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Friday, January 02, 2009

young year, old dog

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I like the way 2009 is starting.
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Against my wishes, I learned a new game, Settlers of Catan. Theoretically, I think board games are good for developing young minds to think, and plan strategies. But not the ones I grew up with: Chutes and Ladders, Chinese Checkers and Sorry, which are just for fun - all that slipping and sliding and stealing. I missed developing thinking skills partly because I didn't play strategy games like Monopoly and Chess. So now, at age 52, learning a new game feels like going ice fishing with nothing but a sewing needle to chip through the ice.
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Christmas week I felt unsociable avoiding Catan, but after all, only 4 could play, and I was a 5th wheel. Too bad, so sad. But this week, my sister Ginnie is here (YAY!), Lesley and Brian are gone (BOO!), and there are exactly four of us. Rats. No more excuses. So the other night I fought the delicious temptation to go to bed and sleep at 7:30 (I'm becoming my mother) and at around 7:45 sat down at the kitchen table to learn the intricacies of Catan, feeling dull and resistant. Why do games have to be part of holiday family time?
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About a half hour into game setup and Peter's lyrical instructions, I started waking up. Suddenly it was 9pm, the game was rolling, and I was eager to build settlements and buy roads. I've lost count of how many times we've played Catan since then. I am currently fantasizing how to set up the board differently to get more ore and wool.-
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Today is January 2nd and I've learned something new that I didn't want to one little bit. It's a good way to start the year. Maybe next time Don explains how something like electricity works I'll have a crochet hook for chipping through the thick ice of my brain.

49 comments:

VioletSky said...

Like you I didn't grow up with board games or cards and find it disconcerting that holiday get togethers seem to include them as I always feel out of sync not knowing how to play.

I had a friend who was into Dungeons and Dragons. We didn't see him for 3 years.

The only one I really loved playing was Trivial Pursuit.

Oliag said...

I have not heard of Settlers of Catan but it looks like a lot of fun to me! It looks like a game my niece and nephews would love....if I only could remember by next Christmas lol...This year we played Senior Moments - a gift -which I can only say is boring..and Scattagories- which everyone loves ...and dominos - which is everyones old/new favorite...I guess Christmas is the time for games!

Ruth said...

Sanna, I do like Trivial Pursuit, and I enjoyed Pictionary too, and Cranium, and a bunch of word type games. It's the board games that have to do with strategy that make me feel out of sync too.

Ruth said...

Now I'm curious, Oliag, if you grew up with board games like that.

shicat said...

Hi Ruth, We play Backgammon now and then. We used to play more often but my husband usually wins and I get too upset! When I play online I am the queen. I don't get it,no matter how I try, different approaches etc. he wins,even if I,oh,oh...cheat. You know,move a few extra spaces, take an extra turn, that kind of thing.Nothing that would suggest a character flaw no,no.Anyway It doesn't work. Maybe we'll play tonight!See what you've started. Hey, my new years resolution could be no more cheating?????

Ruth said...

Haha, Cathy, you are a bad bad girl. I've never played backgammon. Ok, we were just talking about this last night, Don and Peter were talking about people cheating at euchre on line. Is that why you're queen there? :D

Good luck tonight.

Anet said...

I've heard of this game a few times. I wonder what the recommended age requirement is... not that I follow that too closely for Noah, he does well with game above his age level.
We've been playing Civil War Stratego, it's a bit like chess. We also played yahtzee a few nights ago, Noah complained how boring it was all the way through it, even though he ended up winning.
I'm glad you learned a new game. Good for you Ruth, expanding your horizon!

Loring Wirbel said...

Catan is like Risk or some of those "Civilization" PC games - it can go on forever! It's fun every now and then, but it can get very tedious. I could never get into those multiplayer online games, since they can take over your life, like D&D. Did you know that actual banks have been established for people to trade virtual currency and goods for online games? Weird! There are also "job shops" in China where dozens of players play online games all day long so that they can earn virtual currency which they then trade in these banks. It is literally a multi-billion-dollar a year industry. Double-weird.

Karen said...

