Games, games, games

It’s been something of a tradition in our house that our kids give my husband a game for Christmas.  

Now my kids are 6 & 9, so I’m using the word tradition lightly, but every year for the past few years–as long as they’ve been old enough to be conscious of Christmas & their role as gift givers–they’ve wanted to give my husband a game.  This is because Mr. Sey is a game guy.  If there are cards, dice, or playing pieces involved, he’s there.  He’s equal opportunity, too.  It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated.  He’s as happy with Connect Four as with a fierce game of chess. 

And he’s wonderful about playing games with the kids.  Which is probably why they give him games & me pajamas.  They have our personalities pegged.  

We have this game store nearby –Flight of Fantasy–that’s always full of geeky white guys about my husband’s age.  They’re inevitably engrossed in all kinds of games I’ve never heard of but they’re so stoked about gaming in general that they never seem to mind taking a break to talk to the clueless women folk invading their domain.  “What,” we ask them, “is the hot new game this year for dads & their girls?”

They drop their dice like hot potatoes & fall all over themselves to steer us in the right direction.  

A few years ago they pointed us toward this game called Blokus.  Have you seen it?  Here’s a photo.  It’s essentially a spatial reasoning strategy sort of game.  But it’s utterly beautiful.  Sometimes the girls take the board out & just put the pieces in at random because they’re so pretty.  We risk game pieces attrition this way but I allow it because it’s just so darn fascinating to look at. 

This year we were directed to this game called Ticket to Ride, in which the participants all compete to form railroad destinations all over the United States.  Evidently there’s an Asian version as well as a European one.  We played last night & tonight, & everybody from the 9 year old to the 70 year old played hard & was in the mix to win.  (Grandma took home the victory tonight but it was a squeaker.)

Once again, the game guys came through for us.  

What about you? Was there a game under the tree this year that rocked your world?  Share!  I’m always on the lookout for our next gift… 

Photos courtesy of  Mouse over for artist attribution.

Posted in , ,



  • Barb says:

    is he coming here

    • Barb says:

      send him down the road Helen … he might need a rest from all the grandchildren lol

      • Barb, he said all the kids are hogging the Tim Tams. You know that doesn’t please his highness! 😉

        • Barb says:

          That is why he wants to come down here …no kids and peace lol

          • Helen says:

            LOL I am sure he wanted to escape today I had all of the family over for a BBQ including the 6 beautiful grandchildren and yes heaps of food was consumed and lots of running around I am sure he would have been very tired and less a few feathers if he had stayed

            Have Fun

    • Susan Sey says:

      You’ve got him, Barb! Congrats! He sat around pecking my shoulder last night while I was writing this post because I ate the last of the chocolate covered pretzels. (I did not share.) He’s definitely looking for a snack. Hope you feed him well, or they’ll be chaos at your house, too!

  • Barb says:

    We didn’t get any games under our tree but my grandaughter got a game called balderdash …. it is a question and answer game …you are given the answer then you have to decide whether the answer is right or wrong…. I had never heard of half the words lol

    • Susan Sey says:

      Oh, Balderdash! That’s a great one! Sometimes my kids take pity on me & give my husband a word-based game. It’s my only hope. I blow at strategy games but give me a vocab-based challenge & I rise to the occasion. Have you played it yet?

    • Cassondra says:

      Barb I LOVE Balderdash! We have that one, though I haven’t played in a long time. Lately we’ve been going for the fast and furious kinds of games where people act silly. Although Balderdash does make me laugh a lot though.

      I once had the word “mammock” in Balderdash. I said it was a prehistoric elephant type creature. People bought the lie. The other lady in the game said it was a hammock for mammas. Nobody believed that.

  • Susan, what a fun post and how it brings back memories. I really like board games and spent a lot of my childhood playing them. Monopoly was big in our house. And Scrabble. And my mum was a demon card player. Sadly I’m rather competitive so a lot of my friends won’t play with me – wimps! It was pistols at dawn over a Trivial Pursuit match a few years ago and since then I’ve been banned. Sigh. Sounds like you all had a lovely Christmas! Hard to believe it’s 2013 in a couple of days!

