The Games I Still Play


The first time I played Stratego it was after my 11th birthday party.  I was given the game by a friend and I wanted to play it.  The idea was pretty simple - the lower the number, the more powerful the piece.  The numbers were hidden, and you moved one space at a time to capture your enemy’s flag.  The pieces represented various ranks in the French/English armies during the Napoleonic wars.  I liked the idea of the reveal on attack, it was exciting.  I still use my 1977 Stratego game, now I play it with my younger son.  We both love the game.

I bought the Simpson’s themed Clue in 1991.  The group of us got baked and played the game.  Most of us had played Clue, and we all loved the Simpsons, so the group of five was excited to play.  Like the original Clue, you travel the board going into rooms and eliminating murder weapons, murder locations, and the murderer.  The Simpson’s version had Springfield locations for rooms, silly weapons, and familiar characters as the suspects.  The game added some interesting twists like secret passages and other small variations.  I’ve played the game a dozen times over the years and it never seems to get tired.  This is a really fun game.

I am truly a bad speller, but I love Scrabble, I really do.  My mother forced me to play with the family when I was younger, and she crushed us every time.  I liked the look of the board and the letter tiles, but my spelling skills were quite weak.  Through my teenage years and beyond I became an avid reader and was able to continue my education to the highest levels.  I met my wife in the mid-90’s and she was really smart, plus she was and is a perfect speller and grammarian.  Of course she liked Scrabble!  I played Scrabble on the new social network available and I learned all the legal 2 letter words.  With my mother’s Scrabble board, I played my wife and won.  It was the first time I had ever won at Scrabble.  Now I rarely lose, but my wife is still brilliant, so I need to work hard to win.

My older son likes Mille Bornes, the classic racing card game.  I played for the first time on a ski trip to Canada with my parents in 1971.  In this game, players collect cards to be able to play mileage cards to complete their trip.  Special cards are needed to begin, and other players play hazards against you to slow your journey.  The game features, “Coup Fourre!” cards that make you immune to certain hazards.  In the end, you score all your mileage and all the special cards you have played.  The fact that my son likes this game means its has been liked by three generations!

My oldest personal favorite game is Battleship.  I received it on my 8th birthday and we still play it today.  The box is beaten up, but the game is still perfect with all its pieces and still very enjoyable to play.  Each player positions their ships on their game board which is hidden from the other player.  The players take turns taking shots at the others ships, that is achieved by saying the coordinates of your shot.  If you score a “Hit” you go again.  The player that sinks all the other players ships first wins.  “You sank my Battleship!” 

The most important part of all these games is that we still play them.  From childhood, to now, I still play these games and still enjoy them.  I get a particular thrill that my family shares my love of games and that we always find time to play a game of two.  More importantly, we collectively look for our next “Favorite” game and get excited to try something new.  With each new game though, it just makes me love the old ones that much more.