I'm not a big fan of board games - unless they move really fast. I have "ants in my pants" and if I have to wait for 3 other people to think about their move, I'm zoning about something totally different than the game! My family always plays games during get-togethers, so I'm the one who takes a nap on the couch. :)

Sandy said...

hahahah, you sound like me!! But yet, you jumped in and learned it. I would have been hiding out still.

Fun post!

photowannabe said...

I'm not into the board games much either. I just can't seem to plan ahead and anticipate.
We did play Rummy Cube on New Years Eve. Had a good time and I even won twice...
Glad you stuck with it.
(:0)

Christina said...

I have never heard of this game before. Hmm...I really do love board games. ; )

Ruth said...

Hi Anet, the age recommendation is 10+, so I think Noah would enjoy this. It isn't that it's hard, my brain is just a little old to take on new tricks.

How cool that you found a Civil War game for Noah!

You can tell him that Yahtzee is more my speed. Wanna play?

Ruth said...

Loring, I think our longest game was maybe 3 hours. Yeah, that's a long time. Being in vacation mode, this total throwing away time this way.

No! I didn't know about the virtual banks and virtual currency, and all that. Geeeez.

Ruth said...

Hi Karen! We've been talking about that actually. One example is that my son plays fast, and the rest of us old fogies play slower. Also I wanted to keep the bank so I could train myself to get faster at handing out cards. I think it drives him crazy, because he hands them out so much faster. :D

Ruth said...

Yay, Sandy! I did go to bed last night while the other 3 played anodder game.

Ruth said...

Oh Sue, I love that game and haven't played it in forever. In fact a lot of games have been brought up that I forgot about.

Ruth said...

Hi Christina, you should check it out. I think your kids would like it too, and then you will get addicted like us.

Then I'll say SORRY.

Donica said...

I love board games...even play them on my computer :)

It looks like fun! Maybe we can play the next time I come see you and Don...and maybe Peter, Lesley and Bri will also be there, that would be fun.

Happy New Year!

rauf said...

Thankfully fun filled board games were not there in Ireland and Scotland, perhaps we would have missed the best of literature. Winter keeps you indoors. All they had to do is sit think and write. i can stay indoors doing nothing when i have the option of going out. if i don't have the option, that is the time i run. You already have many options and the TV is the worst of them. Instead of migrating and escaping you have found several ways to deal with winter Ruth. This board game is most welcome. but like children you will get bored with it very fast like any computer game. i am not intelligent and i am lazy Ruth and i don't want to tax my coconut. Its resting always. You would be frustrated if you try to teach me and at the end of the day i would ask you who are these settlers and why are they settling. You'll feel like pouring a bucket of water on me.

so NOT cool said...

For some reason, I am always reluctant to sit down to a new (to me) game. This does sound fun and nicely addicting though. I've never heard of it before. To Google!

Ruth said...

Donica, oh dear, you are a good game player. I will be afraid of you, but it would be fun to get beat by you. I think it will be just you and Don and me, but the game is bestest with 3 players I think.

I hope you're getting rested before Amsterdam.

Ruth said...

Oh, you make a good point, rauf. There are many distractions to writing. I know if I were serious I would write every day, and not just for a blog. But there's always something else to do, usually on the computer. Imagine people in other centuries with access to information like this.

I love how Ireland's heroes are writers.

Same as you and games, you would try to teach me about camera settings and don't think it would stick. In fact that's already true.

Ruth said...

Hi, Jodi, welcome! Try it, see what you think. We don't even play games most of the year, just when the kids come home, and suddenly we do little else. We're lucky to get dinner on the table. I'm glad you stopped by.

Amy said...

Ahh always looking for a board game for the next family get together (we're sort of big on them:) This one is definitely worth a look into! love the colorful shot Ruth:)

Babs (Beetle) said...

Christmas is a time for games. We played a few this year. One was just like Pictionary but instead of drawing you use playdoh. That was fun. Another game we play (not a board game) every year is our own invention. It's hand crafted and we have a trophy for the winner to keep until the following Christmas, when it gets passed on to the new winner.

Ruth said...

Amy, let me know if you get it. I'd like to chat and see if y'all like it.

Ruth said...

Babs! Does it take longer with Playdoh?

Funny you would mention the hand made game. We were talking about making a ceramic version of Catan.

