The Hidden Dangers of Board Games

It is not a good idea to lock a large family of adults in together for several days over the holidays. Especially when the weather is bad, daylight is minimal, alcohol is plentiful, and everybody is nursing their own version of whatever mental illness they got from 2 years of the pandemic. That is why you need board games. They help to channel behaviour by forcing people to do things, and they are Fun until they are not.

If you live with other people and are still talking to them after Christmas, or if you want to take your chances with Omicron and have friends over, game nights are a great way to pass the winter months.  But choose your game carefully.

Children’s Games

Pickup sticks, Pack the Donkey, Mousetrap, Mr Bun the Baker and Snakes and tedious old ladders are great for children.  So is sugar, in case they decide that games are boring. For 7-year-old me Ludo was the worst, and the best. I only played it with my gran to pass the time while we waited for her homemade fudge to be ready for the bit where you beat the hell out of it, and lick the saucepan. There was a clear path along the Ludo board to this end.

If you want children to play games nicely, cook something sweet at the same time. 

Awaken the Inner Child

The market trading game Pit is for shouting, card games like Spoons mean having eyes everywhere and snatching things. Adrenaline goes into overdrive and competitiveness sinks to toddler level.

It is a lot of fun shouting at people and snatching things from them, but you will get bruised hands, sore throats, and somebody with hurt feelings, because nobody noticed they were shouting.

Thinking around Corners

Chess, Risk, Settlers of Catan are all mighty games. They lie abandoned in this house because one person here has a different brain with extra strategic compartments.

Catan Game

It is impossible to beat him, or even like him very much for hours after the game is over.

Sorting out Who is Most Intelligent

Trivial Pursuit or Linkee are about realising your own ignorance. and Scrabble is definitely more fun if you gather people who are more dyslexic than you are. Do not play these games with anybody who was privately educated.

Simple Honest Fun can Wear Thin

There are many games here that were fun once. Rapidough was great until the dough dried up. Pictionary for the 10th time is pointless because you know all the answers.  The Really Nasty Horse Racing Game might be good again, but the rules are endless, and you need an hour to argue about them before you start, so it is tiring looking at the box.

And then there is Monopoly. Many days of my life went on this game and the only moment I can remember is the glorious day somebody lost their temper, threw the entire board up in the air and set about ripping up the money. It got worse. Monopoly pieces flew through the air on the wings or a row so vicious, it is amazing any of those people ever spoke again.

TIP If you haven’t tried it yet, go and buy Monopoly Deal.

Monopoly Deal Game

It comes in a tiny box that only contains the fun parts of Monopoly and never gets boring.  

The most Not Fun game might be Pandemic.

Pandemic game

In December 2019 I was lying weakly on the sofa with a raging cough from a bug like never before that WOULD NOT GO AWAY. I stared at the world map on a board covered with outbreaks and medics. We wrestled with the rules to try and beat the game together and thought ‘This is stupid and unrealistic, nothing like this would ever even happen anyway’.  

Must give that game another go. 

The Game to End all Games

This year we found the ultimate game to get us through the holidays in one piece. Taskmaster.

Taskmaster game

There are few rules, so you don’t get that bit at the beginning, which is like a weather forecast because you forget to listen half way through. 

One person reads out a task, everybody else does it in the allotted time and then gets points for how well they did.  Watch out for:

Over Enthusiasm

The taskmaster started to read, ‘Go to the garden and use what you find to make snazzy shoes. You have five….’

Most people were out of the door before she got to the word five, so nobody knew the time limit.

But we got some good shoes.

Shoes made of garden things
Garden gloves and plants.

Shoes made of wood
Wooden heels
Shoes made of Pampas Grass
Pampas Plumes
Health and Safety

It was Boxing day. We had sherry, baileys, wine, coffee tequila, and more wine. We had been having all that all afternoon and at 10pm we were running around the garden in the dark with scissors, climbing amongst power tools in the woodshed, and wrapping string around our feet. It was a lucky night for everyone.

Missing Items 

The next day I would not find the bread until I remembered the task.  ‘Make an interesting sandwich’. I found the loaf on the floor, under a desk, near a pencil sandwich.

Rows about What makes Great Art
Self portrait made out of brown paper
Result of the self portrait challenge

The person who reads out the task is the judge and point giver. 

If you get carried away with your own power and hold up somebody’s art work and say ‘this is absolute crap, I don’t know what you thought you were doing’ other people may take offence and the rest of the people may pile in with their opinions. Seething resentment from something somebody did to somebody else 5 years ago might feed into those opinions. Go easy.

Lack of Respect for Nature. 

The final task was to make a tiny hat for a figurine. People were disintegrating by this point, but whoever turned a live snail into a hat was genius. 

Snail hat
This is the snail being a hat.

Then they discovered that snails don’t smell very nice when come into warm houses.  They talked a lot about that smell the next morning.

Two days later I found the snail trying to get along the carpet and find a way out.

We did four tasks in three hours.  There are about 130 more so technically we can play this until march 21st.

And then it will be Spring!

PS. Don’t forget to buy Monopoly Deal

8 thoughts on “The Hidden Dangers of Board Games”

  1. Have been a massive fan of TV’s Taskmaster since it started on Dave. Good to hear the game (which I nearly bought) is worthwhile. Happy New Year Jo. xx

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