Family Game Night

Ok, so it’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s my interpretation of family game night.

It starts out innocently enough. Everyone is gathered around the coffee table, happily chatting about the expected fun. We review the rules of the game. Wide-eyed and all smiles, the three children listen attentively, nodding their heads in agreement to play by the rules.

We begin the game. Everyone waits patiently for their turn. Money is doled out carefully. Please and thank you’s flow through the air. Go is passed and $200 dollars is collected. Pleasantries of the day are exchanged. Empires are built. Compliments of each other’s great gaming skills flow like honey. All is right in the world.

Then it happens. The game board is accidentally bumped. Game pieces shift. Money mingles and hotels tumble. “Hey, that’s mine! I own Boardwalk!” … “No, you don’t! I bought it three turns ago!” The downward spiral begins. Eyes are rolled. Voices are raised. Fingers are pointed. Accusations of cheating are made. Dice flys through the air, inadvertently hitting someone in the head. A goldfish cracker is chucked in retaliation. Juice is spilled. Tears begin to flow…theirs and mine. It all goes to hell.

This is the reality of game night with my 9, 10 and 11-year-olds. I hold out hope that some day we can make it through a board game without the start of WW III. I’ve heard tales of families completing entire games of Monopoly without incident as they belt out verses of Kumbaya My Lord. I envy these families. Damn it…I want to sing Kumbaya My Lord!


A mother's plight to find the funny in the frustrating and save her sanity.
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35 Responses to Family Game Night

  1. Lisa Wields Words says:

    Sounds familiar, and I only have one 8-year-old. How one child can cause so much chaos is beyond me.


  2. Davis Trace says:

    Sounds like you need to go back to the video replay.


  3. Don’t worry, Nancy. All you need to do is sit in the corner (with a guitar for dramatic effect) and belt out the song anyway, ignoring all chaos. Either the kids will stop and stare, shake their heads and walk away in embarrassment, or they’ll realise that this truly is a crazy house and will ask if they can play nicely, hoping their mother hasn’t really gone over the edge. Or has she? 🙂


  4. I pray that one day this will happen for my kids too. Not holding my breath. We can’t even start a game without chaos erupting!


  5. Don’t envy the families that finish a game of monopoly. They are evil aliens with no souls. Your family sounds–I want to say–normal.


  6. Lenore Diane says:

    The card game “Fish” creates havoc and chaos here. I shudder to think what Monopoly would create – why it would be the stuff of nightmares!!


  7. I remember whole weekends playing Monopoly or Risk with my 3 siblings, but now the best we can pull off is the occasional SpongeBob Chutes & Ladders (by the way, have you EVER heard anyone call a “slide” a “chute?” Must be a British thing). Cudos to you for getting all three of your kids to play together. I am truly amazed you were able to keep the boot, dog & thimble playing pieces so long – and that the game didn’t bust up before it ever began over arguing about who gets the car.


  8. Bearman says:

    That is why you play Life and not Monopoly. There is never an end in sight in Monopoly.


  9. Doc says:

    You write “This is the reality of game night with my 9, 10 and 11-year-olds.” Well, that is the reality of OUR game night with our kids, too. Ages 28 through 40! No one sings Kumbaya. We just drink a lot!


  10. Sandi Ormsby says:

    We tried game night for awhile. My 7 and 5 year old broke us when they were 5 and 3. There would always be a tantrum starting with what game we’d even play. Pieces would be thrown…Samantha still refuses to sit for a whole game of Trouble and she’s almost 6. Pehaps we’ll try again…but I hate Monopoly. We’ll have to start off with Sorry. Until we get the first SORRY card.

    Lake Forest, CA


  11. John Erickson says:

    Have you considered eliminating the middle step, and just PLAYING a war game? Start out with Risk or Stratego, and work up to “Axis and Allies” or something like that. This way, you go DIRECTLY to the war! 😀


  12. Tony McGurk says:

    Monopoly used to become such a hostile affair that one day I chucked the whole game in the fire because we were sick of all the fights from greed over the fake money


  13. msmouse7 says:

    Enjoy (if possible) those war games. Sooner than you think, you’ll be stuck playing internet games with them (not really because mom’s aren’t cool enough to play internet games) — or no games at all. Thank goodness for the holidays so the game playing tradition can step in and remind you what you miss.


  14. dragonfae says:

    I’m not sure what it is about Monopoly … almost everyone I’ve ever played with ends up getting pissy over something. 🙄 With our family, the biggest problem is Darling Daughter and I get bored after a couple of hours.

    Speaking of Darling Daughter, she and her hubby introduced us to a really fun card game your kids might like … it’s called Mille Bornes. Not sure if there are any limits on the number of players though. We usually play as two teams, “kids” against parents. 🙂


  15. Brings back fond memories of Family Game Evenings in my house. No matter what the name of the game was, it always turned into Slaughter.


  16. MC/Curtis says:

    I was never a monotony fan. One time I played it on a nintendo with a group and it was better because it kept track of everything and no one could cheat. It was the old nintendo so I guess it’s no good because kids have z boxes and plane stations now.


    • I hate the z box, it makes them ornery zombies. There’s been more than one occasion that I considered throwing it in the garbage. Don’t be surprised if I pack it up and send it to you…you can play monotony on it with your friends…if you promise to play nicely.


  17. zencherry says:

    Oh. My. Goodness. We MUST be related. (P.S. I feel your pain) 😀


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