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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

The Height of Boarddom

When I was a kid, I invented little games to pass the time. There were several reasons for this:

1. I was precociously creative.
B. I grew bored very easily.
iii. No one else would play with me.

(Hey, what do you want from me? I was an only child trying to stay entertained before the interweb or widespread cable access. It doesn’t make me weird.

No, you shut up.)

Anyway, many of these concoctions involved board games of some kind. We had a bunch of them in the house — Monopoly, Risk, Clue, Life, you name it — and I used the gaming equipment to its full advantage.

“For added entertainment, include the weapons from Clue and offer free shots with a lead pipe or candlestick on the losers. Fun for fist-flinging assholes of all ages!”

Which essentially means that I mixed up all the pieces and shoved a random mixture of shit into whichever box would hold it. So we’d crack open the game cabinet for a nice round of Parcheesi and find three dice, a pencil, a Roman numeral X, and a soggy Colonel Mustard marker. Our best guess was that he’d been regurgitated. In the living room. With a hairball.

I’m all grown up now — on the outside, at least — but I started wondering: if I had the board games, the free time, and the manic, caffeine-enhanced metabolism I had back then, what sorts of games would I invent today? Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

Twisterial Pursuit

Right hand on blue? Answer a geography question. Left foot on yellow? Literature quiz for you.

The only problem with this game is that it’s damned hard to play solitaire. Forget reading the Trivial Pursuit cards; you get far enough along in a game of solo Twister, and you eventually run out of parts to spin the spinner with. A guy could slice his tongue on that thing… or worse. Right hand on Bactine.

Operation: Jenga!

Those regular wooden Jenga blocks are for babies.

The foot bone’s connected to the leg bone, right? So dump all the fake bones out of the Operation game, and see how far up you can stack those body parts. Just be careful — it takes a very steady hand!

As an added bonus, if you wreck the stack, then the other players get to punch you in the body part you last placed on top. For added entertainment, include the weapons from Clue and offer free shots with a lead pipe or candlestick on the losers. Fun for fist-flinging assholes of all ages!


Any jackass can learn how the horsey piece moves in a standard chess game. Yawn.

But replace those dusty old chess men with Monopoly markers, and you’ve got something exciting! Maybe the car can move in any straight line, and

‘screech’ sideways to a stop at the end. The dog can walk forward, but never backward. The top hat can flit to any adjacent square, as if lofted by the wind.

And the thimble? Well, the thimble stays put. Can’t move at all. Why? Because IT’S A FREAKING THIMBLE! Whose idea was it to put a thimble in a damned board game, anyway? Who has ever wanted to be the stupid thimble, ever? Betsy Ross? No way. Even Betsy would say, ‘Just shut up and give me the wheelbarrow.‘ A thimble. Jeez.

L.A. Life

Take the cars from the game of Life. Throw a driver peg in each, and set them on the ‘Start’ square on a Monopoly board. Drop all the rest of the pegs in the ‘Jail’ square — these are the various family members and hangers-on, busted for possession, solicitation, DUIs, resisting arrest, and general jackassed mayhem.

Roll the dice as usual, and take turns with each car. Every turn around the board is a full day, and a player can pull one family member out of the drunk tank. Landing on ‘Free Parking’ breaks another out of jail; ‘Go to Jail’ sends one back. Play ends when one car is full, the other cars lose their drivers to the pokey, or when you can’t stand it any longer and head off to watch Behind the Music to see the real thing.

Connect Four, You @#!*

Instead of checkers in the Connect Four chassis, use Scrabble tiles.

And instead of connecting four of one color in any direction, play until you can complete a four-letter word. Bonus points if it’s dirty. Extra bonus points if you yell it out, as soon as you’ve spelled it. And double-secret special bonus points if grandma’s in the room at the time.

Risk-y Business

Tired of playing ‘real‘ Risk, with all that adding and dice-rolling and solving differential equations to see whether you successfully invaded Kamchatka? Yeah. Me, too.

So play it the way real world politics are played. Wipe all those little dead-language numbers off the board, and plop down a single ‘I’ for each player. Doesn’t matter where, particularly — just get a token out there.

Now, gather up all the money from six or eight Monopoly sets, and distribute it laughingly unevenly among the players. If someone’s on United States territory, or Western Europe, or Japan, give them a big fat wad of cash. Players on the rest of the world’s spaces get just a little. If you want to bring more pieces onto the board, or occupy a territory next to someone else’s piece, you’ll have to pay them some mutually negotiable amount. Maybe they want cash; maybe they want your punk ass out of Western Australia. You figure it out, and watch as the rich get richer, while the poor get slaughtereder. You’ll be dueling it out between a superpower or two in no time!

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One Response to “The Height of Boarddom”

  1. Michèle says:

    I’m putting some of these games on my Christmas wish-list, so I hope you’ll be distributing them soon :-)

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