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March 11, 2014 / Jett

Board Game Memories of Yesteryear

Though I may consider board games to be a new endeavour for me, when I really think about it, they entered my life in a meaningful way long before I got tricked into showing up for Dominion night. From the time I was in kindergarten up until grade 6, there were a handful of moments and phases where board games left a positive impression on my life that I somehow forgot.

The first game I remember playing and enjoying was Snakes and Ladders. Even though the game was wholly chance-based, as a 5-year-old, I had a great time playing it with my parents. I credit it as being my introduction to the board game scene.

The first board game I remember owning was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Pizza Power Game. I’m foggy on the details, but my gut says I pestered my parents to buy it after randomly passing by it at a toy store. I didn’t remember much about the game other than the blue see-saw thing. In combat, you’d have to flip the dice into certain slots further down the see-saw as a means of deciding who wins the fight. I do remember loving it at the time, though I’m not sure now if it was because of the Ninja Turtles tie-in or because it was a legitimately good game. If you’re interested in seeing how it actually worked, I found this video that you can watch. At the very least, it was a step towards something more complex.

Things peaked when my friend Gandhi started collecting board games. He and his family would pick up cheap games at garage sales. I think by the end of it, he must have had a few dozen that we at least played once. During the summer, which was prime board game time for us, we’d spend our days getting slushies at the convenience store, then set up shop on a picnic table to play a board game. The three that stand out for me were Risk, some random golf game and Fireball Island. Risk is clearly a classic, as it continues to be a presence on store shelves. Fireball Island was quite the sight to behold during its heyday. The game featured a giant board made of molded plastic, along with strategically placed marbles that represented fireballs that could stop treasure hunters dead in their tracks. To this day, I wish I could remember the name of the golf game because it was awesome. I only remember reading on the box that it was manufactured in my home town, but that’s about it.

Once I hit middle school, our days of tabletop gaming ended and we moved onto other interests. I think that a lot of it came from our interest in video games. It also probably had a lot to do with us growing into an age where everything was either too kiddy or too nerdy. I can’t say that I necessarily regret falling out of the medium, as I had no means of discovering more age-appropriate games and board games as a whole just weren’t cool in my social circles back then. But as things really ramp up now with a larger number of mass appeal games with cool mechanics, I think I’m jumping back in at a great time.

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