Friday, December 23, 2005

They don't call me Gamer-X for nothing...

Most people know my fondness for gaming. RPGs, boardgames, cardgames. Screw videogames -- they're the devil's work. What? You thought crack cocaine was the work of the devil? Heh. That's what the government WANTS you to think!

Naturally, I'm raising my boys in the same vein. They love playing games. I pulled my time playing Candyland and Chutes and Ladders in order to groom them for the good stuff now. Of course, I began the indoctrination early on, like using HeroClix figures in Candyland instead of those lifeless plastic gingerbread men. Our Marvel superheroes secret war was fought for control of the candy kingdom.

Now that the boys are 5 and almost-7, they've experimented with their first collectible card game (Teen Titans Go) and we play things like Give Me the Brain (from Cheapass Games) and Fluxx (from Looney Labs). They learned arithmetic playing Button Men (a "clever little dice game" from Cheapass Games). They're really developing a strong game-sense. Oh, and also very strong reasoning and reading skills, for what that's worth.

Recently they've been a little hyper as all tots are this time of year. Last Saturday they were having a very bad day. They'd both been yelled at extensively and spent significant portions of the day in time-out. I decided I wanted to end the day on a more positive note, so I offered to teach them a new game: Munchkin (a fun card game from Steve Jackson Games). [Is it weird that I spout off game designers so easily? Nah.]

We played a couple of short games that evening so that they could get a grip on the rules. More importantly, they got to focus on something constructive and fun and we all had some pleasant quality time before bed. Dunc asked if we could play again the next morning. It was Sunday, so I said, "sure, we'll be able to do that as soon as we get up."

Fast forward to the next morning.

I'm awakened at 6:28 by the sound of someone banging in the boys' room. I walk in (my wife is already up, working in the living room) and ask my minion why he's making so much noise. Can't he see that his older brother is still sleeping? "Yes, I know. I'm trying to wake him up to play with me." I send the first out to watch TV and the other one gets out of bed, now awake from all of the commotion.

I accompany them to the living room to make sure they don't distrub their mother. As I turn to head back to my comfy pillow, Duncan, ever ready to seize the day, ESPECIALLY in the pre-dawn hours, asks, "can we play Munchkin now dad?" Well, as a devoted, professional gamer...I couldn't refuse. It's biological instinct for me to accept an offer to game. Even at 6:30 on a Sunday morning.

So we're playing. And Logan, the 6-yr old makes his move. I get a monster that's tough, but nothing I can't handle. Logan offers to help me in the combat...he quickly caught on to the special ability on his Elf race card (by assisting other players in combat, he gains a level, thus getting one step closer to winning the game). I say "no thanks, I've got it." His retort: "Okay, I'll play this then." And he lays down a monster enhancer (Humongous), empowering the monster well beyond my means of dealing with it. Upon me announcing this, he replies, "can I help you now?"

How could I refuse? I just got Munchkin'd by my own munchkin.

Playing on XM: Special Xmas


  1. Dude, that's heartwarming.

    Another good reason to have kids -- a consistent gaming group (at leat until they become teen-agers)

  2. Anonymous1:38 PM

    Okay, I have never commented on a blog and, lucky you, you are the first. Also, this is undeniable proof that, despite the fact that I think blogs, and xanga and myspace and such are e-masturbation, I do read them from time to time.
    "can I help you now?" priceless. Nice combination of sweetness and viciousness. Remind me not to play any games with Logan until I can be a better loser.