Monday, January 23, 2012

Wanna Play?

by Sue Ann Jaffarian
Playing indoor games is such a warm, cozy part of my childhood memories. Until I was nine, we lived in Massachusetts. During long, cold winters we played lots of board games and cards – even the adults. We watched very little TV. Every few weeks, my parents, or one of my aunts and uncles, would host a card night. While they had cocktails and played hearts at the dining room table, the cousins would be sprawled on the floor in various age groups, wolfing down popcorn and immersed in Monopoly, Chutes and Ladders, Sorry, Scrabble, and Candy Land.
My mother loved Yhatzee and a game called Chicken, which is an offshoot of Yhatzee. I spent several hours playing it with her the night before she died.
My father also loved Yhatzee and Chicken, but I’d have to say his favorite game was Cribbage, and my brother and I were taught it at an early age. Whenever I visited my dad, he and I would play it far into the night. When he died, my stepmother gave me my father’s hand-carved cribbage board, which sits proudly in my living room.
I still love cards and board games. Whenever I need to relax after a day of work and writing, I turn to playing Backgammon and Dominoes online. The fun thing about Internet games is that there is always someone to play with, no matter the time of day. And I’ve had some interesting Backgammon games with players from around the world.
And as much as I fought it in the beginning, I’m now playing Words With Friends. Me and Alec Baldwin.  No, I’m not currently playing Baldwin, but if he’d like to challenge me – game on!
So what’s my favorite board game? Hmm, so many games, so many memories … eeny, meeny, miny, moe. If I have to choose just one, it would be Backgammon, a game I learned in the seventies when it was very popular in night clubs.

I once referenced Backgammon in one of my books. In Booby Trap, Odelia Grey talks about meeting someone playing it online, who then becomes a real friend who needs her help.


Meredith Cole said...

Love the image of your family playing together, Sue--mine didn't have a TV, so we played a lot of games, too. We had lots of board games, but we mostly played cards. Hearts and Pounce--a fast solitaire-like game.

gregkshipman said...

Baltimore is known for it's white marble steps. In my youth our block (like many others on the East-Side)displayed its freshly scrubbed steps on Saturday mornings... however; in the evenings those top steps became the 'tables' for our favorite card games which usually lasted well into the night. I was taught to play 'Hearts' by my dad... I taught it to my son and he to his. We're a 'Hearts' dynasty. Our motto is: We don't play for money... we play for BLOOD!

Sara Connelly said...

We love to play games, we always have a Yatzee chalenge at our get togethers for Holidays. Apples to Apples is another favorite.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

We played a lot of card games (cribbage, nerds, speed) when I was growing up. And yet, none of us have ever made money in Vegas.

Now the household runs to strategy games (stratego, risk, chess), which I pretty much always lose.

Thanks for bringing it all back, Sue Anne!

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Hearts was always our family card game, too. I still love to play it. And, Greg, we played for blood, too!

Sara, I was introduced to Apples to Apples a few years ago and loved it!

OMG, Rebecca, Stratego! My brother had that game and we played it a lot.

And how many of us played Chinese Checkers?! We had this great big colorful tin with the board on top. The marbles were stored
inside and made all kinds of racket with moved around.

CJ West said...


I loved Risk as a kid. The only problem was that it took so long to play and finish a game. I could never keep my kids interested long enough to finish.

In our house we are hooked on No Limit Hold 'em, Pictionary, and Balderdash.


Reece said...

Sue Ann -- I remember the backgammon craze, too. Do people still play that?

As a kid I was into Risk. In the wake of the Bush Doctrine, there's a game that is as timely as ever ....