Friday night Cal and I went on a date. Our dates consist of driving to Barnes and Noble and sharing a cup of coffee. Not too exciting, but cheap and it gets us out of the house by ourselves.
After coffee, we look through the remaindered books. We rarely buy anything, but I love bookstores—the sheen of the book covers, the feel of the pages, the smell of the glue. A sort of “writer’s high.”
But instead of a book, we found a game on clearance for $7.50. We are game nuts. Cal and I grew up playing Risk, Monopoly, and Battleship. (I always lost in Battleship. Apparently, my ships are placed too methodically. Even when I tried really, really hard to be random, I was predictable.) So about ten years ago when the board/card game world exploded with creativity we eagerly joined. I can play Settlers of Catan, Bang, Gobblet, and even Killer Bunnies—but only if I’m forced (I hate Killer Bunnies. Sadly, it’s the boys’ favorite game, especially nuclear warhead bunny.)
Back to the cheap game. I didn’t really read about the game. I just checked the manufacturer—Gamewright makes good games. Then in the car on the way home I read the game summary for Aunt Millie’s Million$. “Aunt Millies dies and you become her heir. Use speed, strategy, and persuasion to collect the most coveted valuables. Will you get the vintage jukebox or the rusty toilet? Claim the same item as another player and you must give the best sob story to convince the judge you deserve it more.” Oh, and the person who gets the most stuff wins. Um, isn’t this what we want to teach our kids to avoid—greed, selfishness, and lying?
We began the game and had our first “heir squabble.” Jacob squabbled with one of his siblings over a Picasso painting, obviously very valuable. The problem for Jake is that before the game when you have to make up a history for your character, Jake made his character a blind orphan who was adopted by Aunt Millie. Of course, this caused him serious issues when he argued that he should get the Picasso, which he couldn't even see.
In the end, nobody really cares who wins. It’s seeing Calvin be the hairdresser whose wife is a trainer for the Pittsburg Steelers, Matt who is a poor maid accused of trying to murder Aunt Millie, Ariel who is an overweight middle-aged woman trying to justify why she needs a treadmill, and Luke who always is a lawyer running some non-profit corporation trying to right the wrongs of the entire world that makes the game one we’ve played ten times already.