Insidious Boardgames

Guest Blogist: Roshani Ariyam

You may be wondering, “Am I reading this title right”? insidious and boardgame on the same line? Aren’t board games just a fun piece of recreation among family and friends an interactive way of sharing the warmth of each others company? Well, it is quite the contrary with my family. Oh by the way, this is Derick’s sister Roshani, guest-blogging for today. I am honored Derick!

So here I go. It is has come to my understanding, through some keen covert observation this year at the annual Christmas gathering, that boardgames bring out the worst in people, especially family.

Take for example the innocuous game of Monopoly. One would think, ahh a classic family game filed with mindless hours of convivial fun and laughter. However, this description of Monopoly, especially with our family, is best left on the back of the box, in all its euphemistic glory. In reality it is quite the contrary; the game has become taboo (no pun intended)–its mention is forbidden. Who would have thought cousins seemingly noble benign souls, were actually viscous loan sharks and cutthroat business moguls in heart with bribing tactics that would make Enron execs look like Alan Shawn Feinstein (yes Gloria, I know I still owe you a years rent for Park Place). Regardless, it’s quite amazing; the gross mutation that a simple boardgame can do to an individual. Moving on to Poker this was top on this year’s list of fun games to play at family gatherings. Pc games are really fun to and there are multiplayer games on it. Get a computer with a good motherboard, so your gaming experience is the best it can be. Shall I spit out the word umm..fascist tyrant. The way people start getting so serious about this game is almost comical. Let me put this into context for you, it was Texas Holdem, just chips, no money involved. However, we had this one cousin, who for some unfair reason, banked a lot of chips on one game, refused to share the wealth, and decided to up the ante during every round, trying to eliminate players as quickly as possible. Why do you want to produce such feeling of unhealthy competition on such a joyous occasion? Is there an award for Best Board Game Board player� that I am unaware of Regardless this is an observation that I thought I would write down. I’m sure you can all relate.

Thanks for letting me rant on about nothing.


3 thoughts on “Insidious Boardgames”

  1. Teeheehee….Monopoly brings out the belligerence of the Ariyam household?…ahhh t’is merely the signs of good ol’ healthy hard-nose enterprise minded sri lankans’…hurrah for us! If it weren’t for the teeny tiny fact that board games sadly aren’t a reflection of real life…perhaps all the CEO’s and presidents would in fact be saram-wearing, uppam-eating, toddy-chewing tamil dudes with nice rice bellies and ‘tashes. :-))

  2. Innocuous boardgames

    In light of the recent news regarding the tragedy in South Asia, ‘boardgames’ doesn’t seem like the topic of choice. Nevertheless, I feel moved to share my thoughts on this issue. Hopefully, like the rest of you, I was shocked to see the words ‘insidious’ and ‘boardgame’ in the same phrase and as a result I made a little revision for my title.

    I don’t know who it was, but whoever invented the first board game deserves much credit for discovering an ingenious way to unite family and friends. Not only do board games bring unity, but they were also created to be fun and enjoyable. In an attempt to get people interested in the boardgame the genius inventor created a special component to motivate players to be invested in the game. What is this special component? None other than good, fun competition.

    Imagine a game in which noone cared about winning. If that’s hard to picture, let me tell you about one of my experiences. I was playing a card game, called Nerts (almost like competitive solitaire), which normally is extremely competitive, with two friends. We all agreed to be benevolent as we played, which stripped the game of its most important element- competition, and let me tell you that experience was pretty torturous.

    The object of every game can be summarized as, “Be the winner.” Fun emanates as ALL members pursue this goal to the best of their ability. I don’t know about you, but I find it insulting when someone lets me win by impeding their own ability. Being the “nice” guy has the capacity to suck out all the life of the game. If we all want to be winners, why don’t we go back to playing Candyland? Oh no, I forgot that game as well has one winner.

    For some, boardgames are all about the culmination of either winning or losing that they are even willing to jeopardize their relationships with the other players in the game. So can what is meant to be innocent lead to a insidious boardgame? The answer is ‘yes’. However, most of the time there is plain, healthy competition, which I believe is the case at our family gatherings. By the way, I’m one of Roshani’s cousins who was present that joyous Christmas day as the cousins mingled during a innocuous game of poker.


  3. ISIDIOUS is defined as “working or spreading harmfully in a subtle or stealthy manner.” INNOCUOUS is defined as “having no adverse effect; harmless, not likely to offend or provoke to strong emotion; insipid.”

    Is it possible for a board game to be both at the same time? Who knew that something as innocent as a board game could carry such a bad reputation? It begins with a pure volition to pass the time, and has the potential to end leaving everyone in a sour disposition. Harmless, yet harmful.

    I find that family gatherings bring out the best and worst of people. You eat, drink, talk, laugh, and eat some more. Finally, everyone gets to the point where they’re through with the eating and talking, and then someone comes up with the brilliant idea of playing Scrabble. Before you know it, the girls start pulling their hair back, while the guys pull their sleeves up and loosen their ties. THIS IS WAR.

    I break out the board, and it begins. What started years ago as a fun way to pass the time, has become an all out cut-throat competition. My cousins never even knew how to play until I introduced the game, and now they’ve evolved into Scrabble fiends. They even bust out with the heavy artillery, a dictionary.

    In the end, there can be only one team. As long as the winning team has me on it, it’s all good. Otherwise, it’s on the next time we meet. After all, I have a reputation to uphold.

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