“You sank my battleship!”

That was the war cry of childhood board games when I was a kid and it was the tagline of the TV commercials. (The fact that we had commercials for a board game was a little odd, come to think of it. But then, we had commercials for a mattress spring that everyone pretended was a toy, so life was weird in the ’70s.) Since this was before the advent of video games, we built empires the old-fashioned way–with Monopoly money. I am, it will not surprise you to know, a cutthroat Monopoly player. I basically just put multiple hotels on Baltic Avenue and wait.

My chess skills, however, are mediocre at best. I learned how to play very young–at least, I learned which way the players move. I never developed strategy and to this day, my plan seems to be not much more sophisticated than, “I’M GOING TO CHASE YOUR QUEEN UNTIL ALL MY PIECES ARE GONE.” I’m too impatient to play a long game which my husband exploits ruthlessly, usually by doing something unexpected with pawns.

I used to know how to play Chinese checkers and Parcheesi, but those days are long gone, and my husband and I have been banned from family Spades games on the grounds that we’re “too competitive.” (We actually stopped playing Hearts with friends because I could not comprehend a game where you are not trying to annihilate at all times.)

So it’s probably best that we discovered Forbidden Island. I was amazed to play for the first time and realize that EVERYONE PLAYS TOGETHER. It’s every single player pitted as a team against the game itself. It was a thoroughly new concept for me and, honestly, probably something I should have been given as an only child. “Oh, teamwork? What’s that like?” (You already know that I got the DOES NOT PLAY WELL WITH OTHERS box checked on my report card, right?) In any event, I very much enjoyed it and completely recommend for people with highly competitive family members–especially children. Save them while you can.

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