    • Susan Sey says:

      We did have a wonderful Christmas, Anna! And it’s tough to believe you’ve been banned for life from competitive pursuits with friends! Did it really come to pistols at dawn, or was it just name calling & hair pulling? Because we’ve definitely descended to that a few times around here. Mr. Sey & I had an epic blow out over Scrabble one year. We were playing with the kids–who were, it should be noted–just learning to read/spell properly–and he wanted to use bizarre words only found in the Scrabble dictionary. I felt it would be better–just while the children were learning to spell, mind you–if we used only spellings that wouldn’t get them a big red X on their spelling tests. He disagreed. This was unacceptable to me & off we went. Nice, huh? Great way to wrap up Christmas. 🙂

      • Susan, I actually think it spoils Scrabble to include thinks like Xi and Qu and those other words. The whole point of Qs and Xs and Zs is that they make it difficult – hence the big points. And none of those words are what you’d call standard English. You can see why I rarely make friends when I play board games, LOL! This Trivial Pursuit game, my partner decided it would be fun if we ‘helped’ the other team. What’s the point of playing the freaking board game under those circumstances???!!! Which I said probably more bluntly than I needed to. Ill feelings are still extant, sadly.

  • Mary Preston says:

    No games under our Christmas tree, but we did give Monopoly an airing. Fierce rivalry & somehow my son always comes out on top.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Oh, Monopoly. That game always seems like a good idea until I get into it & realize I don’t want to spent 6-8 hours driving all my loved ones into bankruptcy. It’s just agonizing. I don’t know why people like that game.

  • Fedora says:

    One of the third grade classes at our kids’ school created a custom version of Monopoly based on the teachers and classes at our school–they sold it as part of a fundraising effort, and our kids love playing it 🙂 Other favorites are the always classic Scrabble (although sometimes we’ll just take the tiles out and play some board-less rounds of Speed Scrabble/Banana), Life, and Clue, although that’s still slightly hard for DS2 to manage as a team of his own 🙂

    • Susan Sey says:

      Hey, that’s a great idea! Using a customized version of Monopoly as a fundraising. I’ll have to remember that. Fundraisers are always thick on the ground & I never have a good idea. I’m tucking that in my back pocket, if you don’t mind!

      And, hey, I forgot about Clue! I don’t think we even have that one lying around the house . How do we not have Clue?? I’m going to make a note somewhere. Mr. Sey has a birthday in March….

  • Helen says:


    When our kids were young there was always a game under the tree most of the popular ones monopoly scrabble those sorts. My grandson Jayden got Junior Monopoly this year but I haven’t had a chance to play with him yet but am looking forward to it

    Have Fun

    • Susan Sey says:

      Once you give Junior Monopoly a whirl, you’ll have to let me know how it differs from regular old Monopoly. My kids dearly love to get our Monopoly board out & screw around with the pieces, but I don’t think they have the skills to hack a true game of it yet. I’d love to know if Jr. Monopoly would be worth the investment. Give us the evaluation once you have a handle on it!

  • Kaelee says:

    We don’t have kids but both my husband and I love to play games. I love the concept of Ticket to Ride. Will have to see if either one of us gets a kid’s name in the 2013 birthday or Christmas drawing. If not maybe we can treat ourselves to the game and take it along to play with the older kids.

    We have had loads of fun playing Balderdash in the past. Will have to dig that one out also.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Oh, you’ll love Ticket to Ride! Sometimes when you play games with kids you have to really grit your teeth & humor them. (“Oh, sure! Mommy would *love* to play Go Fish!”) But with Ticket to Ride, we were all challenged & interested. It truly was that oh-so-rare “fun for the whole family” game. I recommend it heartily!

  • Connie Fischer says:

    No games for us but one granddaughter got Twister and the other one got the “big” Apples to Apples game. Both of them were thrilled and jumped right into playing them.

    I loved board games as a child. Our favorite was called Easy Money which is similar to Monopoly. We kids had many hours of fun with that one! Now, I like to play games on my Kindle. My, how things have changed! 🙂

    • Susan Sey says:

      So true, Connie! I rarely play Scrabble anymore but I have at least three Words with Friends games going at a time on my Nook.

      And we love a good round of Apples to Apples around here. That’s a great one! I don’t know if we even *have* Twister any more, though. I”ll have to take a look….

