Old-school games were full of important lessons

I’ll bet most of you have enjoyed an old-school game or two in your day.

“C-5.”

“Sssshhhhhh.”

“Miss.”

“H-6.”

“You sank my battleship!”

“Sssshhhhhh.”

 

I don’t know how many of you out there remember the old commercial of the two dressed-up dudes so bored with the opera that they were engaged in a heated contest of Battleship to kill the time.

But I’ll bet most of you have enjoyed an old-school game or two in your day.

Does anyone play old-school games anymore?

When I was a kid (yes, I’m so old I pre-date many video games and Pong was created by mystical technology wizards), they were a staple.

Whether you played with your friends (everyone had the buddy who would angrily flip a game board when he or she lost, scattering the pieces everywhere) or family (you used every means necessary, within the rules or not, to beat your sibling), board games ruled.

I can still remember so many of them.

There were the traditional old-timey classics like checkers, chess and backgammon (I know I enjoyed backgammon for a spell in the 1980s but wouldn’t have a clue how to play it today).

“Money” games like Monoloply and Payday were always great.

“You used to cheat at Monopoly,” said my sister earlier this week, when I innocently asked her if she had any pics of us playing board games as a kid.

The fact she still seemed a little miffed 35 years after the fact told me everything I needed to know about the enduring importance of board games.

“Of course I did,” I replied. “Not all the time, just once in a while… when I needed it. If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t tryin’.”

Now, of course, cheating is reprehensible and I don’t condone it in any way. But, as the older sibling, I felt it was my moral obligation to teach her the valuable life lessons gained from losing.

Repeatedly.

At anything we played.

After all, who hasn’t slipped a nice orange $500 bill or two into their own personal stash when serving as the Monopoly banker?

Or delicately nudged the board in Operation as your opponent was trying to extract the funny bone?

Or surreptitiously rearranged the location of your Battleship fleet?

Or tried a quick count in snakes and ladders to avoid the most perilous plunge on the board?

Side note: Apparently, one of the latest incarnations of Monopoly does away with the banker,  instead using ‘debit cards’ and an electronic card reader. I will never play this game with my sister.

Anyone else have a closet full of old games? A bunch stuffed away in the crawl space.

It’s so easy to recall them all.

Clue.

“Colonel Mustard, in the conservatory, with the candlestick.”

Even games about who murdered who were cool.

If it were invented in today’s politically correct world, it would be more like ‘find who disturbed which snowflake’s safe space.”

We actually played Scrabble without our mobile devices.

Trouble, with the little plastic bubble. The Game of Life. Don’t forget to have insurance. Stratego (basically the lesser cousin of Risk, which I never liked anway). Masterpiece. Because we were all art experts.

The games without the traditional boards but still fun, like Battleship and Mastermind. Kerplunk with the sticks that could genuinely put an eye out, just like Mum always warned us.

Who remembers Othello? I loved that game.

Connect Four.

“Here, diagonally.”

“Pretty sneaky, sis.”

Trivial Pursuit. (I am the king of useless knowledge).

How many have I missed?

After a break of a decade or so, I rekindled my love for non-electronic games when my son was little. He loved Hi Ho Cherry O, except the little cherries always went missing. We played Sorry! for many years and both loved the Cranium games.

Haven’t played any for a couple of years now, though. Who’s up for a throwback game of Monopoly?

I’ll be the banker…

Philip Wolf is a regional editor for Black Press. He can be reached at philip.wolf@black press.ca

Cowichan Valley Citizen

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