Family Humor Parenting

Unintentional Lessons in The Game of Life

Somehow, on a Sunday night not long ago, everyone in my family was playing a game together. This is remarkable for many reasons, but mostly because my husband despises all games.

(Except golf.)

It could also be that I tend to get a little competitive.

Anyway, on this particular night we were all lying on the fluffy beige rug playing The Game of Life – the Twists and Turns version.

Now, this is not the old-fashioned version with the spinner you’d flick with your finger and you’d get a car and fill that car with pink or blue people.

Nay, in this new and supposedly improved version, an electronic gadget spins for you — after you have inserted your individual credit card and pressed a button that says SPIN on it.

So we’re all looking at this thing that looks like a UFO, listening to it beep, and watching it light up.

You learn a lot about your family when you play games.

For example, my 12-year-old (Tech Support) on marriage:

“It’s good to get LOVE out-of-the-way as soon as you can. It can be a pain.”

On having children:

“You shouldn’t have kids until after you’ve LIVED a little. I’ve tried that and it always ends badly.”

On money:

“Life is expensive. You tend to lose money when you LIVE.”

My husband on finances:

“I have no money, but that’s okay because I helped someone to make his dreams come true, and I think that counts for something.”

Later, my husband got rich and greedy. Tech Support and I both heard husband say:

“I want a mansion. Gimmee the biggest, sweetest mansion.”


“How can I have this totally awesome house and not have an awesome car? LIFE makes no sense.”

I couldn’t believe it, but I found myself whining about education:

“This is taking forever! I need to get another degree so that I can be an Executive Chef!”

Meanwhile, that game is clearly confused. I don’t want to be an Executive Chef.

I want to hire an executive chef.

Whatever, I eventually earned my degree and got my $400,000 salary.

Oh and did I mention, I won?


(This might explain why Hubby doesn’t like to play games with me.)

Want to read more from families who play games? Check out this post from Kasey Mathews and this one from Gigi Ross aka: Kludgy Mom.

What have you unintentionally learned about your family while playing games?

UPDATE 3/29: And speaking of games: Today Clay Morgan opens the polls in his 2nd Annual March Movie Madness (#MMM2) Contest for Best Protagonist of All-Time. Amazingly, my boy, Ferris Bueller has made it to the Final Four. If you can find it in your heart to vote to SAVE FERRIS (again), I would appreciate it. He’s up against Westley from The Princess Bride. Methinks I’m going to need a lot of help here. So after 1 pm, click on Educlaytion and SAVE FERRIS.

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31 thoughts on “Unintentional Lessons in The Game of Life

  1. Pardner, I cannot play board games with my family because I get too damn competitive (LOL–sound familiar?) but I will throw the pigskin and submit to full body tackling. Last night I learned that my daughter plays dirty just like I do. I had the ball and I was all elbows and so she slammed her dirty foot on mine and I screamed “Ouch” and she cackled and said, “Gotcha Mom, that was a good one eh?” Love that girl. And no, I didn’t drop the ball.

  2. My favorite: “You shouldn’t have kids until after you’ve LIVED a little. I’ve tried that and it always ends badly.” Can’t we help people while living in a mansion with a nice car? That would be nice.

  3. Tom won’t play games with me. Mostly because the only game I want to play is Who Can Clean Dishes The Fastest? and First Dad To Offer To Clean The House Wins. I don’t get it 🙂

  4. I’m with Hubby–I hate playing games. That said, I will play Uno with my grandchildren. They asked Grumpus–aka Graaaaammpa–why Grandma doesn’t ever play games with them. Grump-a-Rumpus–so named because of his ability to rile up grandchildren and then become gruuummmmpyyyyyy–said to them, “Why don’t you ask???” So, I submit myself to the torture of playing “mean” Uno to prove that I could be as much fun as Grandpa without getting grumpy. What is about folks and games?!?!

  5. This is what I learned growing up in a gaming family:
    – If dad is losing, be prepared to have the game board flipped over and to spend the next 3 hours picking up the dozens of little RISK pieces that are strewn all over the floor.
    – Let grandma win. For a while. Then trounce her.
    – Pinochle isn’t just for old ladies.
    – Men vs. woman Trivial Pursuit always ends in a fight and the men winning.

    Now a-days when the family gets together we tend to mix it up a bit:

    – The “new” Monopoly with the credit card sucks. Stick to cash, it’s easier and less time consuming (especially for a family with two math teachers).
    – Don’t help mom play Settlers of Catan. She knows the game is will trounce you.
    – My brother and his wife can not be on the same team. Ever.

  6. haha.. your family quotes are awesome… I cannot play games with my family because I am the “know-it-all.” Yes, I can admit that.
    My boyfriend and I are super competitive.. so every time we play a game with people (or amongst ourselves) we get in an argument over the rules.
    Even UNO!!
    So I stick to Pogo solitaire games and live a happy life. Although… I think it is your move in Words With Friends!!

    😀 Games are fun!