  • Cassondra says:

    Hi Susan!

    I love games, but it’s hard to get my husband to play. We have several–a very select few–on top of the coat armoire in the front hallway. Scrabble, Balderdash, pictionary, Time’s Up, and Catch Phrase. Notice the fondness for WORD oriented games?

    In truth, it’s not so much the WORD orientation, as Scrabble doesn’t get pulled out much. It’s the desire for a game that makes people act silly and laugh a lot. That’s the best way to blow off steam for me. At my husband’s employee Christmas party this year, of course there was much alcohol, but the hostess was smart. She put the Catch Phrase electronic thingy in the middle of the coffee table, and leaked to a couple of people that she hoped everyone would play. Soon enough there were ten people smooshed around the coffee table in a tight circle, divided onto teams (there was much reminding of who was on whose team because of…you know…the alcohol) And we played about eight games. We were, literally, SCREAMING with laughter, everyone was both highly competitive but good natured about giving people a second chance, and I have to say, it was the most fun I’ve ever had at a party. I think even the ones who refused to join in actually had a good time watching the fray.

    We also have regular playing cards for Rummy and my favorite, Rook, which my grandmother taught me to play as soon as I could sit up on my own (no, I am not kidding. I was that young). My mom’s family was Very Serious, with a capital VS, about Rook.

    Hmm…Maybe I need to blog about that.

    • Susan Sey says:

      I would *love* to read a blog about that, Cassondra. First of all, I just love your blogs. But second of all, one of my first vivid memories is my dad yelling at me because I’d inadvertently trumped my partner’s ace. We were Very Serious about Euchre in my family. Still are. 🙂

      • Cassondra says:

        Ooooo…never played Euchre. What’s that like?

        • Susan Sey says:

          According to my father it’s the best four man card game ever invented. (He claims cribbage is the best two man game ever invented.) It’s essentially a trick-taking card game played by four people in pairs of two. Huge in the upper midwest. You couldn’t go to college in Michigan without a solid working knowledge of Euchre. (Pronounced YOU-ker, btw. Like we pronounce Mackinac “Mackinaw.” It’s how we ID the out of staters.)

  • Cassondra says:

    Oh and I’d love to know more about the railroad building game. Is it fast and furious? Or is it slow like Monopoly? We don’t have Monopoly or Life now (though we did at one time) because I get board if there isn’t the whole screaming with laughter thing.

    • Cassondra says:

      Haha…unintentional pun…get board. SNORK!

    • Susan Sey says:

      The railroad building game is a very interesting combination of fast & slow. The turns go relatively quickly but the building part is slow & steady. It can take a while to build up the cards you needs to put together the routes you’re interested in, but it’s not one of those games where you have to wait ten minutes for your next turn. You get to do something every few minutes so the kids stay interested. But there is no screaming with laughter.

      You want that kind of game? Try Cards Against Humanity. FAIR WARNING: IT IS FOUL, DIRTY AND PROFANE. But hilarious. It’s a word game–like Apples to Apples but for adults. Seriously for adults. But I haven’t laughed so hard or so hysterically at a game in many, many years.

  • Deb says:

    We’re not much of a game family. My husband and I would play Boggle or Dominoes when we were first married. I really “hated” playing with him because he could tell what dominoes I had from what was in the center of the table and in his own pile. (Yeah, he’s a good card player, too.) When I was a kid, we played some board games, but played a lot of card games like “Canasta”, “Hearts”, “Mice or Men”, etc.

    When the electricity went off one day last week for a couple of hours, I taught my daughter the card game “King’s Corner” (my grandmother called it “Wagon Wheel”).

