New game a winner

It is hard to find games that various members of Team Roberts like to play.  In fact, pleasing everyone on a game is about as challenging as pleasing everyone on a meal.  These kinds of things just don’t happen in our family.  It’s not that we don’t have a decent selection of games.  Just off the top of my head, I can think of these in the dining room drawer:

Cards (bridge, hearts, spades, and gin rummy)

Pinochle

Phase Ten

Uno

Swap

SET

Five Crowns

Quiddler

Blink

Wizard

. . . and these in the playroom:

Monopoly

Risk

Scrabble

Trail Blazer

Scrabble Up

National Geographic

Boggle

Perquackey

Rummikub

Tri-Bond

Scattergories

Probe

Hail to the Chief

Sequence

So, we have plenty of games, but for each of the 27 games listed above – and that’s not all of them, trust me – (“And there’s more!  For $29.95,  you get to organize all these games AND you get some a few MORE games; you only pay processing and handling.”)

Sorry.  Got carried away there.

As I was saying, no lack of games, but for each and every one, there is a finite positive number (integers ranging from one to five, inclusive) of family members who prefer not to play the game, intensely dislike the game, passionately abhor the game, and/or flat-out refuse to play the game.  Now that we’re down to an average of three family members in residence 73% of the time, one would think it would be easier to settle on a game, but alas, that would not be true.

After a fairly full day of (for one or more of us) a piano festival and recital, lunch at Subway, two rounds of frisbee golf, an amount of academic planning, time at the creek, the raking of an insane quantity of leaves (all from that pesky bottom corner of the back yard), the burning of said, and a fine supper conglomeration of leftover Subway from lunch and pizza baked to the specifications of our resident skink, Scott decided he wanted the three of us to play a game.  So, we started through our usual Q & A about who did or didn’t want to play what, and we just weren’t getting anywhere.  Andrew was doing the clean up, so Scott and I went into the playroom to survey the offerings yet again, and after eliminating a few games that we probably would have all liked well enough, but for which Andrew just didn’t have the breadth of life experience and knowledge to compete successfully, I spied the blue metal domino tin.

I don’t remember whether or not I’ve written about my domino issues, but they are fairly severe.  Playing with a partial set of dominoes is a lot like playing with a partial deck of cards; it just doesn’t work.  Not once, but twice I have purchased sets of dominoes that have been manhandled by who knows which kid(s) and dominoes have been lost.  It may have been our kids, but more likely it was life group kids who were stuck in the playroom and were bored and were looking at all those games are in there, and someone opened up the dominoes tin, and they were used more like Legos, and some got lost.  This is not a big deal, until one wants to play dominoes, so some months back, I bought a double twelve set in a nifty suitcase-looking silver box, and I hid them – and no, I’m not going to tell you where – so that when I want them, I can find them AND all the dominoes will be present and accounted for.

Standing in the playroom peering at the shelves under the white counter, I said to Scott, “How about we play dominoes?”  And thus the decision was made.  Being lazy, I asked Andrew, who had very nicely whipped through the three piled-up cleanups of the day, to go up and retrieve the metal suitcase of double-twelves.  Which he did.

And so we played.

This set was a “Mexican Train” set, a form of dominoes we had heard of, but had never played.  In fact, this set came with instructions for – are you ready? – SIXTEEN ways to play dominoes!  I thought that was overkill, for sure.  Glancing through the instructions, I saw the version Scott has had us play in the past.  It’s quite math-y, in that every time you place a domino, the total of all the ones on all the ends must total a multiple of five.  I can, of course, do this, but it makes my brain sweat, and after looking at my dominoes, realizing there are three that I could in theory play, running the calculations if I play the four-seven against the existing ten-four (seven plus eleven makes eighteen, plus eight is twenty-six, plus five is thirty-one, plus nine makes forty, but, oh! there’s another six down there, so shoot, I’d be at forty-six, which is not a multiple of five, so maybe I should play my eight-blank against that existing two-eight) I end up thinking, “Do I really want to work this hard to have fun?”

That version seems to be called “Muggins,” and I’m pretty sure it’s a version I will endeavor to avoid in the future.

“Mexican Train” was a lot easier and more fun, with just enough luck to give our Drama King opportunities to do his Black Mama imitation and just enough strategy to keep Scott engaged.  I won.  = )  Better still, there was no math involved at all until the very end, when one person played his final domino and the others had to add up how many spots they still had in their hands.  Low score wins, which, in a somewhat surprising turn of events, means that I won with the lowest absolute value!

We all three enjoyed “Mexican Train,” so I think it’s a keeper.

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1 Response to “New game a winner”


  1. 1 Katie November 17, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    I like Mexican Train too! Chances are Jo doesn’t, though. Can’t wait to play with you over Thanksgiving or Christmas.


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