For as long as I can remember I have always loved board games and still to this day as a twenty-six year old adult that hasn’t changed. Sure my taste in games grew over the years, with one of my earliest memories of playing a game being a talking Aladdin game where the creepy and sinister voice of Jafar dictated the moves you made. I loved the Aladdin game and Hi-Ho Cherry-O as a kid before I knew what love was. I loved the clicking sound made from rolling the trouble dice and the way you could completely shatter the dreams of your opponents in Sorry by keeping their pieces from returning “home.” I have fond memories of playing the card game “Old Maid” when I would visit Memphis where the object of the game was to not be stuck with the “Old Maid” card at the end of the game. Over the years for some reason that one card had become so mangled and wrinkled that it was obvious to everyone which card it was and could avoid it completely. By the end of our “Old Maid” days it came to be that whoever was dealt the “Old Maid” card was stuck with it for the entirety of the game.
In my early teenage years Monopoly was my game of choice and it is still one of my favorites to this day. You may think it’s a game of luck but I don’t subscribe to that theory and the chances are if I play you I will win. It’s not that I’m being cocky but those are the facts. Over the years I have developed strategies on how I play the game that it makes it fairly tough to beat me. The exceptions to this rule are my dad and my brothers because we have played so many times that they know exactly how I operate and in the case of my dad use similar strategies to beat me at my own game. When we play now there are certain properties that nobody buys because they are a waste of money to build on and take too long to do so anyway that we don’t even ask if the other wants to buy it but rather we discard it as a wasted roll and the next player takes his turn. The complaint I hear most often about Monopoly is that the speed of the game is too slow and it takes too long to play. When I was younger and taking my first strolls past the Reading Railroad and Park Place games lasted so long that often we would have to leave the board overnight and return the next morning which I’m not sure ever happened. I didn’t mind that the games took so long, for one because I was playing with my cousins that I only saw sporadically and secondly because even at such a young age I was captivated by this game where you became the winner by absolutely destroying everyone else. The truth is Monopoly will get faster the more you play it as you familiarize yourself with the board thus not having to waste precious time counting each individual space but rather jump there directly. Also and quite obviously the speed of the game is directly correlated to how many people are playing because the more opponents you have to take down then the longer it will take you to do so.
After Monopoly was my favorite game for more than a decade I discovered the game Risk. I had heard of it before of course but never really knew anything about it. I never really got great at it but I loved that Risk required a lot of strategy about where to place your armies and the best course to attack your opponents and eventually achieve world domination. I’m getting nostalgic just thinking about it so I’m probably going to have to play it soon. I dabbled in the art of Chess off and on over the years because once again that game is all about strategy. It is just amazing to me that a board game can be so closely correlated to one’s intelligence level and so I’m always up for a game even though it seems not as many people are into it anymore but maybe I’m just running in the wrong circles.
The time has come for me to reward your patience with revealing to you my current favorite game, a game that is more about strategy than luck, a game that doesn’t deal a crushing loss like Monopoly but can steal the game away from your opponents in a turn and leave them completely heart broken. I’m talking about a game I have only been acquainted with for maybe six months now but I feel like we’ve known each other for years. I’m talking about Catan where the objective of the game is to strategically place settlements near resources and ports that you will use to build more roads and settlements and ultimately win the game. Trading is also a big part of the game which is something I really enjoy because in board game negotiations I usually tend to get what I want. I played sports growing up but I didn’t really care about them and I wasn’t all that competitive but when it comes to board games I am relentless for some reason. I’m lucky my wife isn’t the type of person who needs to be let to win because I really don’t know if I would be able to do that. I love to deliver a crushing loss and sometimes and it’s very terrible of me but I’ll purposefully drag a game out just to give my opponent a false hope before beating them even worse than I would have before. I guess I say all this to say if you haven’t played Catan you really need to because it’s so much fun and also I don’t have the best sportsmanship when it comes to board games. Sorry, but that’s not something I’ll apologize for.