Some of the absolute worst memories of my childhood involve playing board games.
Growing up as the youngest in a family of highly competitive siblings with old school parents who didn’t let kids win, board games usually ended badly.
Here’s how it would go down:
1.) Mom would kick my ass in Scrabble by putting the word jazzsquat on the triple letter/double word combo and talk about how this was improving my vocab.
2.) My brothers would conveniently roll a series of doubles in Monopoly and buy up everything like the damn Wolves of Wallstreet.
3.) My sister would be counting Candyland cards like Rainman, and beat me in 7 turns.
Inevitably, an epic tantrum would ensue including rage tears, board tossing, screaming, stair stomping, door slamming, and plotting my revenge.
Tell me, where is the “family fun” in that?
So, I am calling bullshit on board games—they rely mostly on luck anyway. Instead, let’s call them what they really are . . .
Sorry: Passive Aggressive
There is no other game which better demonstrates how #SorryNotSorry you really are for screwing over another player for your own benefit. Pull a card that says I can passively aggressively switch places with you, and on my way there savagely knock all of your other players back to start… Sorry.
Monopoly: The Haves and Have Nots
Didn’t Milton Bradley hear of a little thing called the French Revolution? You roll the dice, and sometimes you’re born into a family with a trust fund and can buy your way out of jail, and other times you can’t rub two bills together to buy the B&O Railroad.
The Game of Life: The Game of Circumstance and Social Norms
This is another one of those games where as long as you’re privileged enough and you spin the wheel just right, you’ll have a great life. Just like the real world, kids.
Operation: Malpractice, aka Things Removed from the Anus
Let’s face it, we all know where these objects are really found.
Memory: Discovery of Early Onset Alzheimer’s
This game starts to become really scary after you turn 30.
Battleship: Glorification of War
“You sunk my multi-million dollar destroyer while killing hundreds of men, all in the name of fun.”
Candyland: Good Parent Illusion
The only reason any parent has this game in the house is to make it appear that they don’t allow as much screen time as they actually do.
Chutes and Ladders: Candyland with Numbers
Hi Ho Cheerio: Buckets of Chokables
With all our modern technology, isn’t there a way to make this game safer?
Scrabble: Words with Friends for Cheaters
You can’t prove it isn’t a word without your phone or dictionary, can you?
Pictionary: Can You Draw Better than a Toddler?
This stick figure that I keep circling over and over again and tapping and pointing to is clearly a drawing of Angelina Jolie!!
Boggle: Swearword Finder
Really this is the only way to make this game enjoyable.
Yahtzee: Precursor to Craps and Gambling
I have an idea: let’s get a game with dice and a cup and get them addicted young.
. . . because you’re in a total state of panic that time will run out or you’ll say the wrong thing, which in turn makes all your teammates hate you.
The phrase everyone says when they can’t beat their best score.
Now that I’m a mom with kids of my own, I’m carrying on the family tradition of making my kids cry while building their vocabulary, gambling skills, and number of resentments . . . one fun-filled game night at a time.