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Aggravation-A Game of Family Fun

Updated on March 7, 2013

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.

Aggravation is good, family fun! J with Liz and Papa 2007
Aggravation is good, family fun! J with Liz and Papa 2007 | Source


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!


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    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      LOL Oh, PrairiePrincess that is funny about your game strategy-or nonstrategy. Thanks for sharing. You remind me of my sister! :) Thanks for your comments.

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 6 years ago from Canada

      Denise, I really enjoyed this hub! I loved how you used Aggravation as a metaphor for life -- well-done! My sister and I used to play this game with my Grandma. Just recently, my Grandma shared with me that I was kind of annoying to play with, because I refused to send anyone home, because I felt sorry for them! I guess I've always been a bit of a "bleeding heart." Great hub!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Debby-I can only imagine how much time it must take to create the radio show. I'm sure you bring much awareness to the community through your teachings. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond. :)

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 6 years ago

      Denise. Please send private note. My radio show takes much energy and time. I love doing it and sending out waves of awareness for healing and education. Let me know if you listen while playing games with the family. (SMILE)

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Danette-we did have fun those days playing that game, didn't we. Hey-why don't you write about dad's card game. :)

      tlpoague-thanks for the vote up and your comments. :)

      Hi Gail-If dad had not bought me the new version I would not have known about it either. And, you're welcome. :)

      Hi Debby-yes, I am (30 day challenge) I know-I am crazy. And, in the middle of it I am now looking/applying for another job. Aghhhh! I'm very interested in your work/radiotalkshow, etc. Good for you. I'm hoping we can eventually get together this summer.

      Dzy--thanks. I appreciate your comments and vote.

      Hi Kim-You're welcome. Seems Aggravation has been popular with many of us here at Hubpages. Thanks for commenting.

    • kimh039 profile image

      Kim Harris 6 years ago

      I grew up playing Aggravation and played with my kids. I'll be playing with granddaughter in no time. I liked your idea about it being a game about choices and risk assessment! Thanks for triggering some pleasant memories, Denise.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 6 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Great, concise explanation of the game, Denise! Good job. Thanks for pointing me to your hub about this aggravating game! LOL

      Voted up & shared.

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 6 years ago

      Denise ~ Are you doing a 30-Day Hub Challenge in this interminable heat? I wish you the best and know you will fly with it! Love your stories. Love, Debby

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Ah, I remember getting bumped back many a time! Thanks for sharing such a bittersweet memory of your Dad. I didn't even know they'd made an updated version of this game, but the coolest thing about any board game is the way it brings families together.

      BTW thanks for alerting me to the link issue to my game hub.

    • tlpoague profile image

      Tammy 6 years ago from USA

      I loved playing this game as a kid. I have a homemade version of it. Voted UP and loved reading your hub. Thanks!

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 6 years ago from Illinois

      It's a fun game - haven't played it in years, though. Voted up and enjoyed the hub.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Ruby-thanks for visiting and commenting. I suggest a good round of aggravation. Maybe it won't have the same punch it with a group of adults as it does playing with kids, but it is still fun.

      Dexter-by all means find that game and play. Not sure the ages of your kids but if they are between 6-12 it's a perfect reason to stop the t.v. and playstations and enjoy each other's co.

      Baygirl-I think you need to write a hub about concentration and other card games--that is what this week's topic of inspiration is all about. :)

      Hi Beth-Have fun being aggravated on top of being agitated about work,LOL. I'm sure you will have lots of fun with your kids in the meantime. Thanks for reading.

    • Beth100 profile image

      Beth100 6 years ago from Canada

      Hey Denise!!! I think I played Aggravation once or twice but I was really, really young (ouch, hurts my head to dig that deep for those memories!! lol) but I remember being very aggitated because everyone kept sending me home. :( You've changed my mind about trying it again and I think I'll go find it and play it with kids this weekend. Besides, if I'm gonna be aggravated, I might as well enjoy the Aggrivation!!! :D Great hub D!!! xo

    • baygirl33 profile image

      victoria 6 years ago from Hamilton On.

      hi again.Had to return!

