Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Clue ... less

Growing up, we had our favorite games.  At swim meets we played endless games of Spite & Malice.  A game whose title I just recently comprehended and considered changing.  We played Trivial Pursuit ... and I don't remember ever getting a yellow or blue piece because I am a self-acknowledged bone-head when it comes to history and geography.  We played Life and enjoyed stockpiling cash and kids.  (Kinda like this.)  We played half-games of Monopoly because none of us had the endurance to see the game to it's final play ... who of us had a five-hour attention span?  And we played Mexican Train Dominoes.  I love the click of the tiles and the rainbow of colored dots.  It's a really pretty game.

Of course we each had our favorites, but there was one game that my sister loved to play.  If ever we asked for her input (How often did that actually happen, Allison?), she would always choose Clue.  Unfortunately, that is one game that requires a minimum of three players so she would have to convince both Joshua and I to play.  Not an easy task.  And not a very common occurrence.  A painful childhood memory for my Sissy, perhaps. :)  Sorry.

A few months ago, Aaron and Norah discovered that we had a Clue game and wanted to give it a go.  A flood of my own memories came to mind:  sneakily marking our sheets, covertly sliding our cards across the table, making Suggestions and Accusations.  I decided, albeit reluctantly, that we could pull it out of the closet and try it out.  Of course, it was an immediate hit and has become the game of choice among the two older kids.  (And "yes", sometimes just the two of them play it.  You might think that would lead to a rather quick game, but it doesn't.  Even if they say out loud the cards they have, it's still a really long game.  Go figure.)

As you can imagine, this isn't exactly a game for the younger two as you are required to read, write and not eat any of the pieces.  And that brings me to this morning. :)

As a side note, this is the Simpson's version of Clue ... so if I slip and refer to Bart - I actually mean Professor Purple.  And if you hear reference to a Poisoned Donut or the Burns Manor, don't be confused.  Just try to play along...

This weekend we enjoyed a stay-home Saturday which meant that immediately the kids started asking what we were going to do and declaring that they were bored.  At 9 am.  We sent the kids upstairs to make a list of things they would like to do and they could present to us our options to choose from.  Two of the ideas were "Lego-building" and "playing a game".  Brett got Aaron and the Legos.  I got Clue and the girls.  Hmmm .... that sounds kind of suspicious. :)

We plopped down at the table and Norah got busy shuffling cards and pulling the three clues to go in the "Confidential" envelope.  We then dispersed the characters and weapons to the different rooms.  I chose to be Bart/Prof. Purple.  Ashley and Norah argued over Lisa/Ms. Scarlett (sound familiar, Allison?).  Eventually Ashley won the battle and Norah grudgingly chose Krusty/Col. Mustard.  Lydia claimed everyone else.

Next we took our cards and began to mark them off on our little check list.  And hit the first road-bump.  Ashley is a pre-reader, making this portion of the game a challenge ... seeing as she needs to keep them a secret!  No problem.  She headed up to Daddy to go over her cards.  Now we're set.

The game started off pretty well.  Lydia had wandered upstairs to check out the Lego creations and that left us big girls to roll the dice, move around the board, make suggestions and not wrestle with our baby monkey.  Ashley had played on my team previously, so she was familiar with how the game works.  She quickly picked up how to discreetly show us a card and (with a little help) how to find the name on her check list to mark off when shown a card.  Norah was strategizing her plays and slowly whittling down the suspects.  Then it got creative.

Lydia came back downstairs and commandeered all the weapons and the three suspects not being used.  This made the game a little more tricky because you had to announce your suggestion and then announce it again.  And again.  And maybe one more time because there was no visual reminder of what you had said.  The visual reminders were piled up in Lydia's lap.  No problem.  We're smart and we can keep up.

About three-quarters of the way through the game (and 98% of the way through my patience and the girls' interest) the game started getting a little sloppy.  Norah had begun to balance precariously in her seat, perhaps as a result of wearing a leotard.  It's hard to just sit when you're dressed to cartwheel.  Ashley repeatedly laid her cards face-up next to her unfolded check-list.  Lydia ran off with the dice a few times and I did my deep breathing.

My favorite part of this portion of the game was when Ashley was going to make a Suggestion.  She moved Bart to the Simpson's Living Room and gave him the Plutonium Rod.  I asked, "Is this what you want to ask?"  She responded with, "I have all those."  Ah-ha.  What do you do with that little bit of info?  As a mom can you mark all those off?  A bit of an ethical dilemma Norah didn't appear to have as she reached for her check-list and pencil.  I'll confess that I marked down those suspects, too.  We were an hour into a game that needed to come to an end.  Soon. :)

At this point, Norah started the aerobic portion of the Clue game by standing next to her chair with one foot on the seat and then jumping and switching feet.  Try it.  It's hard to do while paying attention to all the details, but somehow she managed.  Ashley was furiously sucking her thumb and trying not to suck her thumb and argued with Lydia about not taking Lisa/Ms. Scarlet and moving her from room to room.  Or hiding her back in the box.  I did some more deep breathing and tried to relax my shoulders and jaw.

Finally, I had narrowed down the suspects, weapons and locations.  On my last turn (1 hour and 16 minutes into the game) I made one more Suggestion just to make sure I had the right room.  Then I made my accusation, confirmed my suspicions (Waylon Smithers/Ms. White in the Burns Manor with the Necklace), caught Lydia just as fell of my lap and stabbed her in the eye with my finger-nail, drawing blood.  What a grand finale!

Norah smiled and said something like, "I knew it ... I just didn't know who did it."  Ashley looked relieved that the game was over and wandered off to find something else to do.  Lydia went to be comforted by her Daddy ... and have her eye checked out.  And I boxed up the game as quickly as possible and put it away.  Whew!  I survived another game of Clue ...

Anybody want to play Rummikub?

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