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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Got Your Game Face On? - by Natalie Anderson

pic by Salvatore Vuono
 http://www.freedigitalphotos.net
It's the school holidays again here in New Zealand and Autumn has kicked in with a vengeance. In fact, it feels colder than winter at the moment! As an attempt to keep the kids entertained, I've hauled out the board games. I've been playing Snakes & Ladders with the four year old twins (they have a tendency to ignore the snakes altogether) and I've been playing some Candyland too - also Bingo and Monopoly with the older two.

But my favourite board game is perhaps the most famous board game of all - Chess - the game of kings. I love the challenge of it - the strategy, the thinking ahead... By the way, I'm absolutely hopeless at it, but that's beside the point! I pit my wits against my six year old and he wins every time (ok, I might maybe let him) ... but I like that you can have a game go on for ages and (because as I've already confessed, I'm pretty useless) have no idea how I'm going to get him...

I think chess has a mixed image in public perception - there's that whole genius geek angle (so not us) but I once read a newspaper brief about a love triangle at an international chess tournament - two young men came to fisticuffs at a nightclub after the day's play over one of the female players... that story made me smile and frankly is perfect fodder for the romance writer - I love that those 'geeks' were getting on down at a nightclub and letting emotions overrule any Spock-like tendencies they might stereotypically be supposed to have!!!

And chess frequently features in the flicks - the ultimate hero, Humphrey Bogart,  plays chess in Casablanca. It's in sci-fi movies (2001 A Space Odessey); kid's flicks (Aladdin; The Addams Family; Harry Potter), comedies (Ace Ventura Pet Detective - which also has a great example of a continuity error involving the chess board!), and of course, there are all those movies about chess and players themselves (like Searching for Bobby Fischer). But the best chess scenes to my way of thinking (that would be the romance writer way) in flicks are those sensual ones - the most famous one in the original Thomas Crown Affair featuring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway... but then Austin Powers spoofs this when he plays Russian model 'Ivana Humpalot'...

But I digress, because here we are, the kids and I curled up in front of the fire, surrounded by boxes and boards... filling in the hours while the wind and rain rattle the windows. I must admit it's very pleasant until one of the elder ones starts screeching because one of the four year olds has ignored the snake she just landed on again... and that's when I being to wonder about expanding our collection...


So here's my question for you today - do you have some hands-down favourite family board games that everybody loves to play? Share with me now and I'll random pick one commenter to win signed copies of my releases this month - in the US it is WALK ON THE WILD SIDE while in the UK THE END OF FAKING IT and may I say that in both books, there are some games played!!!!

EDITED TO ADD: the random prize has been drawn!!! Kristina Knight - can you please email me your snail mail address - to natalie (at) natalie-anderson (dot) com and I can get the books in the post to you! Thanks so much to everyone for stopping by to swap fave games today :)

And to keep up to date with my news, more giveaways (and random chess result reporting) be sure to connect with me on my Facebook page :)

32 comments:

Áine said...

I'm not matamatical enough for Chess but I do like to try my hand at it but will be defeated every time. Monopoly is a favourite in my house and I'm afraid I get into an awful huff when I'm in debt, paying taxes and landing on sites with exorbitant rents LOL. I play Frustration with the children in school a jazzed up version of Ludo. It's always a great hit. Recently I discovered 'Think Fun' games which are more puzzles than board games but great fun their most popular puzzle being Rush Hour.
Nothing better than board games on a wintry day.

Nas Dean said...

Hi Natalie,

There no one left to play. Daughter has grown up now and needs to study all the time. We used to play monopoly, Draghts and carom board before!

All the best for the release of WALK ON THE WILD SIDE!

runner10 said...

We don't play board games. We do enjoy a good game of cards especially UNO.

desere_steenberg said...

Hi Natalie,

My son and I play all kinds of board games but mostly we love to play snakes and ladders, trivial pursuit which is also educational as well as fun at the same time and our very favorite is The Mad Magazine game it is loads of fun and filled loads of laughs!

Thank you for a stunning post and thank you for the chance to win your book is sounds really unbelievable !

Take Care and all the best
Your Fan
Desere

ev said...

Yahtzee. I still play it online. And Uno. There's a couple other card games that I can't remember that we used to play all the time.

At 26, I think the only game my daughter plays now might be quarters. (JK)

Erin said...

I get embarrassingly competitive when playing games with my husband and parents. We enjoy dominoes a lot and typically play partners with the hubby and I versus mom and dad. It is all in good fun, even the trash-talking!!

Lil said...

We love monopoly and scrabble.

Kristina Knight said...

we've been playing a lot of Memory (matching game) - a 2 year old will do that to you - but I'm also teaching her some handed-down-in-my-family card games like Rummy, in which you have to have books (3 of a kind, same numbers) and runs (4 in a row, same suit).

chey said...

I haven't played many board games since I was a kid. I can't see the board.

Estella said...

There is no one left to play. We mostly played card games.

Natalie Anderson said...

Hi Aine! LOL about your huffing when you have to pay exorbitant rent in Monopoly - I can relate to that... I'll have to check out Frustration - never played Ludo but jazzed up sounds good!

Natalie Anderson said...

