I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving weekend. Hope you had some tasty food, spent some good time with family, and got some gaming in. Maybe you got some good deals on Black Friday (hopefully you did not punch anyone to do so. That would be bad). Hopefully you had a thanks to stop and take some time to, you know… be thankful.
As for me, I did have a great thanksgiving weekend. Got some great food – my mom’s homemade thanksgiving dinner, my mom-in-laws thanksgiving dinner leftovers – spent some good quality time with family (see above), and got some gaming in.
Nothing special or noteworthy as far as gameplay goes. Nothing crazy happened. I didn’t pull out any brand new games or try something I’d never played before.
I did finally get a chance to teach my mom Dominion (it’s hard to get 4-player games in with my family when usually there are anywhere between 5-15 people around). Dominion was a game she was apprehensive to try, thinking it to be too complicated – but i’m happy to report, she liked it (it helped that, even though she didn’t win first place, she beat my dad. Incidentally, my wife killed us all. She’s really good at board games). I also taught Ticket to Ride.
A very special moment happened later that day, though. Just as we were leaving, my mom gave me a hug goodbye – and she thanked me for having a hobby that the whole family could enjoy.
I wrote a post the other day about the depressing side of the hobby. It can be tough to get games going, you can never afford to buy all the new games, nor do you have the time to play them all.
But on the flipside, this hobby is extremely rewarding. See, my family never was interested in my video games. I did introduce them to Wii, but they play Wii Sports – it’s not exactly Halo or Mass Effect or even Mario. If I was into basketball, I could get my dad to play but you’re not going to see my mom out on the court.
But they can play board games. Sure, Twilight Imperium will never hit the family table (at least not my parents… as for my future kids… watch out!) but Ticket to Ride, Dominion, Kill Dr. Lucky, Carcassonne – these are games that I love playing myself, not just games I “stoop down” to play something my family can handle. And we enjoy it, and we have a good time together.
When you bring something new into your family, when you try to teach them something they’ve never done before, there’s always a chance it wont go over well – they wont enjoy it, they wont have fun. But I’ve seen a pretty good success rate with board games – not just in my family – once people realize there’s more out there than Monopoly and Risk.
There’s pleasure not just in buying and playing games. You get the joy of spending time with people, of introducing your family and friends to something new and watching them as they learn and eventually succeed as they figure out strategies and become competitive. You see them have fun even when they don’t win (a feature not present in many “mass-market” board games). And sometimes, your mom thanks you for having a great hobby.
I’d call that a win.
How was your thanksgiving break? Get any awesome gaming in?
I taught almost my entire family to play Dominion. Some of them like it better than others (my older sister and parents had some trouble grasping some of its subtleties, which meant that I beat them a lot), but they all played multiple games.
On the downside, I had to play Monopoly, but sometimes sacrifices must be made to include the little kids.
No, Kevin! Never give them an inch!
Okay, I admit it: I sacrificed and played Uno with the kids this weekend. I also taught them some fun games, but I think they liked Uno best.
I taught a group of eight, including an octogenarian, to play Imaginiff! A good time had by all.
When my extended families get together, it’s pretty much party games…so we did Taboo, Scategories, and Quelf over the long weekend. I still enjoy them for the good times had by all!
On the ambassador side, my brother-in-law (newly toying with this gaming thing) called me on Sunday evening from his FLGS with gift card in hand asking for the best recommendation for his family (mainly he and his “non-but-open-to-gaming” wife and 10 year old son). After weeding out his non-interests, it came down to Carcassonne or Forbidden Island. I said both would be a good fit, but ultimately thought they’d enjoy FI more for is coop nature and price point. It was funny, because he’s looking at titles and asks, “What’s this Caylus about?” I chuckled and said, “Put it down and slowly walk away!”