We are hosting a game night at my house next weekend. Actually, my husband and I and another couple are hosting the game night as a benefit for our church. Interested participants pay money to come to our house to eat, drink, and play games.
I visited my parents last weekend, and since they are big game players themselves, I sought their advice on which games we should play. They suggested that because we have kind of an odd number of players, 10, which, while not literally odd, is odd for 4 or 8 player card games, we should opt for “team” games. Besides, a team game makes for a lot more action and laughs, which is good when you are playing with a somewhat random group of people. First, we agreed on the all-time side-splittingly funny game, “Pictionary”. Even my mother-in-law, who is part of the “I don’t play games” contingent, loved playing Pictionary over the holidays with us.
We then moved on to other ideas: Family Feud, Catchphrase, Scattergories. Finally: Trivial Pursuit. Who doesn’t love Trivial Pursuit? My early married life was spent playing that game for hours. And then, quick as it caught on, it suddenly sputtered out. I’m sure I’ve given it away in one of my basement storage purges.
Now I was on a mission. I packed my mom up and we headed to the Goodwill in their town to find Trivial Pursuit. We in fact found many versions: 80’s, Book Lovers, even Disney. I wanted a basic version, which I located. I thought it wise to open the game and peruse the cards, making sure they were not too outdated with questions about the USSR or Cindy Crawford. By now my mom, having grown tired of the search, had plopped herself down on the dusty plaid couch for sale in the Goodwill “showroom”. I sat down next to her, carefully untaped the box, and handed her a few cards to inspect. I took my own stack.
She hemmed and hawed and said she was sure I could answer the questions; she sure couldn’t. I looked at mine; I could not answer a single one. Ready for the first one? “Chopin calls Edna Pontellier an ‘American woman’. What ethnic adjective describes Edna’s husband?” Answer: “Creole”. Huh? Next: “What’s the reason the narrator of ‘The Yellow Wall Paper’ gives to explain why she and her husband could rent their summer house so cheaply?” If you know the answer, (because it is haunted), I don’t want to hear about it. How about: “What was the year of Dickinson’s greatest productivity (almost 400 poems)? It was the same year Fleming would have fought at Chancellorsville.” Who? Where? Again, if you know the answer (1863), you do not need to tell me.
My mother and I were dumbstruck. And I do mean that quite literally; dumbstruck, as in struck dumb. In fact, after switching cards back and forth, we decided that either a) the questions were much harder than we remembered, or b) we are getting dumber. Let’s go with “a”. But I swear I was able to answer at least a few of the questions in my younger days! Or did my husband, who, as my mother-in-law declares, “knows everything” (and she is mostly right, except when it comes to the all-important category of “pop culture”), just carry me along?
In the end, I decided to order the “Family Edition” of Trivial Pursuit. This edition contains cards that are suitable for both adults and children. And I am not too proud to be the one that chooses to answer the children’s questions.
But, having just received the game in the mail, I can now share a sample of the kids’ questions: 1. Who is the “Big Red Dog?” Duh. Clifford, of course. 2. How many degrees in a circle? Come on. 360. And which of these would you not find on a Hawaiian pizza, pineapple, tuna, or ham? Really? Do I really have to say “tuna”?
Honestly, there must be a happy medium. Not too hard, not too easy, something just right. Maybe my mom and I had the “Genius edition”. Or maybe I happened to pick up the deck that the previous owner had put into a “these-are-impossible-to-answer” pile. That must be it.
In any case, I’ve now started a not-so-trivial pursuit to find the perfect game, one that is a little bit challenging, yet doesn't leave me dumbstruck.
See you at Goodwill.