      There's another card game called concentration that's excellent for kid's memory(and senior's)

      It's called concentration and consists of all cards being face down on the table. You turn one face up then try to find the match from the remainder of the cards. Where this becomes difficult and good for you is when you have to remember where that matching card is.Two ,three ,four can play.It makes you focus because you have to watch what others turn up .If you don't find a match you must turn both cards back face down.If you do find a match then you keep the cards.

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 6 years ago from United States

      Hi Denise! Board games such as this brought families together around a table for fun. Unfortunately, in many families, folks go to their separate areas of the house to surf the internet or play with their Playstation.

      I have never played Aggravation but will find it and give it a try - with the family! Thanks for another great hub!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Great hub. I love Board games, Especially Scrabble. I used to belong to a Scrabble club, we played every Tuesday night. I haven't played Aggravatin, but i would like to. Thank you for sharing.


    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      LOL OMG baygirl-my dad taught us math through cards and there was always (and still is) a poker game going on whenever there was a family gathering! Thanks for your comments. They brought out some wonderful memories.

    • baygirl33 profile image

      victoria 6 years ago from Hamilton On.

      Hi Denise! Nice hub! Games are so good for teaching kids math .For us it was poker.They watched the parents play poker all weekend so they loved when they could play with the cards. It's easy and fun to just show them two cards and have them pick a card that is the answer to the question. Thanks for sharing.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      @w.m.--LOL Yes, I would say so. Although, you can play your very own live version of AGGRAVATION with those ages, LOL. Take care and enjoy them while they are young. The time flies by and next thing you know they are preteens and then teens and they get even more AGGRAVATING! LOL

    • workingmomwm profile image

      Mishael Austin Witty 6 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      Hey, Denise. They're 2 and four months, so I think we have a few years yet! :-)

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Onlineblogger-thanks for the comment--LOL That's funny!

      Hi Kath-oh, what a buy that must have been. Garage sales are great places to pick up some of these classic gems for next to nothing. Glad you're enjoying it! Thanks for stopping by.

    • Chatkath profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from California

      My Dad's partner bought a bunch of classic board games at a garage sale last year and they have been such a hit with everyone! Aggravation was one of them and remains a popular past time at family events! Thanks for sharing Denise.

    • TheOnlineBlogger profile image

      TheOnlineBlogger 6 years ago from Cairo, Egypt

      yea, I still remember some of my old games as they are similarly repeated in my life now! nice hub Denise

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hey My Stories-thanks for the vote up!

      Sir Travel_Man-thanks so much for your comments. I agree, it is wonderful to have great parental role models. I was very fortunate for both.

      Marky-Thanks for reading and commenting. If you haven't played it be sure to get a game for you and your grandkids. It is great competition and fun. LOL

      Workingmomwm-yes, dad was actually a very cool man (see: Sacrifices of Fathers, my hub tribute to him); Aggravation is lots of fun. Not sure how old your kids are, but age 5 is plenty to get the concept of this game. Thanks for your comments.

    • workingmomwm profile image

      Mishael Austin Witty 6 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      How cool that your dad actually invented a card game!

      I'm not that familiar with Aggravation myself (at least not the board game variety). I might have to check it out - especially when the girls get older!

    • the clean life profile image

      Mark Bruno 6 years ago from New Jersey Shore

      Denise, this sounds like an awesome game!! Your explanation of this game was great and one more master piece of a hub under your belt. Great Job Denise!!:)

      Voted Up !!!

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 6 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      More often than not...parents will allow kids to shine. Just like my father did long time ago. And it inspired me to excel at the games of life (whenever I could).

      Thanks for this game, Ms. Denise!

    • My Stories profile image

      My Stories 6 years ago

      Sounds like a cool game. I voted up. :)

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Annie-it is fun, although I was told that there is a version in Britain called: Frustration, which I did not know. Interesting.

      Hey Cara-lots of fun playing that game on family nights, huh. Too bad about your heat index.

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

      Great hub! My aggravation today was the heat in a room with 30 kids!!!! I really do like this game. I can't wait until my kids are old enough to play these "big kid" games.

    • annmackiemiller profile image

      annmackiemiller 6 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

      looks like fun - I love board games - voted up and stuff

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Oh my gosh-what cool info. I had no idea. Thanks for sharing. :)

    • CASE1WORKER profile image

      CASE1WORKER 6 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      Ah, in England it was marketed as frustration and yes we played it a lot at home and again when we had kids!