Games people play

My family makes fun of me. They don’t even bother to go behind my back.

It happens every time I suggest we play a game. The room goes silent, eyes roll, and then come groans.

“Ohhhh, noooo.”

“Here she goes again.”

“OK. But please, not Quiddler.”

For those who enjoy a good word game, don’t listen to my husband or my children. Quiddler is challenging and fun.

The game is played with a 118-card deck. The cards remind me of the artistic alphabet flashcards from my childhood, the ones I credit for teaching me my letters. Not only are Quiddler cards lettered A to Z, but some also contain double-letters like QU, IN, ER, TH, and CL. All have point values.

The game consists of eight rounds with more cards dealt each round. In short, the object is to play words using all of your cards. Participants earn bonus points for the longest word and for using the most words.

I love it. The people I love hate it.

I think I’m the only true gamer in my immediate family. Word games like Scrabble, Bananagrams, and yes, Quiddler are my favorite. I also enjoy old favorites like Monopoly, Life, and Backgammon, as well as Taboo, Trivial Pursuit, and Pictionary.

And no, I don’t just choose games I win. When it comes to Trivial Pursuit and Pictionary, I’m a sad case. It’s a good thing that I can laugh at myself.

I grew up playing Hearts and Rummy with my parents and brothers. We gathered around our mother’s round dining table and watched as Dad shuffled the deck and dealt the cards. He won 999 out of 1000 times, and that’s no exaggeration.

Playing for second place didn’t bother us. Light jabs, amusing stories, laughter, and family intimacy—they are the stuff that brought us back to the table, eager and hungry to play again.

My lifeguard days taught me more than how to discipline rowdy kids and toss a ring buoy. Spades was the name of our rainy-day lifeguard game.

Dressed in sweatshirts and shorts, we threw our beach towels blankets over our legs and sat around a table on the covered porch that overlooked the pool at Fairmont Field Club. There, cards damp from the rain’s mist, we bid tricks and took them, hand after hand after hand.

We played and laughed. We played and talked and speculated about our futures. Where would we go? Where would we land? Who would we choose to journey with us?

The guy I chose gave me three kids who make fun of me and don’t want to play Quiddler. But that’s OK. I play their games.

They enjoy PSYCH. PSYCH challenges players with real trivia questions. They have to come up with answers (true or false) that their opponents will choose. We use an app when we play, so there we are, sitting in the same room, staring at our phones, and laughing.

Gary and the kids also agree to play Farkle and Left, Right, Center; both are dice games. But the game that seems to reel them in lately is a version of “The Sticky Head Game” that our son-in-law Andrew introduced to us.

The Sticky Head Game cracks me up—literally. Each participant secretly writes the name of a famous person, dead or alive, on a sticky note. Then, without saying in which direction ahead of time, the notes are passed, name-side down, right, left, or across.

Picture a group of family members sitting around a table, each with a sticky note plastered to his or her forehead. The object of the game is to figure out who is on your head by asking the other players only “yes” or “no” questions.

It’s not Quiddler, but it’s fun.

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VievesVine View All →

writer, blogger, columnist

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