My 7-year-old always wants to play something with me. It’s usually Zelda, which I’m no good at, sometimes it’s hide and seek, which he’s no good at, and sometimes it’s “surprise Daddy by jumping on his crotch.”
Needless to say, we need new games. And we’ve finally found some.
I’ve always loved playing board games.
I spent a lot of my childhood playing The Game of Life and Monopoly and Stratego and Trivial Pursuit and more, all despite being part of a family that never indulged my interests. Partially because they don’t like playing board games and partially because they don’t like playing board games with someone who takes them too seriously and is an obnoxious stickler about the rules.
But screw them! Now I have kids of my own to force into heated arguments over proper dice-rolling and not yelling out the answers unless it’s your turn! And one of those kids is finally ready to play.
Detective Munch has never been huge into board games, but I suspect that’s primarily because the only ones he’s ever played were Candyland and Sorry. That all changed a few weeks ago when we went to a brewery and they had a copy of Life (we never called it “The Game of Life” because THIS AIN’T NO GAME! and also it’s shorter.)
A favorite of mine growing up, I was excited to introduce him to it while I sampled a flight of local Brooklyn beers. He loved spinning the dial, pushing his little car, and mapping out a fantastical future in which he can actually afford a car, college, and a family. He was less enthused about eventually losing to Mom and Buried, who used the game as a way to explore the road less traveled, skipping college, and totally eschewing a husband (she married a woman) and any kids for a life of beach houses and discretionary income, much to the chagrin of her actual husband and kids.
Nevertheless, my son’s interest was stoked, and the timing couldn’t have been better. Because, as luck would have it, I’d just received “Monopoly Junior: Electronic Banking Edition,” a shorter, kid-friendly version of the famous board game that has caused plenty of family nights to end in scattered game pieces and tears.
Thankfully, our first foray into the world of Chance cards and capitalism avoided any board-flipping and tantrum-throwing, probably because I was nice and relaxed (thanks, flight of beers!). And probably because he won the game. In fact, Detective Munch straight-up dominated, his dice-rolling (more like dice-dropping, but whatever) paying off and allowing him to purchase nearly every property. He ruthlessly drained Mom and Buried’s coffers in no time, like a little Jared Kushner (minus the racism and law-breaking). She was driven to bankruptcy in a New York minute and the game was over just like that.
But he has a taste for it now, especially since the game has been updated for 2018 purposes. The “Electronic Banking Edition” eliminates the pesky ‘banker’ aspect that required math and converting what was once a stack of cash into a debit card. Every player gets a piece of plastic that corresponds with their game piece – the kid version includes a dog, a cat, a car and a boat – as well as a little electronic “banking unit” into which you insert your card and add or deduct rents accordingly.
Adding an electronic element was a great idea, because as any parent knows, if there aren’t some buttons to push, kids lose interest fast! The game also tweaks the board, shortening it considerably and changing the boring “adult” properties to things like “ice cream shop” and “skate park.” The only thing he didn’t like about the game was how quickly it was over.
The one drawback to his newfound interest in Monopoly and LIFE is that those aren’t games he can play alone, and his little brother is not yet interested in anything but repeatedly pushing the buttons on the banking unit. Which means Yours Truly is often drafted into service. Which is fine; like I said, I like board games. I just like them better when we play at a brewery!
I happen to have an extra copy of Monopoly Junior: Electronic Banking Edition to give away, so enter below for your chance to win!