Board Games. Revisited as an Adult.

I am not a competitive person by nature. I'm certainly not someone who's ever going to get something by means of bargaining or having that "killer instinct" that people speak of that gets you ahead in life. (Side note: Can we talk about how messed up the term "killer instinct" is? We casually throw around that people have an instinct that gets them ahead in life because it resembles a cold blooded human being who kills other people for sport. That's cool. You can have the last Tostito.)

I was thinking about this the other day, and I realized that this is why I've always been terrible at board games. And, inversely, why I've been terrible at a lot of rudimentary things in life. Money management. Property acquisition. The ability to completely screw someone over without wanting to talk about their feelings afterwards.

And when you think about it: board games are actually just a really f*%ked up way to learn about life and how it's going to go down. Essentially, we're providing children an oddly solid grasp of how the world works through a man with a monocle and a game revolving around murdering people in rooms with silly names.

So. Of course. I went fifteen steps further and started overanalyzing it.

Here's a breakdown of a few popular board games you probably grew up with and the life lessons they were probably striving to teach you.

Monopoly

Monopoly is a game that, title alone, should be a red flag. When you grow up, you learn that having a "monopoly" over anything is everything that is wrong in the world, so much so that we're having a bunch of protests regarding such behavior right now. But guess what: slap a shoe or a small terrier and some colors on it, and you've got yourself a hilarious game in which you strive to push your friends into bankruptcy.

Let's go through this.

The point of the game is to buy property while every now and then crossing an ambiguous place called "go" to sustain a bank account (pssst: in the real world it's called "paycheck every two weeks"). The larger goal is to "monopolize" the board. To literally buy everything and charge anyone for going near it. From time to time you go to jail (which oddly just sorta flies under the radar, I mean..who's like "Whoops! Carl went to jail again, I sure hope he rolls doubles!"). Oh, and also? There's a part of the board called "chance", slightly indicating to children that from time to time things might go horribly wrong or great for no apparent reason. Oh, and once a friend gets poor? You become a maniacal, horrible person who sits and waits to literally charge the crap out of them for nothing.

This game apparently did nothing for my property owning and renting skills, as I still seem to be playing the board game in real life, except now I make the same horrible fiscal decisions but with real money:

Drew: "So the place comes with -398 sq feet, the bathroom is pretty much inside of the room, which, let's be real Bob, we'll just call it a room because the bedroom is a part of the 'room' i'll be renting out. The stove doesn't work. There is a Mexican coke dealer who lives next door, and my hallway looks like the scene from The Shinning with the two little girls."

Landlord: "It's about $1400 dollars and.."

Drew: "I'LL TAKE IT!"

The game takes 4,978 hours to play, is run by an adorable man with a silly monocle and most people die before they can even finish it or reap the benefits of their investments.

Just sayin'.

Battleship

Battleship is a game that lets people know how the world works if you were to ever go to war. Basically: fire missiles with blatant disregard as to who or where you are shooting them at, hope they hit something, and if they do continue to do so until someone dies a horrible death. If this game is correct, it takes approximately 3-5 ambiguous missiles to destroy ships.

So that's cool.

Life

Life is probably the most wildly accurate of any game. Ready?

The game literally emulates life in the most depressing regard ever.

It's tag line? It's a game of twists and turns/Where will your choices take you? (I mean, Jesus.)

You go around a board and either get a good job or a bad job. If you go to college? You can make more money and eventually end up at a place called Millionaire Acres. If you don't? You can actually go to a place called the poor farm (I mean, again..Jesus).

When you have children in the game, they are identified as a peg you throw in the back of your car. If you obtained a fifth child, you had to lay them sideways in your vehicle because that was the board game way of saying use a goddamn condom.

And there was a tile on the board that you could land on titled "Revenge."

That shit's real, kids.

Guess Who

During your childhood, you are taught to never talk to strangers. When you grow up, you learn that the entire goal of life is to talk to strangers until one of them eventually sleeps with you and you make babies with them.

Guess Who emulates for children the practice of going to a bar: you throw out random attributes that someone may or may not have. When you eventually get close enough to guessing what you're looking for, you win.

Fairly accurate.

Operation

When you grow up, you may want to go into the field of medicine. When you do, if you want to make the big bucks, you should look into being a surgeon (or a lawyer, Mom, I know…I KNOW).

If you do become a surgeon, this game is really going to f*%king pay off.

Essentially, just try to open someone up and do not hit the ambiguous "sides". Make sure to use tweezers to remove the bad things. If you do this successfully, you make a shit ton of money. If you don't, their nose will illuminate. That or the red light that signifies their heart has stopped beating.

I was bad at this game. Sorry, Jewish family.

Clue

Clue was pretty amazing. A big no-no in life is killing people, in general. A big yes-yes in life is pointing the finger at people and blaming them without much real reasoning or backing: just have a vague idea that they were the one that did "it" ('it" being anything, really) and throw the book at them (turns out the legal system is pretty close to the game Clue, which is in no way terrifying).

The best part about Clue is that they didn't just let children know that people are probably going to kill people when they grow up, they let them know that they are presumably going to do it in some of the most f*%ked up ways possible.

For instance, one day you may be trapped in a place where an attractive woman will either have a lead pipe, a gun, a rope that she will hang you with, a candlestick or a wrench. When people aren't looking, she is going to kill you. Good luck.

So, you know. Don't kill people. But if you are ever in a situation where someone has a lead pipe, a gun, a rope that they will hang you with, a candlestick or a wrench? It's best to at least know what room they are going to do it in.

At least then you'll win.

Sorry

Sorry is, without question, my favorite board game. There doesn't seem to be a lot of real life going on here. But ohhhhh that's where you're wrong.

The whole point of Sorry is to just get home. That's it. You just want to get your people home. Which, metaphorically, seems sort of heartwarming.

But here's the catch:

Do not EVER turn your back, kids, because some fucker is going to come out of nowhere and he/she is going to ruin your goddamn day and completely stab you in the back. To make matters worse, they are required to say, "sorry" when they do.

But. I mean.

At least they'll say sorry.

It's the little things, I guess.

Rocket Shoes Mixtape 53: In Retrospect, Board Games Are Sorta F*%ked Up

Stream the whole thing at the link above.

Or.

Download the entire thing in adorable little MP3′s right here.

Drew Hoolhorst

San Francisco, CA 94110, USA

I have a black belt in feelings.