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Aggravation-A Game of Family Fun
In our family Aggravation was a regular family board game we played, and why not, with six kids, two parents and one grandparent living in our home, there was a lot to be aggravated about. When the original game was created up to six players ages six and over could play, but of course, even the younger children could roll the dice and move the marble pieces with some assistance.
The simple concept of a race to the finish is complicated with pitfalls. As colorful marbles sit in their starting base the player can only exit each one on the roll of a six or one from the die that is included with the game. Anything other than those two decisive numbers results in waiting for your next turn.
If you happen to be lucky enough to roll a six to get your piece out you get another turn which will now propel you off the starting place making it possible to move another marble out quickly. As long as you roll a six you continue to move ahead with no penalty unless there are no more moves for you to make.
As in life, in the course of moving your piece along the board there are choices to make which amounts to taking a risk-the safe way is the journey around the entire board which means you are moving past each players home base and putting your piece in danger of being sent back home, should their marble land on the space yours is occupying. Perhaps the long way is not so safe after all…
If you are fortunate to roll the exact number to move the marble to the center space on the board you can get your ‘man’ into the safety of home quicker via this short cut. The catch, (there is always a catch isn’t there), is that the marble cannot move out of that center space without a one being rolled. Sometimes a player can have a marble sitting in that sole spot for a very long time.
Once that piece has exited that center spot it is on its way home sabotaged only by an opponent’s skill in catching and exiling your man back to start so very close to home. That is aggravating, hence, the name of the game. During the course of the game everyone is an enemy, and allies that gang up on another man's marble will turn on one another when it comes down to the wire of finishing first.
A true kid at heart
My father loved games and actually invented a card game that taught math skills, which he patented and sold. He was always on the lookout for fun activities that we could enjoy as a family. From his children to his grandchildren he would take that vintage game board out each night after supper.
One birthday, before dad passed away, he and my nephew visited my home here in North Carolina for a birthday supper I cooked. Out came a present at the end of the meal and there I was opening a new, updated version of Aggravation. Obviously, dad felt that no home was complete without it.
The new version has replaced the straight lines of the vintage board with an abstract 3-D design. The crazy, colorfully bold artwork jumps out at you and is more appealing to kids than the simple lines of the old board. Even the color of the marbles have been replaced with a fluorescent set of pink, purple, blue, orange, green, and red. Like little round pieces of bubble gum, they are made of a light weight material different from the standard, heavier marble in the old game. Personally, I prefer the classic Aggravation board. Although it is basically a black colored board with the colored marbles moving around it, I find it easier to follow. However, I can certainly appreciate the marketing strategies of the updated version.
We set up the card table out on the deck and proceeded to play a few rounds of Aggravation . I’m happy to report that the birthday girl was the reigning champion-or perhaps not…dad had a way of maneuvering and one never knew if he had lost, or merely allowed one to win!