    Shary wanted “Apples to Apples”, but I wasn’t thinking and didn’t get it this year.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Hey, Deb,I’m in the same boat when it comes to being paired up with a strategy minded husband. It’s been thirteen solid years of humiliating losses for me. If I weren’t in possession of a stainless-steel ego, I’m not sure I could take it. 🙂

  • EC Spurlock says:

    There is nothing more fun than a Family Game Night in our house. We’ve been having them since the kids were old enough to understand how they worked. DH and I both had family versions of 500 rummy when we married and we had to sort of blend the separate quirky family rules but we all play that when we get together with extended family and it gets very competitive and hilarious. Our favorites at home are Apples to Apples, UpWords (a variation of Scrabble in which you can stack the tiles to make new words out of old ones), Trivial Pursiut and Mille Bornes. We also play RPGs now that the boys are older, like D&D and Son#1’s new favorite Mouse Guard. I’ve heard lots of good things about Ticket To Ride and looking forward to getting that sometime.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Hey, EC, I’m so glad to hear that somebody else has had to battle out the family rules to the same games. 🙂 Mr. Sey & I have waged epic battles over the correct way to count an ace in a particular card game. High? Low? Can you wrap around a run? (Q-K-A-2-3?) It’s on going. We’re ironing it out. 🙂

  • Pat Cochran says:

    We didn’t get any group games this year,
    most of the GKs have gone electronic in
    the recent past and wanted games for
    their favorite platforms. At past family
    gatherings, games enjoyed included
    Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit (both the ori-
    ginal and the film/celebrity versions),
    and Mexican Train (a dominoes game.)
    You all have mentioned new games
    that my crew would enjoy. Thanks for
    the suggestions!

    Pat C.

  • catslady says:

    I’m a definite game person – any kind from board to cards to computers to Wii. When my children were still home we use to play a lot of games. My husband takes some convincing though. I do belong to a card club but getting people together gets harder and harder with everyone’s schedule. I don’t know any new ones but Sequence and Uno and Balderdash are just a few favorites.

    • Susan Sey says:

      I’ve never played Sequence but Uno is a perennial favorite around here. We also love Balderdash. Mr. Sey & I were just saying that we’d love to learn to play bridge but that definitely requires a time commitment & friends who play. maybe we should check out a card club. That sounds like a great idea.

  • Susan –

    I LOVE board games but my enthusiasm isn’t necessarily shared by my family. My dh used to play Go! and strategy games when we were first married, but we’re both pretty competitive and the outcome was not conducive to marital bliss (grin).

    I did get my son the game Walking Dead this year because he’s a big fan. We haven’t played the game yet – it took an hour to punch out the pieces!

    • Susan Sey says:

      Hey, I saw that game in Barnes & Noble while I was shopping! Mr. Sey & I are huge fans of the Walking Dead & I was tempted. Now I’m sort of glad I held off. We have little kids in the house & any game that requires an hour of assembly just to get it ready to play isn’t going to fly for a few years around here….

  • I have a confession: I cheated at checkers. Yep, sure did! When my kids were little I taught them how to play and would play endlessly with them, until I realized they wanted to play constantly…so…I started losing. Yep, I’d lose once in a while, then half the time. Once they beat me, they’d go running off to challenge their father…who would never lose. I believe my son’s words to me were, “You’re too easy to beat, Mom.”

    Why would I do this, you ask?

    Simple. Peace and a few minutes to myself.

    Yep, I cheated to lose at checkers, just so my kids would go bother their father to play. 🙂

    THEN they discovered chess. Again, I taught them how to play and what each piece did and how to move…and…slowly…I started to lose…until…

    More Peace!

  • Lianne says:

    No new games here for Christmas this year.
    I used to play a lots of card games and Yahtzee (dice game)

    • Susan Sey says:

      Ooooh, Yahtzee! I haven’t played that in years but we used to have hot & heavy Yahtzee tournaments over Christmas whenever my Auntie Pat was in town. I still remember them fondly.

  • Melody May says:

    This year I didn’t get the sister in law I like to get games. However, one year I got them the game QUELF. Let just say that game was a lot of fun when we played and silly.

  • Joan Kayse says:

    I have been playing a game called “Catch the Kitty”. I’m behind 110-0


    I did play something called “Spoons” with my friends Christmas morning. Involved being the first to get 4 cards of same number and grabbing a spoon. Once first person grabs everybody else does. The spoonless get a “letter”….blood. Sport.

  • Amy Conley says:

    LOL games are NOT allowed in this house, specially for me, but because of me also. I play to win, and it doesn’t matter if we are playing Go Fish or Trival Pusuit, I play towin! Sometimes they will break down on my birthday and play something with me. After the first time my hubby saw me play cards with my mother he knew were my competitive edge came from. Now if we are both in the same house, hubby has something he just has to do someplace else.