Actual Playing of Games With My Family… It’s a Little Hard to Believe!


Disclaimer – There is some excellent hyphen use in this blog post.  I invite you to appreciate it and be impressed.

We had a big family reunion on Sunday afternoon, so my brother Tony and his family came in from New Bern for the weekend.  As often happens, my more immediate family (Mom & Dad, my two brothers, and our families) tend to have at least one meal where we all get together when everyone’s in town, which again occurred on Saturday night.  But anyway, the crazy thing is that Phyllis, my total non-gamer sister-in-law, wife of my non-gamer older-est brother Phil, called on Saturday afternoon and asked me to bring a game.  An “easy game for stupid people… Not one of those complicated kind of games that you play,” she said.

Now, I’ve pretty much learned not to bring games to these gatherings unless I plan on playing with the kids or with my gamer brother (Tony) afterwards, but I couldn’t refuse an invitation like that.  But of course, I couldn’t limit myself to just one game, so I pulled out six and ended up taking four, which included Doodle Dice, Things… ,  Catch Phrase, and Portrayal.  Still, though, I didn’t get my hopes up too much, because I figured that there was a very high probability that we’d get to talking after dinner and the games would be totally forgotten.

Imagine my surprise, however, when Phyllis again brought up the playing of games a little after finishing supper.  So, we ended up piling Gwen, Dad, Tony, Phyllis, Peter (Phil and Phyllis’ 14-year-old), Alex and Ben (Tony’s 11- and 7-year-old boys), and me into the dining room for some family gaming.  Before I realized exactly how many of us there would be, I had pulled out Doodle Dice and started teaching it.  After a round or two, I was afraid that the game would drag on too much if we stuck to the actual victory condition (having one card of each color), so I suggested that we require only 4 cards to win, with at least one of them being either blue (5-dice) or purple (6-dice) doodles.  Everybody had a good time, and 5 or 6 of us were one card away when Tony and Ben (who were playing as a team) managed to roll exactly what they needed to claim a purple card and the win.  It was a lot of fun for everybody, and limiting the victory condition in that way worked out really well.

Still wanting more game-playing, I next pulled out Catch Phrase, which I’ve never had fail as a party game.  And this weekend was no different, even though the teams were uneven and it became a whole other side game in trying to figure out who you were supposed to pass the little clue-giver do-jobby to.  Lots of hilarity and mirth ensued.   Many of us wanted to play again, but realizing that it was already 9 o’clock and that Samantha needed to get to bed, we instead called it an evening… for the party gaming at least.

Both earlier in the afternoon and then after Samantha was asleep, Gwen and I headed up to the new-yet-incompletely-furnished game room and played a few things.  Chris Ingersoll from game night had let me borrow his copy of FITS to see if Gwen would like it, and I’d pretty much say that it was an affirmative considering that we played it 3 times that day.  We also managed to try out the game I’ll be reviewing for BGN for the first time, which worked pretty well as a 2-player (which surprised me some).  On Sunday afternoon, we also got in a game of Bananagrams, which didn’t do much for either of us.

I was hoping that Tony would have been able to join us on Saturday night for the late-evening gaming, but he was pretty exhausted and the boys had some trouble getting to sleep.  Still, I left the light on until about midnight “just in case”, and now I clearly need to have a word with him about his priorities…