Friday night was at my good friends the Goodstein-Hilbuch's, who play Settlers, but have never progressed beyond it. Sokay with me. Dinner started late and ended late.
Around 11:00 pm, the kids started coming in. The GH family is located right near a young center, and is just one of those places where all the kids come on Friday evenings. In this case, it was the oldest boy's friends, aged 19 or so, that came by. We counted on our watches trying to bet how many minutes until the next one came in. By the time I left for the evening at midnight, fifteen or so had gathered.
Excuse me while I change gears, here.
Board Game Man
It was late in the evening. Things were quiet. Too quiet.
A group of teenagers were sitting around a room. One of them had brought the Hebrew version of the game Taboo, but no one wanted to play it because they knew all the cards already.
"If only we had a better board game to play!" cried one.
That was my cue. But how to change out of my secret identity?
"Look!" I shouted, pointing at the Taboo game. As all eyes turned to the game, I quickly donned my secret costume, and jumped up from the table, tripping over the chair.
"What is that?" one of them cried.
"Is it a meeple?"
"Is it a pawn?"
"That's just Jon," said the ringleader.
"Oh, hi Jon," they said.
"No! It's me! Board Game Man! I have come to help you. What seems to be the problem?"
"Well, er ... Bored Gay Man ... we don't have any games to play. What will we do?"
"Fear not! Have any of you every heard of the game Apples to Apples?"
Shakes of heads, mutterings, questions from the ones who don't speak English wondering if I have any alcohol.
"Stand back! I will fix everything!"
"Here you go," I said. "No need to thank me. All in a day's work ... for Board Game Man."
"Uh, thanks. How many people can play this?"
"Up to ten."
"Well, we have fifteen. Maybe we'll try it later."
On the way out, I heard someone say, "Who was that weird guy?"
The Taboo game came with this rather strange squeaky toy that you are supposed to squeak if someone uses a word that they are not allowed to, or when their time is up.
The next day at lunch I was with other friends, Mel and Dina, also with no hope of a game. However, Dina described a word game that she uses to teach children with. It plays a bit like Mastermind.
One player picks a five letter word, and the other players try to guess the word by trying five letter words. Like Mastermind, the first player indicates after each guess how many letters are correct, and if any are in the correct locations.
In both this game and Mastermind, players have to figure out the basic logic of what letters must be in, and what letters cannot be in, based on their previous guesses. Unlike Mastermind, however, you can also use basic ideas about language and letter probabilities to assist you in finding the word, not to mention any knowledge you may have about the picker and what type of word he or she might have chosen.
The rest of the day I read.
Best mainstream take on the new Monopoly credit card:
For years, Hasbro has been doing "theme" Monopoly games -- special versions named after your college or city, where all the properties reflect real places. Hasbro does this because it knows every home in America already has a Monopoly game hiding in a closet and that you're not buying another unless Hasbro gives you a really good excuse, like calling it "Spokaneopoly" or "Altahama Technical Instituteopoly" or my favorite, "Lord of the Ringsopoly." ...A British chess player falls to her death in the middle of a chess tournament.
The average American couple owes around $8,000 in credit card debt. If they make only minimum payments (and don't charge anything new), it will take that family 22 years to pay it off. The idea of supplying kids with little training-wheel credit cards is so diabolical that I wondered whether Hasbro is secretly owned by MasterCard.
A giant version of Risk.