Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Game of Not-My-LIFE

Chef loves when we have game night - he loves the challenge of trying to beat Papa, even if it is only in a game of chance rather than skill. But the problem is that sometimes, lots of times, he either wants to play games that are out of his league (and thinks he is top-of-the-line at them) OR he wants to play a game that everyone can join in but that is so mind-numbingly boring that we sometimes question why we ever brought it into the house! This past weekend, the choices were "LIFE" or "Super-Scrabble". We love Scrabble, but it is a four-person game and every one of the kids wanted their own piece of the board game pie, which would have dragged it out waaaaaaayyyy past bedtime, at the least!

So Scrabble was set aside for another night and we cracked LIFE out of storage. We started out by taking our little $100,000 bank loans to go to college and rolled downhill in our opinion of the game from there. Now that we're looking with more scrutiny at our lives and what values we endorse through our actions and possessions, we notice more than we might have before.

I won't bore you with all the details, but here are some things we came up with in later discussion over why LIFE will no longer stay in our lives:

  1. Let's start with how BIG the box is! Too much (beg-your-pardon) Real Estate is taken up by this behemoth box in our game cabinet. I'm looking to slim down and trim down when it comes to all the STUFF I have to keep up with.
  2. Too many small parts to lose - or take months to gather up from every corner - to put away each time.
  3. From the very beginning, the lesson is clear: to get anywhere in life, you have to go into debt. There are a few squares later that talk about "you took a class", etc. but nothing that would give you the boost of college in later life.
  4. The church - any church - is only seen twice: once when you get married, once when you donate money for some kind of fund raiser (and by that logic, you could have attended an annual yard sale!) 
  5. The picture on the front of the box is all about the M.O.N.E.Y. I'm not looking to argue the money-is-evil point of view. Money is necessary to life for most of us, and it can let us do some pretty neat things, but I don't want to emphasize (especially with Scrooge-McChef) that money is the be-all and end-all to a Life Well Lived, either.
  6. For all the talk about family: you get married, have one kid, two kids, twins, etc. and what a great thing that is, again, the emphasis is not on attending picnics with your family or enjoying a day out in the park (non-spending, non-money-earning activities), but on spending  money or paying taxes, fees or fines. There is more to life than that!
  7. This game is long and drawn out and there are no consequences within the game other than (you guessed it!) paying a fine. Shoot, even Monopoly has a "Go to Jail" space!
  8. And finally, it is a game which sucks the joy out of our too-infrequent game nights because the rules are so complicated and convoluted. When playing with a lot of kids... it's just not worth the evening!

I would love to hear thoughts on this - 

  • why you do or do not allow LIFE (and similar games) into your game cabinet
  • if LIFE is off your list, what are some other games that make the cut and still teach about money in a productive, easy way?
  • Or do you not like LIFE so much, but you let it stay to open up discussion points while you play?

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