Tuesday, February 17, 2015

4 Reasons My Family Shouldn't Play the Board Game Risk

Last night, winter storm Octavia came raging across the South like premenstrual hormones through adolescent veins, leaving us all chilled and confused and cowering from Mother Nature's wrath. (Much like the family members who regularly experience adolescent PMS. Quick tip: keep chocolate bars on hand for emergency situations, both of the weather and hormonal varieties.)

Photo by Jeremy Pharo via Flickr
Like any good snow day, we spent it mostly huddled indoors battling boredom. What better way to defeat boredom than family board games? (Or should they be called "bored" games since we only ever play them when we're bored?) How about a good rousing game of Risk? It seemed like a good idea at the time. Family bonding coupled with the development of higher-level thinking skills, sprinkle on some good sportsmanship and top it with a heaping spoonful of fun and we should have had the makings of a successful afternoon.

Except it didn't turn out exactly how I had envisioned. It all fell apart rather quickly, and while it probably did develop some higher-level thinking skills it probably also left a few emotional scars in the process.

I learned a few things about my dear, sweet family. I'm not certain exactly what they all mean, but here they are:

1. Strategy be damned, the kids are going to wipe Mom off the face of the planet first. Every time. I will not be allowed to control even the weakest of strategical points (like Argentina or the Northwest Territory). Mom must not have power. They will force even the tiniest flicker of power from my frail and failing grasp, even though we all know that Dad is the real threat. No... don't let Mom have anything. At all cost. (This frightens me just a little... I will probably sleep with one eye open from now until the last one moves out.)

2. Risk may not be the best game to play with easily amused teenage boys. There are too many inappropriate jokes to be made about "domination" and "pulling out" and "using your cannon". And the jokes will be made... and made again... and again.

3. Sibling rivalry should probably not be played out on the battlefield. It's too violent and bloody. Why is the youngest amassing a huge army of 80 plus troops in Western Africa? Perhaps it's because she feels she never has any privacy, that her sister is forever in her space and in her business. Her brothers might steal her dignity and self-respect, but they will NOT have West Africa, damn it. She will cling to that tired piece of dirt with just her flimsy fingernails if she has to. I did hear her shout at one point, "If I'm going down, you're going down with me!" (Perhaps this game is taken a tad too seriously... nah.)

4. No mercy. It doesn't matter if a clear winner was obvious 27 rounds ago, my family will play to the bitter end. This is about world domination, not diplomacy or compassion or filthy little peace treaties. No one is allowed to just admit defeat and leave. No... the oldest has spent hours carefully scheming his way to victory and by God you are all going to sit here and patiently lose like you are supposed to. Suck it up, Buttercups. This is victory by torture. It doesn't matter that the game ceased to be fun for anyone but the victor after the first 45 minutes of the game. This isn't about having fun. It's about world domination! Make sure you keep your priorities straight.

Now we are moving on to Apples to Apples... this can't possibly go wrong.

Right?

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