This is a cross-post from my website, but I wanted to share it here.
Growing up in the Green household, there was a ritual on New Years Eve. My parents, sister, and I would make pigs in a blanket and play Clue. Now, don’t get me wrong, we would play Clue off and on at other times, but being a game that needed a minimum of three players, it was more difficult to just pull it out and play, especially as we got older. When setting up our New Year’s Eve game, I had very particular starting spots for the weapon. The candlestick would go in the dining room, because they were the sticks used at the dinner table, the knife in the kitchen, which was used for butchering dinner, and so on and so forth. (For some reason, the revolver always ended up in the Study. No idea how I deduced that.) I also remember always making my dad play as Mr. Green, as I was obviously the most creative. And for good measure, more often than not, I would want to accuse Mr. Green with the lead pipe, because in my mind:
Father = Handyman = Plumber
While I rarely won, I had a great time play games with my family. My sister and I had quite a nice collection between the two of us, consisting of such classics as 13 Dead End Drive, Mouse Trap, Operation, Monopoly: Star Wars Edition, and VHS College Bowl, as well as many others. We also had plenty of games that we never played like Outburst, or trivia games that were way out of our realm of knowledge, especially since we were only kids. But we played together and most of the time, got along.
Over time, we had less time. We would still play games on New Years, but eventually that fizzled as well. By the time I hit 24 years old, I had gotten married and moved out with my new wife, leaving behind or donating many of the games that I had grown up playing with my family. They just didn’t get touched any more and even worse, I didn’t have any interest in playing the majority of them. Sure, a couple of favorites came along, but only because I have a hard time getting rid of things that have any sort of sentimental value.
I’m sure that I’m not the only person to experience this, but when I moved out of my house, even though I loved (and still do!) living with my new wife, I missed my parents and sister. My marriage moved me about an hour away from them and made it more difficult to spend time with that. However, Microsoft’s Xbox Live helped me to be able to do something with my sister on occasion that was reminiscent of when I was still living at home. Video games helped keep us close when I had moved away.
Thanks to Jess, I place all of the blame on her for my Cardboard Addiction. While looking for a fun new game for her and I to play, she introduced me to a board-game-turned-video-game made by BigHuge Games called Carcassonne. The game is named after a medieval town in southern France that was famous for it’s huge city walls. In the game, you pick up and place tiles, almost dominoes style, and in turn develop a medieval landscape. While it’s a little more complicated than that, it should give you the idea. I absolutely fell in love with this style game and over the next few months added more digital board games to my collection, namely The Settlers of Catan and Ticket To Ride. I didn’t know it at the time, but these three games are generally considered by the board gaming community as “gateway games”. Easy enough to explain, but strategical enough to make you think.
I now can proudly say that not only do I own physical copies of the aforementioned games, but I now have a collection of 36 different board games and I’m continually looking to add or play other games. I have a cardboard addiction. Most of this collection has been amassed over the last two years and they constantly get plays. Sandy has gotten pretty heavily involved in my hobby (dare I say enjoy it?) and I’ve gotten two very close friends into the hobby as well. We debate terms used in gaming, how much theme plays into ones enjoyment of a game, along with other world changing topics. I’m fully aware of how geeky it may be to some, but I’m totally okay with it. For close to 7 years after high school, I felt like I wasn’t using my brain. I wasn’t doing any thinking. These games have me thinking, analyzing, socializing, and more so enjoying time with my wife, friends and life. I’m aware that my daughter hasn’t even reached a year yet, but we’ll get her started eventually. Hopefully one day, we’ll play board games on New Years Eve in this Green household as well. Maybe even with extended family.
While I still have one of my first loves in Clue in my collection, it’s taken a back burner to other games such as Power Grid and Innovation. There is something rewarding about knowing that you are putting yourself in a position to lose and okay with it. The sheer enjoyment that I get from flipping cards, exchanging token and making goofy sound effects while shooting down my friends galley with my own, well…I’m okay with this addiction.