Review Of: Board Games


The Game of Life:

You could be a winner at the Game of Life.” …Not necessarily true, my friends. Because I am an annoying hipster and because I admire all things retro, I bought a vintage copy of “The Game of Life” a few years back, and I would play it with my hipster dates in Manhattan. And let me tell you… “Life” is like life. It’s all over within the first ten moves. Yay pessimism!

Basically, what happens is, you move your little car thing ten squares, and then you hit the Career Square, where you can choose whether you want to enroll in college, or can just skip college completely. (…I, um, highly recommend going; mostly for the Life University freshmen honeys, know what I’m saying?) And then, after that, you get your Career Card, which determines what fake job you will have for the rest of your fake “Life.”

So if you’re, say, a “lawyer,” you make $120,000 every payday, whereas if you’re an “artist” — for example, if you have a Master’s Degree in creative writing and work for a website — then you make $30,000. And that’s it. The game is over right there. No amount of landing on “Win the lottery” squares or “Go to the hospital and pay the doctor” squares can overcome this gigantic disparity in salaries. Lawyer wins, Artist loses. Good stuff! Hey, I wish someone had handed me the Game of Life when I was busy choosing my undergrad major of “English Literature with a minor in Classical Literature and Languages.” …That’s sort of a joke — but really, it isn’t.

Anyway, during this phase when I was reexamining “The Game of Life,” I would occasionally convince my dates to play “Strip Life” in order to liven things up. …During my adulthood, I have actually played Strip Poker, Strip Life, Strip Uno, Strip Trivial Pursuit, Strip Risk: The Game of Global Conflict (very boring), Strip Connect Four, but for some reason, not Strip Yatzhee (a shocking oversight). [1] “Strip Trivial Pursuit” was my favorite—

Oh no — I’m sorry, ‘Manifest Destiny’ is not an album by The Cure, but rather is a term for the Western expansion of the United States during the 19th century. Okay, so — show me your tits now, baby.” …Ah, good times; good times.

Grade: B-plus


I didn’t like “Simon.” I didn’t know any kids in my neighborhood named Simon, but whenever I played this game — which involved pressing brightly colored buttons in the order that a rude and annoying computer told you to press them — I always imagined a kid; a kid with thick glasses and a bowl cut and a blue-and-red striped shirt and an English accent and a calculator in his acid-washed jeans pocket, and this kid was always really, really good at the game “Simon,” which I sucked at. And oh, how I hated this imaginary kid.

There were certain childhood activities that I just never mastered, and never will master. For example: I could never get further than pressing three buttons on “Simon” without it emitting a nasty electronic “Wah-Wah” losing noise; and in the same way, I could never get further than three rungs on the “Monkey Bars” on the playground without collapsing into a heap of humiliated rumble in the dirt below. I’ll be honest with you, failing at the Monkey Bars always bothered me — that was a significant moment, and meant that you had to make the long slow walk of shame back to the Jungle Gym while trying to be all like “I don’t care; fuck the Monkey Bars.”

…But failing at Simon, on the other hand, well, I could deal with that. I mean… if you were good at “Simon,” what would that signify, anyway? That you were a cyborg? That you would make a good lab rat? That you were ready for an exciting new career in pressing things and making sounds?

Grade: F

Trivial Pursuit:

… Here’s the thing. Either way with this game, you look dumb. If you answer the question correctly because you actually know that Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and the 24th president of the United States, then you look like a big loser nerd for carrying that information around in your overstuffed brain. If you don’t know the answer, then you’re a retarded idiot. Plus, I win this game every time I play it, which sadly puts me in the first category. So maybe the rest of you can stop playing now.

Grade: C-plus


Playing the board game “Othello” is not a good substitute for actually reading the Shakespearian play “Othello.” I used to be an English major, so I know.

For example:  “Mr. Miller, would you care to explore the themes of alienation and race within the play itself?” “…Sure. …So, uh, there was like, this guy — Othello. And he was, like, surrounded? By white circles? And the circles represented, like, rage? And that like, flipped him. Flipped him over. Flipped him out. But then, once he got flipped, we learned that… we learned that like, everyone is black and white. But like, on different sides.” “…Please sit down now, Mr. Miller.”

Grade: D-plus. Dude? D-plus? That’s like… a sucky grade.


Ah, “Monopoly.” This game harkens back to a simpler time — a time when “a monopoly” was considered to be a good thing and not, say, something that caused tickets to rock concerts to cost seventy-five dollars or American cars to be built really badly. Plus, the Scottie Dog. The game has a Scottie Dog.  There you go. …There’s probably some ‘Scooby-Doo’-esque personality-test game [2] where you can break people down based on what Monopoly tokens they choose: like, for example, “Racecar” people are intense and crave excitement; “Top Hats” are only in it for the money; “Flat Irons” are level-headed and sensible; “Scottie Dogs” love to piss all over you; “Thimbles” are confused and probably gay…

Anyhow, man, what a great game. The best thing is, you get $200 just for passing “Go.” I wish stuff like this happened more often in real life. The only comparison I can think of in real life is when you wake up in bed and someone has made you coffee and breakfast and maybe you get some oral sex out of the deal. Just for waking up!

Plus, since I’ve never taken a class in Economics or in Business, pretty much all I know about the world of high finance is what I learned from the game “Monopoly.” My business philosophy can thus be summarized as follows: buy things that are the same color, put houses on them, don’t go to jail. But if you try to talk about stuff like this during a potential job interview, for some reason, they call security.

Grade: A-minus Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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image – Monopoly

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