did that.
Some of the games we used to play are still around today, but they weren’t something that we threw into a closet and forgot about, or a box sitting in a storage container across town; these were facets of our lives that we sought out and kept in a special place in the home that we could access when we wanted to have some fun (if it were too hot/cold outside or if it were raining to hard to play in).
Below, I’ve listed a few of my favourites that involved very few fights with my brother:
Everyone that I’ve ever met has played this extremely well-known and popular board game. Most of the memories people have of Monopoly isn’t the joy of learning about real estate and buying properties, but instead the thrill of crushing the souls of every player and bankrupting the one person you have chosen to be “your worst enemy” during the course of the game (typically a sibling or a cousin). Also, we learned how to be paranoid and untrusting towards “The Banker”, as we were always certain they were embezzling at some point.
Before “Words With Friends” became a thing, Scrabbled ruled the roost as the game that intellectuals would play to enhance and improve their vocabulary and linguistic skills. Lets be honest though: We all spent more time arguing with each other trying to convince the other party that the word we were trying to slip past everyone for a triple letter/word score was legitimate and “totally a word I saw in a book, dude”. Scrabble dictionaries didn’t help due to claims that “its not in the book, dude. Its a word, I wouldn’t lie!”.
They were always lying.
Hungry Hungry Hippos
I’m going to be frank: This game was nothing more than a socially acceptable domestic way to let four kids make as much noise as they could possible generate in a 5 minute span without getting into any trouble. It didn’t matter who had the most white marbles at the end… we just wanted to CREATE CHAOS.
While I didn’t play until the mid-90’s, this game has been around since 1971. The official goal of the game is the be the first player to reach 500 points while getting rid of the most cards, then calculating how much each card is worth at the end of each round. Each person had their own take on the rules, much like Monopoly players would, and the outcomes were always fun (if not ridiculous) in nature.
Probably the most popular thing to do was to wait until your chosen “worst enemy” of the round was down to their last couple of cards, thinking they were soon to be victorious only to have their entire life choices put into question as they get hit by the always-terrifying but never expected Colour Change Draw 4 card. I swear it destroyed souls, lives, and friendships… at least until the next round.
I played this with a small group of friends in highschool from 1993 until 1996 every day at lunch and often in the school library, often blocking out everything around us and only getting shocked out of our intense mastery of timing and strategy by the school bell.
All of these board and card games reminded us of one thing once the winners and losers were revealed and the rounds finished:
Until Next Time.