You’re invited to game night!
When: Friday March ______, 7 PM to 11 PM
If I meant for this to say 7PM to Just Before Dawn, it would say so. It says 11PM. Thus 10:30 is not an appropriate time to start a game of Settlers: Cities and Knights or Agricola or Dominion for that matter. You see, my children will stay up until most of you go home. It is too noisy to go to sleep when all of you are here, and I have to deal with them tomorrow morning. The two of you may get to go home to your cat, sleep late, and then make love until noon, but I will have a child bouncing on my bed at 7:30 AM demanding food. I also have to try to get two of them to swim lessons by 9:00. I recognize that you don’t understand my lifestyle choices, and you think I am a total downer for letting my kids get in the way of our fun, but do me a favor, when the clock strikes 11:00 pretend you’re Cinderella and flee.
Where: Our home
We are so glad you are coming to visit. While we love a relaxed atmosphere, and don’t feel the need to try to impress you with our stuff, I really don’t like to have to ask you not to set your beer on our piano, but I will do so if I must. And even if your LARP adventuring party has decided to burn the Sorcerer out of his fortress, it is still not appropriate to set fire to the back of our house.
May we bring guests? Yes
We love it when you bring extra people to game night. Nothing is better than having our home stuffed to the gills with people laughing and having a great time playing games. However, there are a three people we would appreciate it if you did not bring with you:
1. The Over-thinker:
It really doesn’t take 20 minutes to figure out if you should play a road or build a settlement. Remember, nothing is at stake in your choice; world peace does not hang in the balance. That is why we play games. Unlike the real world, if you make the wrong choice it doesn’t matter and you get a do-over the next time you play. So just play already!
Please don’t misunderstand, I don’t mind people coming to game night and ending up not playing games. Sometimes a juicy discussion around whether or not Star Trek: Generations is worse than Star Wars: Episode I is just too good to pass up. However, if, for instance, I am looking for two more players to round out a game of Fluxx or Dixit, please don’t let me hear you say, “I don’t play games.” Talk Night is down the street.
3. The Game Slug:
This person comes in many different varieties all with the same result. Games played with this person take 20% longer than they should. Whether it is leaving for a snack and never returning or going to the bathroom one person before their turn, this person knows the precise art of making a great game boring for everyone else at the table. One growing and disturbingly common species of a Game Slug are those who won’t take “no” for an answer while trading resource cards in a Catan game. “No” means “No”! Now let’s get on with the game.
Are children welcome? Yes
Actually I am too polite to say, “It depends,” but it depends. If you are willing to supervise your children and help them stay calm and entertained while in our home, they are very welcome. We will have games for them. Recently however, after everyone has left there have been a couple of instances in which I have had to pry my children out from under our bed along with the cat. It takes a while for a child’s hair to quit standing on end and for their fingernails to retract so be considerate.
Next, your children are welcome, if you recognize that Game Night is not your child’s babysitter. When both of you are coming you might want to discuss who will be the designated parent for the evening. Similar to a designated driver who must avoid alcohol, the designated parent must avoid consuming certain games. This person should not be allowed to play a deep-thinking strategy game or RPG which will keep them from hearing their children crying or taking care of their diaper. They must remain alert. Constant vigilance!
Finally, you are welcome to bring your children if, when you get ready to leave, you are observant enough to notice that my child’s room looks like a typical episode of Hoarders, and that it was not so when you arrived. Saturday morning is pick-up time in our home, and my children can fall into serious episodes of grief after a game night when we as a family are left to clean up after your kids. In return for your consideration, I promise we will try to help out when we come to your game night.
Should we bring snacks? Yes
Alcohol and snacks of all types are most welcome at game night. However, there are two exceptions.
1. Overly Greasy Finger Foods:
I have been known (true story) to hand close friends diaper wipes and ask them to wipe down a deck of cards which has become too greasy from snacks. If you don’t want this to happen to you: A. don’t become my close friend, and B. don’t bring greasy snacks to game night. (No, I will not put all my cards in card sleeves, because I can’t shuffle them in sleeves. Even if I did, I would still ask you to wipe down the card sleeves, because I am not going to re-sleeve my Dominion cards every time the sleeves get dirty!)
2. Anything with Artificial Orange Simulated Cheese-like Substance on it:
Nothing ruins a great deck of cards like Cheetos. I understand, I like them too, but not at game night. If you don’t want me handing you a diaper-wipe for every little coin, token and plastic piece in Super Dungeon Explore then leave the Doritos and the Cheetos home. Besides, anything you make is better than something made by a multinational corporation. Why not consider bringing something you made yourself instead? We love homemade cookies.
May we bring our own games? Yes
Actually, that answer should read, “define what you mean by game.” Here I will refer you to Liu’s Law of board games, so named for the great GeekDad board game reviewer Jonathan Liu. Liu’s Law of Board Games states: In order to be a true game, the game must have significant choices to make which affect the outcome of the game.
If the game you are bringing is almost all based upon luck without real choices, it doesn’t count as a game. To be safe, bring games by any of the following companies: Mayfair, Rio Grande, Days of Wonder, Asmodee, AEG or Z-Man Games. Most games from Hasbro or Parker Brothers should be left home.
We are looking forward to seeing you Friday!
…and beating you so badly at Carcassone your head will swim!