It was supposed to be just a game

Getting all their schooling from a computer screen has not deterred our boys from their desires to play video games for the remainder of their waking hours. In an attempt to wean them from unnecessary screen time, we have tried to interest them in board games.

This strategy is fraught will peril. They are willing to play board games, but only if a parent participates. For some reason, they are too uncomfortable around these ancient relics to confidently manage them alone. They need someone who understands the old ways to guide them.

This is unfortunate. Though I spent many hours playing board games as a boy, I find I have almost no patience for them anymore. Also, sitting on the floor is not nearly as fun/manageable as it once was.

We have a Monopoly game in the closet, which I hope we never get desperate enough to open. I can’t imagine sitting through an entire game of Monopoly at my time of life. I’d have to resort to the trick my brother used to do when he was losing and “accidentally” overturn the board.

I have played my 1979 version of The Game of Life with the younger boys a few times. If you ignore the more tedious rules and aren’t too meticulous about every little monetary exchange, you can bang out a game in 30-45 minutes.

Look at those happy 70s parents. I wonder what they were trying to distract their children from.

This is the first time I’ve played Life since boyhood, and now I notice different things about the game. For example, even for 1979, the salaries were outdated: Doctor’s salary – $20,000.

The remarkable thing about the game could be a mere coincidence, or maybe Milton Bradly knew the score better than we give him credit:

Every player must get married, but the number of children each player accumulates is pure chance. In the games we’ve played so far, I have chanced to fill my little green car with children. In fact, I’ve collected more children than there are spaces in the car. Some of my children have had to sit on their older siblings’ laps, which they could do without being taken into foster care in 1979. I assume the newer versions have minivans and Child Protective Services.

In my car crammed with sardine children, I have never finished the game without ending up in the poorhouse. Buster, on the other hand, who the spinning wheel has never blessed with more than one child, has ended each game as a millionaire.

That’s my overloaded car in the Poorhouse parking lot.

This is an interesting lesson.

I wonder. If I had learned Milton Bradley’s one-child-limit lesson in 1979, instead of 2020, would I be able to contemplate a day when I could retire to someplace other than the poorhouse?

Oh well. In the game of life, children cost money. It’s too late to give them back now. Besides, I’ve come to adore them all too much to do anything but let them drive me up the wall and directly into poverty.

17 comments on “It was supposed to be just a game

  1. Kenneth T. says:

    What about the children that don’t move out AFTER they become adults?
    Can we do something about those free loaders?

  2. Just Joan says:

    Holy cow, Snoozin! That looks like Amy Coney-Barrett’s mini-van! As kids, we preferred Monopoly to Life. I enjoyed owning the red properties because the rent was $36 (a $20, a $10, a $5, and a $1). Every time Dad landed on the B&O railroad, he’d ask “Who’s got the B-O?” and sniff his armpits. We also liked Trouble, with the pop-o-matic bubble. 🙂

    • Yeah, you couldn’t beat that dice bubble. It’s the only thing I remember about that game, and probably the only reason I played it. My childhood favorite was Risk, but you had to find friends who were also interested in world domination because parents wouldn’t get near that game.

  3. I have never played game of Monopoly to the conclusion. My family was obsessed with Clue for a while, my sister Diane especially. If she won two games in a row and the rest of us were ready to quit, she would insist we play a tie breaker.

  4. thegsandwich says:

    My parents never played board games with us, nor would we consider asking them. What good is a game for kids if you have to play along? The whole idea is to keep them entertained. But I get it. I did the same thing when my kids were young.

  5. Why are you playing the game on the floor? Put it on the table! My parents never played it with me on the floor and I never have, either.

    Monopoly is a great game but it does test one’s patience.

    This was a hilarious post, though.

  6. AmyRose🌹 says:

    Board games I grew up on yet as you said it is getting more difficult to stay on the floor. Unfortunately, video games are a lot more exciting then board games. We have Scrabble and “others” but they have collected more dust then being played over the years. I do believe the age of the board game has come to an end. Sadly.

  7. Hello there. Long ago I played many board games: Clue, Monopoly, Risk, Life, and more. These days it’s limited to a very occasional game of Scrabble. Neil Scheinin

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