Oh dear, I think we're obsessed.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Funny thing about the connection of Christmas and Games.. but that's a good thing .. people are together, in the same room, communicating... and perhaps laughing...

Rauf is pretty funny, as always..

at least we are giving the computers a break and going back to our old way of having fun... it just opens more doors...

and it is true.. Old dogs can learn new tricks.. it has to be or there is no hope for any of us...

Lori said...

I love board games but have never heard of this one. I would like to try it. Isn't it interesting how we resist then when we try something the new experience is so engaging?

Ruth said...

Hi Gwen! Yes, I guess the thing to figure out is what games work for the most people. Wow there are so many out there, and they're expensive too, so trying something could be a risk (haha, we used to play that one a long time ago).

There are other kinds of fun games too. Like going to a museum with kids and heading first for the gift shop. Let them pick out 5 art post cards with the intention of finding those pieces of art in the museum.

I think it's very important to show children that learning can be fun.

Ruth said...

Hi Lori! Watch out for addiction. Now that my sister is leaving today after a few days with us, we'll probably put it away finally.

Yes, there's an important lesson about not resisting new experiences all the time.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Max's favourite board games are still Monopoly and Risk...

Do you suppose he has an underlying desire to take over the world? haha...

He does love the computer Civilization games as well... I don't know how he keeps them straight... He doesn't play them online too much tho..

Peter said...

Normally, I prefer nice conversations rather than games, but there are moments when a game is welcome - especially in nice company! The problem may be that you get "caught"! :-))

Don said...

Ruth, you have become quite a dominant settler. I think you have won four out of the last five games!

Watch out for those who claim to be strategy challenged!!

laura said...

I love the look of this game board: very intriguing.
My family never played games, board or any other kind (the idea of participating in charades makes me ill); I don't know any card games.
We talked, and, if we didn't feel like talking, were still.

Susan said...

I love thinking games, but I'm not a very good strategist. I would love to try this one though. It looks very intriguing. We used to play Rook with David's cousin and wife and it took me years to figure out what I was doing. I mean, come on, I'm a fairly intelligent person, but it just escaped me until one day my brain just went ding,ding,ding,ding! And I got it.

Hate Monopoly. Love Trivial Pursuit (head is full of otherwise useless information), Scrabble and Taboo. I want to learn your new game, if only to challenge my brain.

Ruth said...

Susan, I grew up playing Rook too - just a Christian version of poker or some such game, maybe a combo of Spades and Hearts, I dunno.

It's funny, after all these days of playing Catan (Don just put it away after I got home from taking my sister to the airport), I was reading that Henry James book again, and my mind felt like I'd gotten some cobwebs out!

Yippee!

I'll enjoy the clearing while it lasts.

Ruth said...

Gwen, I have often felt weird playing Risk, though we haven't played it in years, for that very reason.

Good that Max doesn't sit with those online games too long. They are so very addicting from what I hear.

Ruth said...

Peter, conversation is so nice. But sometimes I get caught in those too!

Ruth said...

Don, that's part of the strategy, shhh. Lower expectations first.

Ruth said...

Wow, Laura! NO games. I smiled at what you wrote about charades.

Being still is a concept many have lost, I'm afraid. I ain't one who lost it though.

Ginnie said...

You did certainly get the hang of it, Sister. So did I. That felt good to see us holding our own against the guys! :)

Ruth said...

Boots, it was nice to be competetive, something I'm not used to. Funny how your building blocks were the color of your hair.

Moi said...

haha! I did play some chess while growing up only coz this male cousin said somethign on the lines of "girls dont have brains to play chess"!!!! the cheek!!! we never got along ever since, not coz of his remark but coz he never won another game against me !!!!! :)))

I honestly dont know what settlers of catan is like but one game i have always loved using my wits for is Scrabble....

here's to you, the game you learnt (finally) and new learnings in 2009 :)

Ruth said...

Moi, you really packed a lot into that comment - a big slice of male-female relations.

I love Scrabble too. I wanted to play it with my sister, but Catan took all our time.

Maybe Don and I need to get the board out again. Scrabble I mean.

Expat Traveler said...

Oh sounds like a great game! Look at all of those comments!

Ruth said...

Hi Expat, nice to see you! Since you traveled all the way here, wanna play?

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