Last week I read an article that stated board games are making a comeback. It said people are yearning for nostalgia and simpler times. To be honest, it seems like I have read the same article five different times over the past decade. Board games always seem to be on the cusp of taking over American life once again.
So while I think the article was just filler by a journalist looking to recycle past story ideas, it did get me thinking about my childhood with board games.
I grew up playing board games. Funny enough, I can almost pinpoint the years of being a kid in relation to the board games I was playing at the time. As a toddler it was Candy Land and Chutes & Ladders (did you really think I was going to give you something original?). After my toddler years there was a two year period or so where my family played Trouble, the game where you must move your pegs around the board and into a home base position. I will never forget the times where one of us kids accidentally (and sometimes purposely) hit the pop-o-matic die contraption so hard that all the pegs flew in the air and scattered everywhere, thus ending the game.
An element of skill was added when we graduated away from the luck of the die to a game called Guess Who. The memory that sticks with me about this game is how pissed off I would get if my person was wearing a hat. It was an automatic death sentence as only about 15% of the character lineup wore one. Seeing past my frustrations, the game was quick and easy while at the same time taught basic reasoning skills. We played that game silly for a couple years.
Before entering my teens, my family hit Monopoly pretty hard. I think it gave us kids the feeling that we were playing an adult game. We butchered the rules in such ways as building up large Free Parking jackpots and paying the wrong amounts on the Luxury Tax square but we had fun. Well, minus my parents. I am pretty sure they hated it.
In the sixth grade my teacher, Jared Hoadley, who is now a big shot in administration within the Mead School District Office, taught us two board games that would end up consuming countless hours of my life. First, he had the patience to teach us chess. I ran with the game for about a year or so and taught my brother how to play. We had some classic battles. The second game he introduced my class to had a lot more staying power. When we learned the game of Scrabble I had no idea that it would become the signature board game of my family nor did I ever think that it would give way to one of the most popular apps of all-time (Words With Friends). But it did.
Mr. Hoadley and the other sixth grade teachers at Farwell Elementary taught us Scrabble to help us with our vocabulary but also so we could compete against another elementary school in the district. My parents bought me my own Scrabble board to practice with and also so they could join in on the fun. Soon enough it was the game of choice for the Reser family. To this day, on the rare occasions where we are all together, we still pull out the Scrabble board.
We didn’t always play nice or play fair when we had our family game nights but for the most part these board game evenings were a very memorable part of my childhood. I mean heck, what else are you going to do for entertainment when your parents didn’t believe in Nintendo or any other gaming system? Several other games came in and out of the picture over the years but the ones I mentioned above are on the Reser Mt. Rushmore of board games.
Sidney’s sister and brother-in-law have purchased board games for their kids. When we have our own children, I want to follow their lead. Yes, every now and then some journalist will say that board games are making a comeback, but don’t take that too seriously. In our electronic world, they are dying off a little more each day. Don’t Blink.