Last night my wife, the kids, and I decided a family game night was in order. It’s been a while. Most of the time when we can agree to play a game we never seem to come to any consensus of which game to play. You see, Daddy (that’s me) would love to play his favorite game, Trivial Pursuit, but everyone else in this equation always claims to be stupid and so Daddy is outvoted 3-1 and never gets to play his favorite game. It’s not his fault that he has a fantastic memory and can whoop your fannies with his stellar knowledge skilz. Then there’s son’s favorite game, Monopoly or as he calls it “Capitalism 101”. The problem with this one is that it takes forever to play. It especially takes forever to play when an 11 year-old boy and his 10 year-old sister decided to take every opportunity to make “deals” with each other and Mommy and Daddy. No, son, I will not sell you Boardwalk for $50. Sorry, that’s life. Daddy grew up in Jersey and he knows exactly how much those properties in Atlantic City are worth. My daughter really couldn’t care less as most of the time she gets bored and walks away. And my wife? Well, she’s the most adventurous among us. She usually “researches” games online before buying them. Most of the time her choices are spot on. Sometimes it’s a miss; like the time she made us play something called “5 Minute Rule”. That’s a game where each contestant is asked to name one thing in five minutes. It’s infernal.
For Christmas my wife gave me a new boardgame – from the online researched division – called “New York 1901”. The object of this game is to acquire land, build skyscrapers, and then demolish and build more skyscrapers. Take a look at the pictures below…
As you can see, the box is beautiful. Artwork is phenomenal. The game pieces – little Empire State Buildings – exhibit exceptional craftsmanship. The cards… Ah, you noticed that. Yes, there seem to be 800 playing cards broken into 30 different categories. Well, it is a real estate game. I suppose it’s not supposed to be “easy”. I mean, building New York City into the metropolis it is didn’t happen overnight. I was assigned a character named Robert Fletcher. I like his mustache. I even gave him a backstory. He was rich, shredded, loved by all. It’s good to assign qualities of oneself to a fictional character every now and then. But those cards…
I spent the first thirty minutes reading and then decoding the instructions. Then I dealt the cards. No joke, there were at least six different piles in front of each player. After a rough start where we came to realize that the colors of our game tokens did not and would not necessarily match the colors of our initial properties we seemed to get the hang of it. Good thing my wife is part German or we never would have figured out how to keep our tracts of land
at right angles straight. In fact, my daughter actually played for a good half-hour before storming away angry that she just did not understand this “nonsense”. Fortunately, she continued to mix cocktails for her old man so he didn’t have to get up.
The rest of us, however, got the hang of it and enjoyed playing this game for the hour or so it took us to build up the lower end of the island of Manhattan.
Bottom line: if you’ve got patience, a sense of history, a fascination with architecture, and depth perception then a career in archeology is in your future. If you simply have patience and are looking for a good time with your family then take a stab at this game. If nothing else, you’ll become familiar with the street grid of Manhattan south of Pearl Street. Also, if you have a ten year-old daughter you might want to pop a movie on in the other room for her because she’s not going to have any of this “nonsense”.
My son won last night’s game. Obviously we had to have a rematch this morning. This time, Daddy snagged the Metropolitan Life Building and won. I will always be victorious… until I’m not. And when that day comes I think I will suddenly lose interest in boardgames.