I'm Board

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Playing a board game at a party is as old as sliced bread and Elizabeth Taylor. But lately I’ve noticed board “gammers” popping up everywhere. There is a bar in Chicago called Gutherie’s that people flock to just to play a variety of games supplied by the bar with groups of friends.

This weekend, reader Brian is having a party that will feature some board game playing. Earlier this year, I read a trend piece that at-home entertaining is expected to hit an all-time high in 2008 because of our economy. Do you think that board game usage will also rise? I do.

So while we tackle the subject of board game, let me feature my top five.

5. Monopoly: There can’t be a list of the best board games without mentioning Monopoly. It’s one of American’s greatest games. From the game pawns to the famous street names, this game is hours of fun. And I mean hours.

4. Scrabble. Another classic game that almost anyone can play. Of course you are going to dominate Scrabble if you are a big wordy nerd, but at the Bonkowski Christmas this year we proved that you really can play this at any age. Our range was about 15 to mid-40’s, with a 7-year-old giving her input.

3. Trivial Pursuit. This game is guacamole of board games. Don’t say you hate it until you’ve tasted (played) it. Yes, some of the questions are really hard, but it isn’t impossible. I personally like the 90’s and 20th Anniversary editions.

2. Scattergories. For me this makes the list because it doesn’t involve spelling. It’s all about the word association. All players are given a card with 10 categories. A die with the letters of the alphabet is rolled. Let’s say it lands on “S.” You must come up with a word for each of the 10 categories that begins with S. You get double points if you put in a double S. For example, if the category was “Actresses” and you put “Sissy Spacek” you would get two points. The game has 10 rounds and the person with the highest score at the end wins!

1. Outburst.
This is my number one choice because it’s so easy my grandma can play. The game is somewhat like “The Family Feud.” One team is given a card with a subject and 10 answers. The other team must shout out answers while being timed. A point is earned for each correct answer. Card subjects range from “Beatles songs,” to “fast cars,” to “Broadway shows.” Speaking of my grandma, Brady and I were once playing against her and got the catageory “Things you blow.” Brady’s face got as red as her hair : )

To make the party a bit more interesting, you can easily turn any of these games into a drinking event by doing the following:
- If you miss a question, drink the amount that is on the dice
- However many answers you don’t get right, drink
- If you lose, drink
- Or just drink. A lot.
(Photo Sources: school.scrabble-assoc.com, areyougame.com,