  7. I learned that no one likes to play with someone who wins all the time. I hope you let your husband or son snag a few victories. Otherwise it may be a while before they want to play again. Which perhaps was your plan all along 🙂

    1. My son likes to play. It’s just Hubby. He’s anti game. Tech Support KILLS me at mancala and anything that requires something mathematical. But I will take him down in any and all word games.

      Which is why were were playing the lame version of LIFE.

  8. I play a fantastic game called “Acquire” with my son-in-law and grandsons. My wife and daughter won’t play, because they’d never win. With the guys, I only win about 90% of the time.

    To me, the point of playing a game is to win. Otherwise, let’s just sit and visit – which suits me fine, too.

    1. I am starting to think that we, bloggers, are a very competitive bunch. I guess we have to be. We are certainly tenacious. I have heard of the game “Acquire.”

      I must learn it so that I may one day play with you.

      And squish you like a bug. 😉

  9. Hehe. We haven’t had a family game night in a while, but I do remember that it always brings out a bit of a different side to people. I always find it amazing that I am still learning new things about my hubs even though I feel like we’ve been together forever! 🙂

    1. It is amazing how playing games does show another side to a person. Some people are cheaters. Some people quit. Some people let other folks win.

      I’m very competitive about certain games. Like Blokus.

      I have to win.

      Unless I don’t.

      But then I’m a little snitty about it.

      Who knew I was a sore sport?

  10. We love Crokinole. The only problem is my middle son has problems. We he starts laughing he looses total control over his aim. So my older son and daughter start trying to make him laugh, and when he looses it, we all have to put on hockey masks for safety.

    I’m banned from playing Star Wars Trivial Pursuit. I know all the answers.

    My wife and I met playing Dungeons and Dragons, twenty-six years ago this January.

    My Dad was a poker player. In his last year, while he was dying of cancer, and no longer safe to drive, he’d get us to drive him to the Great Blue Heron Casino. He’d roll his wheelchair up against the poker table, and appear to fall asleep, and a couple of hours later roll out with a couple of hundred dollars extra in his pockets. It was quite funny actually to watch the young guys look at this old guy in a wheelchair who was half asleep, and figure that they’d take him. Dad got them every time 🙂


  11. LIFE on the iPad is as close as I’ll come to a board game if I can help it. Now, poker is a game I can get behind. And not that trendy Texas Hold ‘Em junk. Give me a decent deck of cards and a jelly jar of nickles, dimes, and quarters and I am there! (I’m competitive, but cheap) Plus I’m pretty sure it’s why our middle son is so good at math. 😉

  12. I am not remotely competitive. Which may be why I always win when the family plays board games. 🙂

    I do have to say that we would make up rules when we played Life that allowed you to adopt other people’s kids. I always adopted as many as I could so I could get the tax break at the end.

    I really hope that doesn’t say anything about me.

  13. LOVE it–and I also loved the new version–my husband says it has something to do with my fondness for swiping credit cards… Mine are a bit too young for the new Life, but we play Monopoly (New York City) with them and it takes FOR-EVER! Their greed and selfishness definitely shine through when playing Monopoly–hopefully that is NOT an indication that they are actually that greedy and selfish. We really like Apples to Apples–we all can play(even the five-year-old who has the attention span of a gnat) and it is mostly just funny. Mostly…

    1. I will play anything.

      Just as long as everyone understand that I play to win.

      I don’t care if a kid is 3 years old. I will beat him. I don’t care if he cries.

      What’s wrong with me?

      Now that my son can actually beat me for real, I’m a little bit bitter but mostly proud. 😉

      1. HA! My husband is that way, too. When we were first dating were were watching a friend’s kids and my husband was the banker in Monopoly. He was stealing money the whole time so that the eight-year-old wouldn’t win. Made me fall in love with him all over again…

  14. I bought my hubby the game “Liebrary” for Christmas. We all sat down to play in equally competitive fashion. Which is to say, way too competitive. I learned so much about the creativity of each of my sons. The object of the game is to guess the correct first line of a book amid the rest of the made up choices. You are given the genre of the book and the author as help. I was so amazed by the verbage and depth with which my boys wrote. Makes a home school mom proud. And, I lost. But I didn’t care because I felt like I really won. Okay, I cared. But not as much as I usually do.

  15. This past weekend I was blessed to spend time with both my parents and my grandparents. (I know. How lucky am I at 43 to have two living grandparents?)

    While I visited them out in Palm Desert, we played hours of cards. The same games we used to enjoy when I was a little girl.

    Except this time, my grandma didn’t let me win. In fact, she was pretty quiet across the table from me every time she stole my play.

    So I learned Grandma is a card shark. And cut throat.
    And awesome.

  16. Here is what I have learned:

    I like playing games with my family and I am highly competitive so they aren’t always entertained. However, they’ve really enjoyed playing games with me during those times I’ve been recovering from surgery. They seem to think the effects of morphine make me more fun. Yep, you can learn a lot about your family when you play games….

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