Here’s Part II – See Part I here…
5. Pay Day
Description: I haven’t played this game in probably 28 years, but I vividly recall the life lessons it taught. As a poor bastard from Arkansas, the gameplay prepared you for the life to come: just try to get through the month and pay your damn bills without needing to borrow money. Welfare, the lottery, getting paid monthly – just like Omar promised, it was all in the game.
Enhanced by Alcohol: I haven’t played this as an adult, because – like it’s more dour cousin Life – Pay Day is a little on the depressing side. (There are Pay Day loans available at 20% interest that cannot be repaid early – did the game actually inspire the term “payday loans”?) But, I have to give it props for keeping it real and being pretty fun back in the day – and not including little peg-assed kids as literal reminders of the responsibility and financial burden they represent (thanks, Life).
Fistfight Potential: Not all that high, given that if you play Pay Day now, you might cry a little bit depending on the accuracy of its month-to-month reflection of your situation.
4. Trivial Pursuit
Description: Now we are into the big boys, not much to say here, this game is probably Pac-Manesque for most people reading this. I thought I was a smart little bastard, so I highly enjoyed the ‘suit – a great chance to show the adults what was what. I’m pretty sure I can still get a pie piece any time that sh-t lands on orange. And, f-ck brown. You know what brown can do for me? Brown can kiss my ass – “which author wrote the 1827 novella The Sky Frowned“? I’m ten, dude, how should I know? (Although brown was good preparation for when I went to take the test to be on Jeopardy. It ain’t no multiple choice, ya’ll, it was 100 questions about operas and sh-t I’d never heard of. I walked out – still hoping to run into the Cash Cab, though. And I need to work on my geography.)
Enhanced by Alcohol: The game itself is not enhanced, but the trashtalking takes a giant leap forward. One huge drawback is the tendency for drunk asses to say the answer aloud to any question they hear uttered.
Fistfight Potential: Moops. That sh-t is always a possibility. And given the team nature of the game, you can generally count on at least one domestic disturbance per four couples, based on actual or perceived underperformance (“You buy all those f-cking US Weeklies and you don’t know who was in The Bridges of Madison County?!?!”)
Description: I will probably take a lot of sh-t for this, but this game is an excellent rage igniter, despite the fact that the outcomes are mostly random (although there’s some strategy as players determine whether they want to warp drive it around the board or actively pursue other players). For those unfamiliar: you race your marbles around the board, based on a roll of the die, in a race to get it to home base before other players f*ck you over. It’s like a more visceral Uno, with the always-pleasant addition of a die.
(Note: I almost included Trouble on this list, and then recalled that it’s possible I never even played Trouble. It’s pretty similar to Aggravation but includes the state of the art Pop-O-Matic technology. I think I felt some misguided affection for Trouble based on Bill Bellamy’s hilarious bit about playing it with his sister when they were supposed to be asleep. I couldn’t find just the Trouble bit on YouTube, but if you ever come across his stand up on Comedy Central, I highly recommend it (despite what you your preconceived notions of BB might be.))
Enhanced by Alcohol: As with almost everything, that’s a yes. The more booze, the more aggression, the more the namesake sensation.
Fistfight Potential: Not too high – there are marbles involved. Difficult to conjure that much aggression when marbles are involved.
Description: I haven’t researched this, but I assume it’s the oldest game ever – if not, it’s gotta be close. The name of the pieces are generally also superhero names (with the exception of pawns – nobody wants to be a f-cking pawn). The closest you will come, in board game form, to mixed martial arts. Completely strategy-based, no element of chance – you only have yourself to blame. The visceral thrill of trapping someone is right up there with the sensation just before you launch a punch toward someone’s throat.
It’s tough to put chess second on a list like this, it’s essentially perfect, but I dinged it slightly because it’s only a two player game. I learned to play as an adult (when I was on a submarine) and was so enthralled that I played at literally every opportunity and even bought a chess book when we finally had two days off. (Note: chess books are not helpful when playing the normal kind of dumbasses that we all are, not a lot of successful Queen’s Gambits being pulled off by beginners. Also, Gambit – yet another superhero chess name.) People who are good at chess are just wired differently; I knew a kid from the academy that supposedly was a master or wizard, and he was a bit of a dipsh-t, but apparently he could literally see into the future when playing chess.
My two chess highlights were both on my submarine: first was almost (and in hindsight, wisely almost) beating the Captain of the ship after I had just learned how to play. The second was when I was playing one of the really junior guys on our ship, and wasn’t paying attention and lost my queen early. This could have been massively humiliating, but I struggled back to take down both his rooks and before you know it had re-popped a queen and kicked that ass.
Enhanced by Alcohol: Oh, yes. If you have two equally matched players, a scorecard and an endless supply of hooch, you are in for a long, long night. Gameplay will suffer, but you will hear some superb taunts and boasts that sound straight out of King Arthur’s court.
Fistfight Potential: Traditionally a gentleman’s game, but can get ugly quickly when embraced by the crowd that can’t beat the Sega Genesis version of Chessmaster on the easy level. I found chess to be most frustrating in that, unlike say, tennis – where one person usually trounces the other every time they play- there would be rare victories against better players, but no true breakthrough. Sigh…if only I was good (and that last sentence was in something similar to grammatically correct English.)
Description: You know the drill – buy and sell properties, perhaps dabble in the utility and railroad businesses, periodically make $200 just for going about your business. The game that very likely spawned a century of rental property speculation. Not quite the science that chess has become, but there have been statistical studies of Monopoly (I’m not gonna say anything about them, just keep buying those railroads!) and there are legitimate world championships and such. It’s the king.
Although there are official rules, almost every home game plays by some variation: I’m a big believer in putting $500 and all the fines and sh-t into Free Parking, but that’s not in the rules. Most people are lost on the concept of mortgage and what to do with the properties when someone dies. Similar to chess, in this game you are looking to completely ruin your opponent – there are no friendly games of Monopoly. Monopoly is what America is all about: empire-building, competitor-squashing, no-holds-barred success.
Enhanced by Alcohol: Yes, but not if one of your players is a compassionate drunk – that’s not what the game is about. It’s about kicking people onto the streets and watching them starve, as you laugh and count your stacks of cash.
Fistfight Potential: When you are finishing up training in Groton, CT during the winter, there is not a lot going on. Sure, you can hit Foxwoods if you can dig your car out of the snow, but sometimes 12 degree whether can sap the desire to even consider walking outside. So fire up the Monopoly board, a four person game being pretty optimal. Invariably, this sh-t got out of hand – mostly because motherf-ckers don’t know what constitutes a legitimate trade.
My trade proposals were 100% transparent – so fair that I would take either side of the trade. Inevitably, people insisted on stupid proposals, or tried to work out earn outs (“you don’t have to pay rent if you land on my greens with hotel if you give me the last red”) or other bullsh-t. Test the sanctity of the competition and you are likely to get punched, or at a minimum ignite a lot of arguing and board-throwing.
Also, I’m always the thimble. Don’t even think about taking the thimble.