In Pursuit of Trivia

 
 
In the early 80’s a game came out that changed our family get togethers forever.  That game, in case you hadn’t guessed, was Trivial Pursuit.  That famous trivia game, invented in Canada, set the stage for epic battles for years to come.  While this is true of my family, I am sure it is no different for many other families out there.  Who wouldn’t want to prove that they are smarter than their family members, friends, or anyone else hanging around.

I love the game, and have a decent enough memory to be mildly successful.  I am not great at all categories–geography (the blue wedge) often eludes me.  Of course, calling this category Geography vexes my sister to no end (when one’s major is geography, and nothing they studied ever appears on the cards, they have a credible point).  I guess we all have our favourite categories.  I prefer arts and lit. (the brown wedge)

There probably is an important strategy question.  Should one go after their easiest wedge first, or should you tackle your most difficult one?  I usually opt for my favourite first, hoping to get a lucky geography question.

My family has several (and by several I mean more than seven) versions of the game–and no, we do not have the Twilight Version–we do have the Friends version of SceneIt, but that’s another, often loud, story.  I am better at the Baby Boomer and 80’s versions of the game.  My father can’t stand either of them, so they don’t get played very often.  This is obvious when you need to pull out the dust rag every time you want to play them.

The game is about answering trivia questions, rolling the dice, moving between “roll again” spaces endlessly until you have to answer questions that really matter.  Of course the game is also filled with asides, inside jokes, family needling, and incredible digressions.  Basically, it is a lot of fun.

Full Contact Monopoly

What is Canadian Thanksgiving really about?  Definitely, it is time for family, turkey, leaves turning colour, and a chance to prove your prowess at some game with all your family members.  It is a time to bond, argue, laugh, and pester.  It all sounds so wonderful.

In past years, we’ve played pool, street hockey, video games, DVD board games and a variety of more traditional board games.  My older sister prefers the aforementioned DVD board games because she has good voice projection and can win the shout out questions.  I usually put in a decent showing at this game, but pay the price with a wicked headache later.  Traditional board games usually mean the Canadian invented Trivial Pursuit.  I favour the 80’s version, while my father favours the classic.  I think this is because he has memorized all the cards.

Yesterday (we celebrated early to accommodate family schedules) we engaged in what came to be known as “Full Contact Monopoly”.  We considered calling it Texas Death Match Monopoly, but since wrestling has fallen off the family radar in favour of MMA, it the name didn’t really work.

The name might imply violence, but that isn’t what happened.  There was no violence, very little yelling, and due to the length of the game, no clear winner (though I will contend that I was in the best position to win).  Full Contact Monopoly is meant to convey the complex house rules and multi-stage negotiations that took place.  (And, just to clarify, though we did have a copy of the official Monopoly rulebook, we pretty much through it out the window–and were very aware of the fact that we were not playing by tournament rules)  To get the sense of it I need to cite some examples:

 

  • I negotiated to get 40% of the pot if one player landed on the free parking and captured the bonus pile of money.
  • Several people negotiated free passes if landing on properties.  They did not have to pay rent if they landed there before the owner improved the property to a hotel.
  • One player negotiated the sale of all his properties to another player in exchange for 15% of all future revenue, provided that the receiver of the property paid all bills and fines for the first player–most people would let this person leave the game to tend the turkey, but of course we didn’t.  We made the second person continue to roll and pay bills for that person.  Was that fair?  Probably not, but neither was the first transaction.
  • At one point, I proposed to exchange properties with another player and threw in a nickname change to sweeten the pot–he decided to keep the nickname and the deal fell through.
  • On the verge of elimination, one player negotiated a loan in exchange for cooking dinner the next week.

 

My father said we weren’t playing monopoly, but just talking.  I can’t say that he was wrong.  In between mouthfuls of pumpkin pie, and turkey, and both foot ball and baseball games on TV, I think I only made it around the board 6 times (maybe less) but managed to acquire 15 properties.  I got to hang out with the family, and laugh a whole lot.  The game didn’t get finished, but does it really ever end?