Tuesday, February 26, 2013


I love board games, really I do, but this afternoon Sorry! lived up to its name.

For a glowing report on all the benefits of board games, click on this.  Here you'll find pearls of wisdom such as these:

Just learning to be a graceful loser.

  • Board games allow you to spend quality, intentional, and uninterrupted time with your children
  • Second to quality time together as a family, children learn how to take turns and be graceful losers when playing board games.
  • Finally, board games are excellent for your child’s cognitive development
You know what? I agree with every word of this. But then there was this afternoon's game of Sorry. 

Gruesome, I'm telling you, gruesome.

It's cold and rainy. It's going to continue to be cold and rainy. For several weeks it's been rainy. We're running short on diverting activities suitable for all ages and doable indoors. If it hadn't been 42 degrees, we might have grabbed umbrellas and stomped in puddles. But it was 42 degrees, so as I finished up a call or two, I told Kolbe to grab Sorry.

John's reading now. He's shown interest in board games. How fun would this be?

I vaguely remembered having penned a piece long, long ago about the perils of attempting to play and, more to the point, actually enjoy board games with young children. As I read this and this, it all came back to me -- the flying pieces, the meltdowns, the games that have never, never, never, ever, ever, ever in the history of life been played to a conclusion, the time my sweet niece entered into the Game of Life firmly intent on producing girls and girls alone, but getting one boy after another at which point she stood on a chair, pointed a shaking finger at her plastic sedan and shouted, "Get! Them! Boys! Out! Of! My! Car!"


Quality time at its best!
This afternoon I put my game face on, and we launched into Sorry.

Before we started, I took Kolbe aside and laid down one simple, ironclad ground rule: Sorry me all you want; John and Ainsley are off limits.

And so it began.

John picked up his card.

"Move for, for, for. . . " he read slowly, practicing his phonics skills with great concentration.

"Forward," Kolbe and I helpfully offered.

"You read the card!" John wailed. Off he went in a huff.

I corralled John, offered a pep talk, regrouped. Onward into Mordor and all that. We're having fun, darn it!

The game's more fun if the pieces won't stand up!
I should add that this is not just any Sorry game. No, no, this is Sorry the Madagascar version and comes with various animal shaped pieces that are large and unwieldy and well nigh impossible to keep standing. Ainsley managed to knock over four or five game pieces every. single. turn.

We soldiered on.

Ainsley drew an eight, counted to thirteen or fourteen, knocked over a few more pieces and moved her guy backwards.

Kolbe began to object. I silenced him with a glare. Ainsley wanted another turn. I handed a card to John. Ainsley pouted. John wanted a Sorry card and didn't fully appreciate that Two -- Draw Again is about the most auspicious card in the whole blooming deck.

An elusive smile.
Ainsley drew a ten. She needed a seven to win. I fudged the count. Even Kolbe didn't object.

Game over. Mercifully, blessedly over.

Is there a patron saint of board games? Is it permissible or at least understandable for a mother -- okay, maybe not me, but some mother -- to ditch her coffee and perhaps pour a glass of something a little more soothing? No? Really?

As I cleaned up later, I glanced at the box and saw that Sorry is recommended for ages six and up. They don't mean five and a half. They certainly don't mean three.

Lesson learned.

I think I'll take the advice of that website and give Hi Ho Cheerio a try. Or maybe I'll just pray for sunshine.


Kris said...

Oh, I laughed SO hard at this!! It's all true, sadly. All of it. We STILL talk about playing board games with my daughter (who is now 23) and how Candyland was banned (BANNED, I tell you!) from our house for years because she couldn't play it with us without crying. Something about the combination of a 5 year old girl with a super-competitive streak, Queen Frostine, Princess Lolly and the chocolate mud pit that were a BAD combination. My problem over here is having olders and youngers, ALL with competitive natures (I have no idea where that comes from...!), and no one likes to lose or be charitable to their brother and let someone else win. There's so much that if gratifying, apparently, about creaming your 8 year old brother in Connect Four..... Sigh.

Kolbe Dolin said...

Kris - So funny! Where's the thrill in creaming the 8 year-old? I couldn't tell you, but they can't let it go. I told Kolbe we'd play Sorry!, just the two of us.

Kris said...

I know, right?! I guess they like the superior feeling, even though there is not much superior about the 16-year old "poning" his 8 or 9-year old brother in anything. It's always a work in progress.