board game nirvana

My fellow board gaming nerds will love this big news. There’s a new Monopoly token. One of the less popular tokens was replaced with a shiny new design. The iron is out. I never really liked the iron anyway. Or the shoe. Maybe if it were a cute shoe. But the shoe was what you had to be if all the other tokens were already taken. Oh, and the thimble. Who wants to be the thimble? Get ready for this fresh choice. The shiny new token is a cat.

Monopoly cat token

That cat looks awesome. He’ll be appearing in the new edition later this year. I am going to be on that cat so fast it will make the wheelbarrow spin.

Why do I love old-school board games so much? Not just because I have serious affection for everything old-school. Board gaming has always been one of my fave activities. I grew up playing Monopoly, Sorry!, Parcheesi, Clue, and the rest of the classics with my friends. That was back in the day before we had screens to stare at other than the TV. There’s something so nostalgic and happy about playing board games. Every time I play one, that warm fuzzy feeling comes rushing back.

That’s why I’m a grownup who belongs to a board gaming group. Not just any board gaming group. My group is hardcore. These guys play games I’d never even heard of. My fave is probably Asara. You get to build castles. As a Sometimes Princess, I appreciate the castle theme. I also love Puerto Rico and Settlers of Catan. Here’s Settlers in action:

Settlers of Catan

These games take about three hours to play. Which is nothing compared to what a lot of the hardcore gamers play. They’ll spread out these elaborate boards that take up five tables with a dazzling array of pieces, cards, figures, puzzles, shards with magic powers…and one game will take like seven hours to play. These games require serious commitment. They require snack breaks. Lighting effects have even been known to occur.

So you can understand that most of these guys scoff when my friend Stephen busts out The Climbers:

The Climbers

Climbers is such a cute game. It’s not a board game, but we sneak it in before we get a group together for the main action. You have to use full blocks, half blocks, and ladders to be the highest guy standing at the end. The game ends when it’s impossible for anyone to get any higher. Of course I had to document the first time I played Climbers and won. My guy is the light blue one on the right. He is only a half block above the next highest guy. That was a tight game.

Sometimes in the park or wherever I’ll see little kids glued to their electronic devices who can’t even look up for three seconds to take in the world around them. It makes me sad. Sad that they’re not connecting with the Now. Sad that they’re missing all the real world action happening around them. It makes me sad to think that, by the time they’re teens, playing an old-school board game may be reduced to some archaic ritual their parents remember from back in the day.

I’ve made a pact with myself to do everything I can to encourage old-school activities. A winter night in playing Monopoly, drinking hot chocolate with extra marshmallows, and talking to friends in real life instead of through a screen might seem boring. But being fully present in the Now and connecting to people in an authentic way are two things we should do every day.

And if kids are reluctant to turn away from the screen? There’s always a shiny new cat token to shake things up.

12 thoughts on “board game nirvana

  1. OMG so my grandma brought the Settlers of Catan from Germany, when she came to visit us in California, and we loved it…at first haha! It got SO competitive sometimes SO competitive that I would get so upset, it just completely ruined the game for me haha.

    But the new Monopoly piece looks awesome!! I’m just so glad they didn’t take out the car! That’s the one my little brother and I fight over haha

    To all the fellow Game Board Nerds!! May we unite!

    Mandy (The Romance Bookie)

    • Board gaming is way less fun when people are competitive. I was often competitive in my younger years. But I hated being that way. Now I like to kick back and enjoy the ride…and laugh at myself when I’m losing horribly. That said, it was pretty sweet to win at Settlers the first time I played with a hardcore group of Settler addicts 😉

  2. Love Monopoly! I have to be the dog though, anything else messes with my mojo. My older sister actually likes being the shoe. Go figure.

  3. Aww, I voted for the iron to stay and for the guitar to be the new one. I wish they’d have gotten rid of that stupid shoe. It’s ugly. But I liked the iron!

    At least the kitty is cute. That was my second choice.

    I don’t play a lot of board games. I like Scattegories and Taboo and sometimes Catchphrase. But I do have friends who play those seven hour fantasy games. And I knew of a game of Risk that went on for days and days.

    The funny thing is that we have a HUGE pile of board games. But no one to play them with.

    • Totally hear you on the pile of board games with no one who wants to play. Before I found my group on Meetup, I was all mopey that none of my friends were into gaming. Now I’m part of a stone cold group of weirdos and I’m loving it.

      The guitar would have ROCKED.

  4. My friend was so excited when she saw the cat. She is a HUGE cat lover. I love technology but nothing compares to physical conversations and boardgames (that are not apps). I hate seeing little kids on iPhones and iPods. They are not experiencing what teens and adults have experienced. I love that you are part of a boardgame group.

    • I’m a cat person too (who is also into puffy little dogs and French bulldogs), and am loving this new token. That said, it would have been interesting to see how the guitar played out. Maybe Monopoly will bring us another upgrade. I don’t think the thimble is really doing it for anyone.

  5. Me and my family are huge board game fans too! We love Settlers, its different than others and definitely gets your competitive juices flowing. We also have Ticket to Ride, it is a BLAST! If you haven’t played you need to, its definitely one of my favorites!! 🙂

  6. I actually always used to be the thimble! I had a computer version of it, lol, and it made a cool clicking sound when it moved. But I still have the regular board game version of it and also Boggle and some others.

    In college we would play Settlers, too!

    • Settlers is way more popular than I thought! There’s even a board gaming group exclusively for Settlers. That’s where I documented my Settlers game in the above photo. It was a cool experience with everyone taking over the entire upstairs of Cosi, all playing the same game.

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