?By Shaun Clayton
Even in this era of electronics, people still play board games. Yes, with a physical board and physical pieces, which allow players spend an enjoyable evening in the physical company of friends (as opposed to interacting through the usual Facebook quiz written by a 15-year old). Of course, this is the ideal to which board games often fall short — all too many board game experiences end with wrench, a candlestick and a body, and none of you have been playing Clue. Don’t blame yourself, though — many of these games engender this conflict themselves, and have been insidiously waiting for an unaware group of friends to open them up and have their relationships torn apart.
8) Mouse Trap
This game ends friendships when someone actually insists that you play the game. The game is crap; the Rube-Goldberg inspired plastic mousetrap is what makes this interesting. Take the trap away and you have nothing. Anyone who insists that you play the game and not merely set up the trap and watch it go clearly lets a person know which one of their friends is going to be a stickler for the rules and thus be a continuous source of absolutely no fun, likely to end up working in law enforcement or education.
If you are smart, artistic or a performer, you won’t feel like any of those when you play Cranium. The game is all about competing not only against other teams, but also against people on your team once you start to lose. After all, if you sculpt out of clay a perfect Wright Brothers Flyer and your teammate thinks it is a duck, then CLEARLY you are a terrible artist and the worst person in the world. Also insidious is Cranium Central, where to win, you must do an activity of the opposing team’s choosing, which is usually the game that you had to most shouting over. It is a tapestry of hate.
“You sunk my battleship!”
In the commercials, this is said with good-natured disappointment. In real life, the phrase is more like:
“Goddammit, you sank my goddamn battleship!”
There is an anger that comes out over the little plastic ships getting blown up that is completely out of proportion. People invest a lot of time trying to make a layout for their ships that they think is a work of genius, then express dismay when their tactic of bunching all their ships in the upper-right hand corner leads to total annihilation. There is also the fact that someone, if they are so inclined, can move their ships around very carefully without the other person noticing. Things like that are going to get someone a goddamn plastic peg in the eye.
Any time in world history that people have fought over domination of the world, the results have always been good – World War II, the Napoleonic Wars, etc. So, why not make a nice friendly game of human global conflict? It’s about the same idea as bringing people together to drink in bars and making sure they all have concealed guns. After all, nothing brings people together more than the unrestrained urge to kill. It’s especially great with Risk as 3/4ths of the way through the game it is apparent who is going to win. Anyone who continues to play after that point is really just trying to be a dick.
If money is the root of all evil, then Monopoly money is the Devil’s plaything. Monopoly sets up a situation whereby people are deliberately trying to become the all-powerful owner of property, utilities and transportation in a tiny little board of broken dreams and shattered hopes. It’s a deceptively fun looking-game with its tiny houses and metal terrier, but make no mistake: it is full of yelling. It isn’t so much the rolling of the die and getting screwed for landing on a property with a hotel, it’s the pure unbridled capitalism of it where in-between the rolls you try to make trades where people attempt to screw each other over more than the other person. Actually, with the recent financial state of the world, this game may make you hate yourself as much as you hate the other players for having more Monopoly money than real money.
Here’s an idea – let’s get a bunch of anal retentive word nerds together to collaborate on a crossword puzzle, and make a game out of it! Get two or more people with graduate degrees In English playing this game and you may find yourself witness to a homicide. It is like old-west clich? of gunslingers playing high stakes poker, ready to shoot the first person who cheats, except instead of guns, people have dictionaries.. Someone puts down the word “Adz” and people are going for their pocket-sized , easily concealed pleather-bound dictionary, or their hard-bound New York area Phonebook sized monstrosity of a dictionary, suitable for bludgeoning. More likely these days someone is going to whip out their iPhones, allowing them to look up a word in a second and then dial the police in the next minute when they are brutally beaten a library-science major for negating their Triple-Word score.
2) Candy Land
It may be asked how it is that Candy Land is on this list. I submit it to you to ask how Candy Land can not be on this list? It’s the quintessential children’s board game, and as we all know, children act like…well, children. They cheat, they accuse each other of cheating, they knock other pieces over and storm off. They gloat about winning, they gloat about losing. The simplicity of the game just allows more time for children to fight, building lasting anger between them and their friends until that anger, or puberty, eventually divides them.
Checkers is a game that is played on a board shared with Chess. However, Chess makes it quite clear that it is a complicated game of wits, while Checkers is deceptively simple with its uniform pieces and easy-to-understand rules. Playing the game it is actually a frustrating game of wits where you feel really stupid and make a mistake and your opponent captures your pieces. It’s especially punishing if you make a mistake and then one of the pieces is promoted to King, because now you’ve messed up and given your opponent a super-piece, which means that you are going to suffer even greater for the next mistake. The best move for Checkers is perhaps, to fling the board into the air with a yell of “GAAAAHHHHH!”