Gaming With Kids
Tabletop gaming has become a major thing these days. Recently, we took an inventory of the tabletop games in our house and discovered we have over 150. We’ve acquired at least ten more games since then.
We’ve also purchased expansion packs for games we already have but I’m not going to count those because they aren’t new games.
Number of games we’ve gotten rid of in the same amount of time: zero.
As you can see, we have something of a problem. We are quite literally running out of shelves to put all the games.
The obvious solution is to attempt to play every game in our house at least once.
I know what you are thinking and no, the solution is not to dispose of the games that we’ve owned for over ten years and never played once. That would be allowing the game to win.
There are two wrinkles in this plan. The first is probably obvious – when we like a game, we want to play it more than once. I, for instance, could spend an entire weekend playing “Legendary” and still want to play it again.
Because the rest of my family does not feel the same way I am, I think rightly, considering having them replaced.
The second wrinkle is we have kids and they like to play games too. The same games. Over and over and over again.
It’s a little like being forced to watch the same episodes of “Avatar” over and over again. Only with “Seven Wonders.”
You know what I said about “Legendary?” My kids are like that only their entire life is a weekend! If my youngest could play “Love Letter” until he graduated from High School, he would do that. And not just because he would be skipping school.
Though that would definitely be a bonus.
Given our children’s fondness for the same games and our foolish desire to be fair, every week we end up playing the same five or six games our kids love and maybe one new game that adult gets to pick.
As a parent, I know that I should try to let my kids win every now and again so they don’t hate gaming with their parents.
It can be a real challenge to let your kids lose, though, because they are so damn good at it.
My youngest loves games but he doesn’t love getting advice. He tends to figure out the one part of the game that he thinks is the most interesting and he will focus all of his resources on that one thing. No matter what.
If, for instance, he decided that the coolest part of a game was to acquire the most llamas, his focus would be on llama acquisition from turn one until the end of the game. Even if he was told that the number of llamas has almost zero impact on his ability to win the game, he would continue to acquire llamas.
If the game lasted long enough, we’d have to carve new llamas out of popsicle sticks because the game designer didn’t provide enough llamas.
If we play the same game a week later, he will immediately return to the llama strategy though he is well aware that it didn’t work the last time. He just likes llamas.
When you have llama boy on one side of the table, you simply may not be able to play badly enough to win. Even if you concentrate on the less useful pygmy goat.*
My eldest is actually starting to get good, which is a relief. I don’t have to try to lose to him any more. Usually I’m working so hard on losing to the llama strategy, the odds are good that my fifteen-year-old can beat my pygmy goats.
Inevitably, I find myself neither winning or losing and either my fifteen-year-old destroys everyone or my ten-year-old miraculously wins because of an obscure popsicle-stick llama rule.
Actually my wife probably wins because she’s better than the three of us put together. She could kick our asses with pygmy goats.
It’s all good, though, because it means we are playing games with our kids.
Sure, they are the same five games and we are playing the same strategies that didn’t work the last time but parenting has always been about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
*I have no idea what this game I’m describing would be like but someone needs to get to work designing it immediately. Thank you.