My Top 5 American Style Games for the Holidays
Did you ever think it would come to this? Time has almost caught up with us. The Gathering… I mean the Holidays… are upon us. The Holidays, that time of year when we are forced to spend time with family whether we like them or not.
To help you pass the time, I have decided to run down some of my favorite American Style games. In recent years Euro Style board games have taken America by storm. Classics of Euro style such as Catan or Carcassonne allow everyone to play until the games eventual conclusion. This coupled with their reliance on cooperation, has made them the darling of many a Board room. Euro style board games foster team building, compromise and allow players to seek a peaceful resolution to problems.
Forget that. Chances are the little monsters you will be spending your holidays with need a swift kick in the pants. In all probability they’re a bunch of heathens that would rather be on their phones than spending time with you anyway. Well guess what? American style games don’t hand out participation trophies. They allow you the pleasure of punting them crying to the curb. Here you either win or you lose, there is no room for cooperation or compromise.
Number 5: Sorry!
Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way. No one’s ever sorry in Sorry. Sorry is a derivative of the classic circle and cross game Pachisi. Here each player has four pawns of a color. The object of the game is to move all of your pawns around the board until they reach your home. The first player to move all of their pawns to their home zone is the winner.
What makes Sorry such a classic is the fact that no two pawns can occupy the same square. Because of this, whenever a player lands on a square occupied by a pawn of a different color that pawn is sent back to the starting point. You should really practice your best snide “sorry” for this. Trust me, those little monsters won’t hesitate to give you a grinning “sorry” if they kick one of your pieces back to the starting block.
Number 4: Uno
Uno is the classic card game of comeuppance. It starts out simple enough: everyone is dealt seven cards, the rest are set face down on a draw pile. Beside the draw pile, one card is turned face up as the discard pile. This card determines the beginning of the game and everyone has to match the face up card. Whether this is by matching the number, color, or action on the card. If they are unable to match this card, they draw a card. If that card can be played they may do so. If not, play moves to the next person. Play continues this way until a player has no more cards to discard.
What makes Uno so great is all of the things that you can do to your opponent. Uno has a plethora of action cards and these are what you live for. Draw two and draw four cards are just the thing you need to show those little snots what’s up. After you’ve played for a while, a smart player can begin to tell what’s in their opponents’ hands. Oh, they’ve been playing green for the last couple of rounds? Change the color. Not to mention because they can’t get off their phones for more than five minutes they have no attention span. Use this knowledge to your advantage and when they are down to one card and fail to call Uno make’em draw two more cards. That’ll teach them to pay attention.
Number 3: Scrabble
Scrabble is a crossword puzzle game of vocabulary. Players score by spelling out words on the board as they lay out their tiles. Here, the larger your vocabulary is the greater your advantage. This makes playing Scrabble with unread children an absolute delight. It’s the perfect game to play with children in the failing US education system. Victims of the dumbing down of the curriculum as we leave no child left behind.
Today’s children, with their surprisingly sparse vocabulary, are the perfect victims in a game of Scrabble. Couple this with their reliance on slang and shorthand in their incessant texting and you have a perfect storm. Perhaps if you’re are lucky, the lashing they receive will prompt them to pick up a book before they come back. Knowing this, break out a dictionary and take them to task and don’t relent until they succumb to your superior vocabulary.
Number 2: Risk
Risk is a game of world conquest. Each player begins by claiming territory until all land lots are taken. Once all of the land lots on the board are claimed the game really begins. With the object of the game being world domination, players take turns attacking their neighbors. This is done by rolling a number of dice based on the size of the force attacking. The defender rolls either one or two dice based on the size of the defending force. Once the dice have been rolled they are compared. Any results that are higher than the defenders by the attacker result in the defeat of the defender’s forces. Any ties rolled go to the defender. The game continues until one player has defeated all the others and has conquered the world.
Risk is the perfect game for today’s risk averse children. Locked in what can only be called Snowflake syndrome they lack the courage to take a calculated risk when they see one. This lack of courage on your opponents part will allow you to quickly overtake the board. If by chance one of you opponents does begin to provide a challenge seek to form uneasy alliances with weaker players. This often is its own reward, as the weaker players you have allied yourself with will realize too late that you will eventually turn your attention to them.
There can only be One! Monopoly
This is it! Honestly there could only be one game to take the number one spot. Monopoly has ruined more marriages and friendships than all these other games combined. Not much can be said about the rules as everyone in America should have a basic idea of how to play by now. Players move around the board buying up property. They then extort money from other players who land on their property.
A word of warning: reread the rules again as many of the original rules make this game even more brutal. I can think of no better way to make a bunch of little kids cry than by auctioning off a piece of property they can’t afford. Scratch that crap about fines being placed in a pot for whoever lands on Free Parking. Payments go to the bank. Free Parking is a safe space on the board, that is all it is. This removes the hope of “if I can just land on Free Parking I’ll have enough to make it around the board one more time”.
I often take the ruthless stand of buying up all the cheapest properties and erecting low cost housing. Do this you’ll be able to purchase Boardwalk in no time. If by some chance you land on Boardwalk buy it but leave it fallow. Your time will come. And none of that loan crap! Make them pay their bills. If they can’t, it’s time to mortgage some property kiddos.
The above article is all in good fun. Yes, these are some of my favorite games, and I would recommend them to anyone with small children. These simple games really do impart some valuable lessons that children can use later in life. Skills that they can take into the world to help them be more successful. Not to mention, if you really are good at these games, there really is nothing quite as satisfying as making children cry. Cue Evil Laugh, muahahaha!