Let the Games Begin!

20 Jan

We’ve been doing themed holiday gift-giving in our household for a few years now, mostly because I never know what to get CityBoy (other than the odd non-fiction book or documentary DVD – what do you get for the guy who already has all the gadgets and doohickies he wants?). And because the holidays are so expensive, what with all the traveling, dinner dates, and family gift-giving, we usually impose a $25 gift limit on each other.

Last year, it was a CVS Holiday Season in which all of our celebratory presents came from our neighborhood CVS Drugstore. We were traveling to California, so I got CityBoy an assortment of travel must-haves, including hand sanitizer on a clip (for his backpack), travel tissues (unfortunately – or fortunately – I think I used most of those up), and the latest issue of New York Magazine for the plane. I got a travel brush/mirror and a monster jar of Twizzlers (this was in deference to my pathological love of Red Vines, which of course are impossible to find in Manhattan – what is it with you people??).

This year was Game Year. We didn’t have much at home in terms of board games, besides CityBoy’s old Othello set, which I don’t understand how to play, and a Scrabble set, which we can’t play for fear of destroying the very fabric of our relationship, so it seemed like a great idea.

So far, we’ve played with two of our gifts, with mixed results.

My first pick for CityBoy was Blokus, the travel version, which is a nifty little game for those 5 and up (yay, me!). It looks a lot like Tetris (cue the soul-sapping pre-sleep mental block-moving), with the two players taking turns laying down their blocks on the snap-on game board. The name of the game is to block the other person from laying down any more blocks while putting down as many of your pieces as possible.

bring it!

As you’ve probably already guessed, it involves a lot of strategizing, which I suck at. A lot. So our first night of game play involved a lot of name-calling, mostly by me, about CityBoy’s “a-hole” moves, and shoving, again mostly by me.

I know, I should be a better sport. I’m trying. I swear.  But my brain just doesn’t really comprehend strategizing. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a “claim it or die trying” household, where our sibling fights were resolved by whoever was the meanest, toughest, or most bite-y (special props to my kid sister on this front: the rest of us have permanent bite marks somewhere on our bodies). CityBoy grew up in a proper household, where people used…words. Sheesh.

I managed to improve upon my opening score throughout the night, point by measly point, without ever beating CityBoy. He’s a little afraid to play me again though. Which, I will admit, is somewhat consoling to me.

Our second Game Night  ended with much better results, though, by the time we finished building our game set (yes, building), I didn’t have much energy to actually play. That will have to be for another night.

But this pick was CityBoy’s and look what he got me!?!?! An ‘Arry Friggin’ Potter Lego set! So awesome.

Of course we had to put the whole thing together from about a million pieces. I kept wondering how the heck parents are supposed to help their kids put this together without losing about half of the pieces.

We took turns building the components, following the surprisingly simple Lego instruction booklet. Here’s CityBoy laying the understructure for the castle:

that's a lot of little pieces, my friend

And the Divination Room (so cute, right??):

Here’s the tiny playing pieces. The colored student-pegs represent each House and the three little gray guys are Harry, Ron and Hermione. I’m pointing at Harry, who has teeny, tiny glasses and a microscopic red zig-zag scar.

they look so much bigger on the box

And…drum roll please…here’s the finished castle.


It’s so frigging cute, I want to leave it on display even when we’re not playing it. CityBoy shot me a “wow, you’re even weirder than I thought” look and tucked it back into its box until we find the energy to actually play. Which involves you and your opponents moving through the castle (complete with moving staircases!), trying to collect all your homework and whatever miscellaneous items you need along the way, before racing back to your respective Common Rooms. Can’t wait!

We have one last game to try, but that will have to wait until after Super Bowl Weekend, most likely, as CityBoy is currently obsessed with America’s winter pastime. I’ve even been watching the odd play here and there. Those guys are nuts. But don’t let me get started on that. Once we’ve played the last game, I’ll let you know how it went. It was my second pick, and I was won over by that age-old childhood exclaim: “You’ve sunk my battle ship!” Yup. It’s on.


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