Ridere, ludere, hoc est vivere.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Boardgames by candlelight

Early this week a sequence of winter storms came through northern Virginia, and my house lost power for about 45 hours.  My kids were pretty bored without their usual sources of electronic entertainment, but one nice thing about boardgames is that you don't have to plug them into the wall.  So as we sat by the fireplace trying to stay warm, we broke out the games and had a reasonably good time by lanterns and candlelight.

We played Pandemic, which is our favorite co-op game.  We still have such a hard time beating this game, and as often happens, the Outbreak counter got to the end of the track, long before we could get four cures done.  It's a good thing the welfare of the human race doesn't depend on our proficiency in researching, treating, and curing diseases.

I picked up Incan Gold at WBC last August, so we broke it out and played this quick, fun push-your-luck game.  We liked it so much that we went to our more regular go-to push-your-luck game, Sid Sackson's Can't Stop.  I'm terrible at these risk-estimation games, but I love playing them with the kids, and we had a great time.

Next we switched to the party games.  We played Mad Gab, in which one player reads a card that has a phonetically constructed phrase that is intended to sound like another, completely different but familiar phrase.  For example, the clue might be "ask rude arrive her," and by pronouncing it out loud, the reader eventually realizes that the answer is "a screwdriver."  This was a lot of fun with the kids (except when the answer was a popular culture reference from before they were born).

The last party game we played was our favorite of all, Electronic Catch Phrase.  This one is always a riot, and as the kids have got older, more of the categories are approachable.  We played "science and technology," and it went great.

Finally, the second night we went out to IHOP for dinner, and I brought Love Letter to play at the table.  The kids declined (they discovered they could get free wireless on their iPods), so Kathy and I played two-player until the food arrived.

So we made the best of a rough situation, and I was grateful that we were able to make things work in the available lighting conditions.  Some games definitely wouldn't work in that situation (games with very small print or subtle color differences), but we found ones that worked great.


  1. Sorry to hear about your long power outage, especially during this cold weather. Just a few miles away, we had no problems at all.

  2. Thanks, Paul. Yes, apparently we had a significant number of trees down in the immediate vicinity of the neighborhood.