Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Games Closet

Yesterday, I announced to Matt and Jake that it was Clean-Out-the –Entry-Closet Day. Since our house was built in 1940, it has only one storage area. A walk-in entry closet. So you can imagine what happens. And you’ll understand why the boys’ smiles became tight and their eyes narrowed. Suddenly, they thought of chores they needed to do.

But to no avail. To understand the boys' chagrin, you need to know that the closet currently houses two sewing machines, three sleeping bags, three sewing boxes, a stereo, winter coats, baby books, boxes of CDs, a tripod, three boxes of piano music and games. Out of all those things, it was the games that the boys didn’t want to deal with.

We are game people. It’s a nice cheap way to spend time with your kids that isn’t mind numbing. Of course, there are the inevitable squabbles. But when the kids were little and they showed “unsportsmanlike behavior” we made them pay the “idolatry tax.” They lost money, points, whatever was valuable in the game because they were making winning an idol. It worked really well until we had an adult visitor, who was a bit “intense” and the kids told said visitor that he had to pay the “idolatry tax.”

Back to the closet. So, uh, we have a lot of games. A lot of games. After I culled the horde yesterday and made a Goodwill pile for the games we don’t like, we had one hundred games. (Cringe. I know that’s a lot of games. But we have four almost adult kids, so that’s a lot of birthdays and Christmases.)

The nastiest problem, besides fixing the boxes, is sorting the “orphaned pieces box.” Every game piece, card, faux money, dice, and timer that I find, which didn’t get put away, ends up in the OPB. And we didn’t empty the OPB last summer. So imagine 100 games and two years’ worth of orphaned pieces. Yep, there were enough Risk soldiers to form an army, enough dice to make Las Vegas happy, and enough faux money to pay off our mortgage.

But we got the whole closet, including the games, done in three hours. But I know that’s not why you’re reading this blog post, you want me to tell you what the top ten games are.

So here’s my list.

1.      Settlers of Catan. (This is my favorite. And it even makes it into the Screwing Up Time sequel.)

2.      Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot. (I hate this game. But apparently, male high school, college and graduate students find this game addictive. I think it’s the cards: Ebola Virus, Kitchen Wisk, Terrible Misfortune card—a bunny pulls a pin out of a grenade because it would make lovely jewelry. Enough said.)

3.      Lost Victory. (Only Luke loves this game—it takes weeks to play. It’s a historical battle between the Russians and the Germans.)

4.      Set. (Ariel’s favorite game. It’s a Mensa game, and the only one who will play this with her is Jacob. I liked the game until Ariel began consistently doubling my score.)

5.      Quelf. (The boys think this game is hilarious. It involves barking like a dog and wrapping people in toilet paper. I don’t understand why this is fun.)

6.      Louis XIV. (You get to be a member of the Sun King’s court. There’s tons of intrigue, manipulation, influence peddling, and multiple ways to win. I love those domination games.)

7.      Guillotine. (You collect heads. Literally. Sorry. But I think it’s really fun.)

8.      Power Grid. (You build power plants across Germany, trying to dominate the industry and become cost efficient. Hmm. That sounds lame. But it’s fun.)

9.      The Farming Game. (You are a farmer in Washington, trying to earn enough money from farming that you can quite your other job. This game was actually translated into Russian and given to Russian farmers when the farms were de-collectivized so they'd know what to expect.)

10.  Zeus on the Loose. (It involves Greek gods and goddesses and speedy addition and subtraction. Weird combo, but it works. Our dog Jezebel hates the Zeus character. One day, she finally got him. His head is now…mangled.)

What about you all? Any game recommendations?


  1. I've only played Settlers of Catan a couple times, but it's one of the few games I actually enjoy. Farkle (a dice game) is huge in my family - my uncle introduced us all to it, and now we're hooked. I've even gotten Carl's family hooked on it, so we can play no matter which side we're visiting.

    Have to say - I HATE The Farming Game. I think it's the most boring game ever, even worse than Monopoly. Everyone else I know loves it, though, so I think it's just me.

  2. What is UP with boys and Bunnies? I don't mind playing for a while, but every expansion pack makes me cringe...does this game *really* need to last longer than it already does?

    Louise--I love Farkle!

  3. Rowenna, I hear you!! I think we already have four expansion packs for KB.

    I'll have to look up Farkle--we really a 101st game. :)

  4. We've been having lots of fun with these lately:

    Imagine*iff - a scenario is presented and players vote for who it applies to

    Gotcha - I don't think I've gotten through a round of this without laughing so hard I cried.

    Dicecapades - It's like Pictionary, Trivia, and a math and spelling lesson all rolled into one....

    Forbidden Island - It's a co-op game where you have to collect all the treasures and get back to the landing pad before the island sinks! (Not easy at all...)

  5. Oh dang! I should've asked you to take picture of your game collection before the cleaning and donating! My friends in college had a rather large board game collection as well, but it wasn't nearly as extensive as yours. I've only heard of Settlers of Catan out of all the ones you listed!

    The card game BANG! that I played in college was fun. It's like a complicated version of Mafia - where the Sheriff has to figure out who the Outlaws are and who his Deputies are before he gets killed. Lots of bluffing and political maneuvering.

    Right now, the only game my friends and I play is NERTZ. You play with multiple decks of standard playing cards. They just have to look different on the back for point-counting later. The game is basically a mixture of speed and solitaire and would take way too long for me to try to explain here. It's definitely fun with a group though. :)

  6. I LOVE SETTLERS OF CATAN! I used to play all the time and one of my friends made it to the regional tournament. :)