I like to play games. And, by games, I mostly mean board games, although any sort of game that involves mental exercise will do. There are all kinds of board games out there. My favorite ones are not the social ones where you interact with other people verbally or the chance ones where you’re relying on the roll of the dice but the ones where you try to outsmart and outmaneuver other people quietly. I openly admit that I used Luke’s birthday this year as an excuse to buy a board game I’ve had my eye on for a while called Qwirkle. The game has won a Parent’s Choice Gold Award as well as a Mensa Select Award. I figured that any game that Mensa found award worthy was probably something I should play, not because I’m a candidate for Mensa (I’m not qualified to be in the top 2% of any group unless you’re talking about the top 2% of wives that drive their husbands insane on a daily basis) but because this is obviously a thinking game and I am obviously a thinking gal.
So tonight I pulled out the game and forced hubby to learn it with me. I’m sure he was thrilled. He always loves it when I drag him into this stuff. But, I know he’s smart (although not quite as smart as me because he scored two points below me on an IQ test we both took), so it’s fun to play strategic games with him. We read the directions, gathered our tiles, and started play. Being the generous gal I am, I even allowed him to go first. The game started out slowly while we were still discovering the ins and outs of play and scoring, but it was intriguing enough to continue. I could tell I was truly going to like this game. About halfway through the game tiles, I started to pull ahead in the scoring and that’s when things really became fun.
“Let’s see,” I said, sizing up my scoring in a particularly good run, “12 points for my Qwirkle and then 3 points for that row and 5 points for that row. That’s…..”
Hubby cut me off. “If you can’t count high enough to add the points, then I don’t think you should get the points.”
“Har, har,” I said, adding 20 to my score column. “Your turn.”
He took his turn and scored 7 points.
“That’s good,” I said, trying to be encouraging.
“Don’t patronize bunny rabbits,” he said. “What’s the score?”
“You’ve got 134 and I’m at 177, but it’s my turn so we’ll see after that.”
Just then Luke walked over. “Who’s winning?” he inquired.
“Your mom is.”
Luke looked at Steve’s tiles and then at the table and then back at Steve’s tiles.
“I think I can help you, Dad,” he said.
“Hey…wait a minute.” I stopped him. “Do you really think it’s fair to play two against one?”
“Well, if Luke wants to help, we should let him. It is his game,” Steve answered.
“Well…if you need a 9 year old to help you win, that’s fine by me,” I countered.
The game continued. Luke was able to help Steve make up some of his deficit, but I still beat them by 30 points. As soon as the game was done, Steve started swiping the tiles from the table into the cloth bag to put them away.
I tried to get the boys to play, but it was after 9 and they were tired and ready for bed. I really hate it when I’m high on a victory and no one will humor me with another game. Some people prefer to quit while they’re ahead. Not me. When I’m winning, I’ll keep right on playing. When I lose, it’s time to find something else to do. Apparently that’s Steve’s M.O. too because he was off after our game faster than a dress on prom night. Oh well. I may not quite be Mensa smart, but I’m clever enough to know that if you want people to continue playing with you, you’ve got to be not only a good player but also a gracious winner. I can do that. I can take a break for the night. I can always kick Steve’s butt again tomorrow.
(PS…Another thing I know about playing games…a round of trash talk will get you another game faster than a polite request. Just saying.)