February 24, 2008


I grew up in a house full of gamers. I live in a house full of gamers, yet I very seldom find myself interested in participating. I have my immediate family intimidated when they want to play Scrabble because they think that I have a large vocabulary and would dominate the game. I do enjoy popping in to give someone a hand to create a word with some hard to use letters, occasionally. This always helps to further the myth and I can then escape to the computer or watch a hockey game instead. Over the years, I have been subjected to learning bridge, playing Trivial Pursuit (some degree of intimidation involved here, too), Cranium, charades, poker and most recently, Wizard and Kaiser. I get dragged kicking and screaming, so as to provide a "fourth," but in most cases, I'm marking time until game's end. My mother in law was visiting recently, and she and the rest of the family played, mostly board games, constantly for a week. The shrieks of laughter could not entice me to join.

In a few weeks, we are going to Hawaii with friends who are committed (and perhaps should be) card game players and so there seems to be this excitement about long nights on the lanai, libations in bulk and games into the wee hours. I haven't shared this dream as I would prefer all of the above, except the games, and with the addition of some star gazing and world problem solving, made easier by an extra dram or two of grape juice. Our friends came over last night for some practice runs of Wizard and as always, great hilarity ensued with appropriate amounts of wine, Baileys, Glayva, bragging and complaints about questionable dealing. By midnight, a Wizard had been crowned and it seemed we should continue on to something else - discussions of sailing, snorkeling and surfing would have been my preference, until someone mentioned "euchre." Oh, thought I, that might be alright, as I recalled countless nights around the dining room table as a child, watching my parents and aunts and uncles playing this same game until dawn. Much rowdiness, thumping of table and loud friendly banter, along with suggestions of "table talk" danced through my mind. A quick review of the rules and a few practice rounds soon resulted in the boys against the girls and a thorough routing of the female contestants for several games running. OK, two in a row.

There seems to be general agreement about the appeal of euchre with its speed and built in competitiveness contributing to the merriment, the battle of the sexes and the ever increasing need to make the game best of three and then five and then seven and by 2 AM, the women had had enough and wouldn't allow us boys to try and reclaim our natural and rightful place at the top of the food chain by trying to increase it to, best of 11. We'll get them in Hawaii, after all we're only down a couple of games.

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