The Games Are Afoot

Today, the Chicks reminisce about games we used to love playing as children…

Lisa Q. Mathews

CotC Word balloons

Because I grew up as an only child (sort of–my sister is 16 years older), I was always looking for someone to play games with me. It’s hard to play board games by yourself, which is why I was a big fan of Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders. All you had to do was spin for each person, so I lined up my dolls and stuffed animals and even my turtle (he rarely moved far) as playmates. My dad used to play the card game Authors with me, though (Okay, Daddy, I have 3 Edgar Allan Poes and 3 James Fenimore Coopers but I am NOT letting you have any Samuel Clemens!). Mostly old-white-guy authors, but I think Louisa May Alcott may have been in there somewhere. Anyway, that’s probably how I ended up an English major. After that we moved on to chess, which I basically learned not via math and probability, but Alice Through the Looking Glass. (Well, let’s see, the Red Queen is really mean, so I need to watch out for her. The knights are useless and whiny and I sort of feel sorry for the pawns, so maybe I won’t sacrifice them…). Surprisingly, my Alice strategy worked rather well, enough to make me Fourth Grade Chess Champion.

 Ellen Byron


I’ve never been much of a board game or cards player. Neither was anyone in my family. We had a lakeside cottage in Connecticut for years. A friend from New York who loves games came to visit and complained to us, “All you people do is read.”

That being said, I have a vivid memory of one game I played in my childhood. Until I was ten, we lived in Little Neck, Queens, at the bottom of the largest hill in the borough. On a summer night, all of us kids would congregate on top of the hill to play Red Rover. As dusk fell, the sky would turn pink and an island in the distance lit up with what seemed like thousands of white lights. I fell in love with that magical island and dreamed of living there someday. And eventually I did.

The island was Manhattan, and I still miss it.

Vickie Fee

vickieAs a kid, I loved playing cards. My grandma and Aunt Della Mae taught me how to play gin rummy when I was five or six. I liked playing it. I liked that they let me win. My parents would have their friends over to play cards, and Rook was their game of choice. I also learned to play that pretty young, although we we weren’t allowed to play with the grown-ups. Later, Sorry was a board game that my siblings and I could all agree to playing. (Consensus was rare). In high school, and into college, my brother and sister and I got into Trivial Pursuit and would have friends over to play, sometimes late into the night. As a side note, never play Monopoly with my husband or his friend JJ. They would make side deals to drive out other players. When I called him out for cheating, hubs said, “The name of the game is ‘monopoly.'”

Cynthia Kuhn

cynthiaIndoors: card and board games galore! Outdoors: existing games like Hopscotch, Jump Rope, Tag, Red Rover, Statues, and Capture the Flag. Also many invented games, like Here We Are Sitting On This Boulder, Using Branches as Fishing Poles to Catch Leaves -or- Let’s Write Down All The License Plates Of Everyone Who Drives By for no apparent reason. And there was my all-time favorite, Supercapes, which led to many exciting adventures like jumping off of the porch and letting your cape fly out behind you. And by cape, I mean beach towel.

Readers, drop us a note in the comments below! What were some of your favorite games?

26 thoughts on “The Games Are Afoot

  1. My family played a lot of board games as I was growing up. Our favorite was Yahtzee (not really played on a board 😊). My mother always won… she was very lucky! My sister and I played card games also…Go Fish, Battle, slSlapjack, Spades. At family gatherings, all the cousins played Spoons. I have great memories of some very lively Spoon games.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I grew up playing board and card games! I had my first Monoploy game for my 6th birthday and still have it! Sorry, Concentration, Password, Yahtzee, Clue, the list goes on and on. Playing Authors and Old Maid were my favorite by about 5. Memory was also another one I enjoyed.
    I still love to play board and card games.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I learned how to play cribbage at an early age by watching my Mom and Dad play. It’s a great game for two. I still play that game. All the ouside games with the neighborhood and some we made up – no names.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. My father and I played Trivial Pursuit. We kept score for years. Fastest game ever he went around the board in less than 20 minutes. No joke.

    Now we’re Sorry! players. It can get brutal I tell you. Brutal. 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

  5. My sisters and I played Monopoly and Canasta (I don’t know anybody who plays that card game). Later I enjoyed playing games with my daughters. I especially enjoyed Connect Four. Didn’t take too much thought.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Hearing about all these fun games is making me want to leave the keyboard and go find someone to play with me! Adulting is no fun. But Cynthia, I dunnno about the beach-towel cape thing…I’ll be the one filming below the roof for America’s Funniest Home Videos. (Why do people let loved ones DO that kind of stuff?)

    Liked by 3 people

  7. When I was 7-9 years old, I lived on a circle at Fairchild AFB near Spokane Washington. There were several other kids living on the circle, which was unusual because they householders tended to be older given they were towards the end of their military career. We would play hide and seek every evening in the summer until it was too dark to see anymore.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Lisa, I had forgotten all about Authors — that was my favorite card game!! I remember it came in sort of a 6 pack with other card games like Crazy 8’s and Old Maid. My Grandmother taught all 5 of us girls how to play Mah Jongg when we were very young, and we would always play that at her house. We also played Parcheesi, Life, Sorry and Monopoly. Our outdoor games were kickball, kick the can, SPUD, Red Rover, Swinging Statue and hide and seek. So much fun!

    Liked by 4 people

      1. SPUD was when you threw a ball way up in the air and then called someone’s name to catch it — if you caught it, all was good, but each time you missed it, you got a letter to spell SPUD — first an S then a P and when you had all four letters, you were out of the game (a little like HORSE). Swinging Statue was when you grabbed someone’s hand and swung them around in circles and then let go, and when they landed they had to pose like a statue and stay frozen for the rest of the game.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. Never played games as a kid. Because… wait for it…. I had no friends. I was too busy reading on my bed or in the closet to make friends.
    as an adult, I have kind of blossomed. Although most people don’t believe me when I say I’m afraid of groups.
    Now I play all kinds of board games. Trivial pursuit (3 styles), board and video Clue. Sceneit! 5 types. Pretty good at blackjack and poker. Cards against humanity.
    But my favorite is foodie fight. Picture it. A dining room table. 4 people. Tiny boards. Lots of cardboard pieces. Dice. Poly resin chips. And a stack of cards all about food. Foodiesphere, lab and field, food production, dining out, company’s coming and what’s cooking are the categories.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Grew up playing lots of games as a kid. Monopoly and Clue were always favorites. A few of the lesser known games I love are the Stock Market Game, Trust Me, and Stop Thief. That last one is a game of the 80’s for sure with a super cool (and now dated) radio control that was part of the game. Bought one off ebay about 20 years ago. I wonder if the radio part still works.

    Liked by 2 people

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