Board Games: A Trip Down Memory Lane
Games of the Past
I remember many happy hours spent during my childhood, playing various board games with my mother and my neighborhood friends. There were several of these games in my closet, and my friends had others. Among the games they had were Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders.
I do not recall the game play aspects as well of those games, as I obviously did not play them as often as the ones we had at home. As I've mentioned in several other places both in other Hubs I've written and in my profile, we did not have a TV. My dad refused to buy one. We read and played games.
However, board games were more of a thing to do when the weather was rainy, and playing outside was not an option. Otherwise, we were outside playing most of the time, in spite of San Francisco's nasty, chilly climate.
This game was played, as many were, on a cardboard field that folded in half for storage. Upon opening the board, you found four multi-colored circles placed at the corners, and many colored rectangles, arranged into blocks between the cirlces.
The name of the game seems very exotic and mysterious sounding. It should. It originally hails from India, and has been around since the 1860s!
This game is for 2 to 4 players, and uses game pieces similar in shape to chess pawns, and 2 dice per player. Luck and strategy go hand in hand, as your first dice roll must be a 5 in order to leave your start position (tricky with two dice). Opponents can block you on your way around the board. First one to reach "home" wins.
This is another game we had for a while. It allows for up to six players, but seems essentially to be an updated version of Parcheesi, discussed above.
The game pieces are marbles instead of pawns, and this can be a distinct disadvantage with kids playing. First, you must be aware of the choking hazards of marbles if very young children are in the game area. Next, there is the obvious tendency of marbles to roll and fall off the table without much provocation.
This leads to the additional "aggravation" of not remembering where your markers were, or providing unintended 'toys' for the cats to bat around the room and lose under furniture. (Although we did not have any cats when i was a kid--I now have four of them--hence this wry observation.)
Aggravationcan be a very aggravating game in more ways than one.
Ok. I surrender in advance of the accusation! I know this is not really a 'board game.' However, it has been an eternally popular game for young and old for many years.
Yahtzee™ is based around an older game of public domain known as "yacht." (No relation to the boat by that name.) In one sense, it could be called "poker dice," because many of the combinations are related to those sought in a game of poker.
The advantages to dice over cards however begins with being able to play outdoors without so much concern over wind. Only 5 dice are used, instead of 52 cards (54 if using jokers). Everyone uses the same set of dice, passed around by turns. There is no dealer and no 'pot' or ante-up.
Yahtzee is also educational. Any age can play. Of course, that said, it depends on the patience of other players if pre-school children are involved. At that level, they can learn to count and spot patterns, learning to quickly see at a glance what patterns on the dice equal what counting number. But don't tell the little darlings--let them just believe they are having fun!
As the kids get older, they will learn to quickly add and subtract in their heads--including a few double-digit figures; adding up your score; subtracting needed points from already-gained points to plan strategy of what you need in following turns.
Game play is simple--roll the dice, look at what you need on your scorepad, and decide what to hold and what to throw back. You get 3 rolls of the dice per turn. (Think "Texas Hold'em;" with it's "flop, turn and, river.")
Of course, there are categories that do not exist in poker, such as 'large and small straights.' Poker has only a straight...no size measurements involved; and the ultimate jumping-out-of-your-chair-hollering, "YAHTZEE!!"™ does not happen in poker, where there is no such thing as five of a kind (without jokers).
We played a lot of Yahtzee,™ and my mom and a good friend of hers used to sit several evenings a week and play an entire scoresheet of 6 games each time! Best of all, the number of people who can play at any one time is, in theory, limitless. Naturally, there are limits of practicality, but there are no game-imposed limits. It is not a game designed for any certain number of players.
Now here's a game for the 'wordsters' of the world. There are general rules, tournament rules, and the often-invented "house rules."
Among the standard Scrabble® rules is "no foreign words." In our family, we stretched this by quite a wide margin, reasoning that after all, English is rather a bastard language, with a high percentage of its words either derived or directly taken from other languages. Ergo, "there is no such thing as a foreign word." ;-) We sometimes also pretended that we were French, so only French words were allowed.
For vocabulary-boosting, dictionary skills, spelling and social skills, there are few board games rivaling Scrabble.A four-player game, there are some rules that can be decided by the players, such as agreeing on which dictionary will be used to settle disputes, whether or not a timer will be set for each turn and whether to keep score or just play for fun.
Again, educational while playing. My kind of game, remembered fondly.
Want to Play?
Good old Uncle Wiggily! I have fond memories of this game from my childhood.
Last but not least, I come full circle from my opening passing mention of "Chutes and Ladders" and "Candyland," to what was perhaps my favorite game of all in my young childhood years.
The Uncle Wiggily. is similar in play, but uses a character from a children's novel. The story is an anthropomorphic tale about an elderly gentleman rabbit, Uncle Wiggily Longears, who has a 'touch of rheumatism,' and has to visit Old Doc Possum. The book has other characters, and other aspects to the storyline, but the game is based solely around his attempt to get to Doc Possum's house. (You'll recall from my hub about children's books that animal stories were my favorites.)
There are cards drawn to instruct the moves to make, and various forest friends to help him on his way "so many hops," at a time....and of course, roadblocks, and the occasional 'go back "x number of spaces" situations.
There is a bad boy character, known as the 'Skeezicks,' and if you land in his domain,you lose a turn. That name just struck my fancy, and I use it to this day to call out our one particularly mischievous cat!
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© 2011 DzyMsLizzy
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