“I’m Gonna Leave Your Carcass On The Road!”

My Lil’ Sis and I gleefully assert the above statement when we get together to play Carcassonne, our favorite game.  While it is not a violent game by any means, we get a bizarre joy out of repeating the same old puns and inside jokes to each other as we play, ideally with both of our games put together, with expansions, for a marathon round.  And, since we have twelve kids between us, we have to hide the Peanut M&Ms in the box, drawing them out furtively when no little people appear to be looking:

 (which reminds me–false ad alert regarding M&Ms:  they most certainly DO melt in your hand, especially while you are waiting for the four-year-olds to clear out so you can consume candy unmolested).

During our week together, Kris and I fit in as many games as we could, throwing food at the kids when they needed it and letting the house go to pot.  We spent one afternoon at Empyre Games and Manga in Boise, training the new manager on some of the non-role-playing games; we taught him Carcassonne (sans expansions), Ticket to Ride, Blokus, Chekov, and Hocus Focus.  We didn’t have time for Settlers of Catan (another favorite), but I’ll partner up with someone else next week to teach him that one.  He didn’t think us as hilarious as we thought ourselves to be, but we had a great time anyway.

I’m a sucker for the tactile nature of game pieces; I remember being fascinated by the little buckets and plastic cherries of Hi-Ho-Cherry-O as a kid, followed by Monopoly tokens, Risk armies, Life cars, Battleship fleets, and Mastermind pegs. Part of the reason I enjoy learning new games is so that I can handle pieces like the Tetris-y acrylic colored squares of Blokus:


While I tend to like games that take about an hour to play (Carcassonne, Settlers, Acquire), I also enjoy the rare opportunity to play Empire Builder, a train game that takes my sister, brother, and me about five hours to play.  With my kids, I generally choose the shorter ones like Blokus, Ticket To Ride, Hocus Focus, and Set that don’t require reading and don’t give much if any advantage to an older player.  It gets me pretty riled when they let game pieces get scattered, so we don’t play as often as they’d like, and only when I can concentrate, which usually means only if Madame Chaos is in bed or can be policed by someone.  It always makes me feel like a Good Mom when I play games with them, so I suppose I oughta do it more often.

But there’s still no better combo than Lil’ Sis, Peanut M&Ms, Diet Cherry Pepsi, and double Carcassonne.


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