Hi Nas - great to see you here!! Hugs on your daughter being too busy now - but good for her for studying so hard... challenge her to a game after her exams maybe! (Or maybe just a celebratory dinner!)

Natalie Anderson said...

Hi runner10 - ooh yes, UNO is a big favourite round here too - is a good one because the littlies can join in with that one quite well!

Natalie Anderson said...

Hi Desere - lovely to see you here too :) I'll have to check out The Mad Magazine game - will scope for it online... think my wee ones are too little for Trivial Pursuit at the moment, but I remember my hubby and I playing that for ages years ago - good fun!

Natalie Anderson said...

Hi Ev - I can't believe I forgot Yahtzee! Great game - with you on the cards too :)

Natalie Anderson said...

Erin - sounds great - I never got beyond those toddler versions of dominoes with favourite storybook characters let alone playing it in a team version - will check it out!

Natalie Anderson said...

Lil - both are classics aren't they? I have a breast cancer fundraiser version of Scrabble - so the letters and board and stands are all pretty pink - my three daughters love it! Son and hubby... not so much ;)

Natalie Anderson said...

Kristina - Memory is a classic!!! (And so easy to make your own too) - won't be long now before you can get to Candyland and/or Snakes & Ladders and/or UNO - Rummy is fun too!

Natalie Anderson said...

Chey - get back to the board! ;) Board is fun, then again, reading books is also fun to do!!!

Natalie Anderson said...

Estella - hugs on no one left to play cards with you - I guess there's always Solitaire? Or online versions of the games... not quite the same though I guess... Mind you, I have friends who are identical twins who loved to play chess and they kept playing each other over the computer even when one was in New Zealand and the other living in Scotland for a while!!

Bron said...

Hi Natalie - when the whole extended family goes on holiday (me and my two sisters, husbands and kids - which we usually do once a year), on wet days we take huge gigantic jigsaws that usually take around 2-3 days for us to complete. Then when the kids are in bed the adults play Yahtzee! It becomes very competitive.

Natalie Anderson said...

Hi Bron!!! Oh yay, puzzles are fun - my MIL does those really hard Wasijig ones - they're beyond me, I'm better off with the kid's ones ;)

julian said...

Well, I'm not a sort of a person who loves to play chess, but my brother really loves to play it and he can play the china chess(called Xiang zhi).
Most of my childhood is spent to play monopoly, snake and ladder, Ludo,and scrabble.
I love Scrabble. You know we have to make a long word to get double and triple points. It's quiet changelling because It's not my mother language. I play it all over times with my students helps us to enrich our vocabulary.
Have you ever tried Boggle? I kind sort of challenge my students. And guess, they are very smart.
All teachers at school are crazy about word puzzle and cross word. Tough question if I may say it. We spend 20 minutes during break time to answer it.
If you ask me which my favourite board game, I'll say every games that have to do with English.

Melanie Milburne said...

Hi Natalie,
I am hopeless at Chess but I love board games. So many happy memories of being at our beach house when the kids were younger all playing Pictionary or Balderdash.
Thanks for the great post.

Natalie Anderson said...

Hi Julian - thanks for your comment!! I've not tried Boggle but think it could be good - about the right level for my older kids maybe... think that's fantastic about Scrabble too - it's great to be able to learn and have fun at the same time! :)

Natalie Anderson said...

Hi Melanie! Well honestly, I'm hopeless at chess too but I still enjoy it - I like to kid myself I'm getting better ;)
Pictionary is great fun - just need the 4 year olds to get that bit bigger! For now we're stuck with those snakes ;)

TashNz said...

Hi Natalie. Our household fave is always Game of Life! My 11 and 9 year old love it and it's my own one I bought for myself when I was 20 (15 years ago hahahahaha). I also loved playing it at friends houses when i was a child... it was quite exciting accumulating babies and getting married.

My 11 has just got herself a pamphlet run and she bought herself the electronic Guess Who last week... one of the game cards you can chose is from the "original" that I remember begging my mother for christmas when I was 8.

I LOVE Boardgames that have made a comeback! :))))

LaVerne Clark said...

Hehehe - Natalie, your post made me smile as I've been doing the same the last few days with my nine-year-old. We have to strategically get out the Monopoly board while my two-year-old is asleep though or we'd never get to play anything but Snakes and Ladders.

Our favourite is Uno. Awesome card game and sure beats being made bankrupt all the time by my son : )

Natalie Anderson said...

Hi Tash! Ooh, Game of Life - will add it to the list :) We have that version of Guess Who - some of the new style character boards are fun, huh?! But like you, I like the originals best :)

Natalie Anderson said...

Hi LaVerne - yes, it can be tricky balancing the demands of the elder and younger don't you think??? I feel like I need a nanny with me most days ;) Happily, hubby has a few days off at the moment and he's sharing the game load...

Natalie Anderson said...

It's random prize draw time!!! Kristina Knight - can you please email me your snail mail address - to natalie (at) natalie-anderson (dot) com and I can get the books in the post to you! Thanks so much to everyone for stopping by to swap fave games today :)

desere_steenberg said...

Thanks for a fun post Natalie and congratz to the winner!