Saturday, April 11, 2020

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: The Games Your Family Played

I hope Randy Seaver is able to keep us occupied with plenty of Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenges while we're all trapped in our homes!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission:  Impossible! music here), is to:

(1) Think about the games that your whole family would play when you were a child. 

(2) Tell us about one (or more) of them — what was it called, what were the rules (as you remember them), who played the game, where did you play the game, who usually won?

(3) Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a post on Facebook.

The first games I remember my siblings and I playing were card games, primarily poker and pinochle.  My parents used those games to start teaching us numbers when we were pretty young.  They taught us the standard rules and played with us in the beginning, but later it was just the three of us, playing cutthroat.  I don't remember who won the games.  My brother was always the most competitive of the three of us, so it might have been him, but the winning may have been more evenly distributed.  As I recall, we played on the dining room table during nonmeal times.

Next we moved on to Monopoly.  My mother and father probably played with us some when we first started, but for the most part the competitors were the same, my siblings and I.  This game, however, my brother absolutely won almost all the time.  I don't recall that we played with any variant rules; I think we just followed what was written.  After a while it wasn't any fun to play, Mark won so much.  It's still not a game I enjoy very much, in great part because of that.

And then came chess.  That's a two-player game, so we obviously didn't all play at the same time.  And that was another one my brother won most of the time.  I don't remember that my sister ended up playing very much.  Mark studied standard opening moves and beat me soundly every time.  After a while I was no longer a challenge, so he started playing against my father's friends who came around to visit.  And he beat them also, usually in about five moves.  I remember my father enjoying that a lot.  And the first time I won a chess game didn't come until I was 29 or 30.

The next major game I remember us playing was Pong on a Magnavox Odyssey.  I won the Odyssey through a coloring contest sponsored by K-Mart, I think in 1975.  (I was really good at coloring contests.  I won that K-Mart contest three years in a row.)  That was pretty cool stuff at the time.  We had the Odyssey connected to a TV in our family room.  My father used to play with us kids, but I don't think my mother did.  I don't remember who won the most when we played.  Probably Mark again!

The only game I remember my mother playing a lot with us was Scrabble.  She liked word games and crossword puzzles, so that was more up her alley.  I enjoyed playing that with her.


  1. I'm so glad I didn't have a brother who won all the games!

  2. Interesting that you made the transition from poker to chess to Pong! I guess I am showing my age here as we didn't have any of the electronic games as I was growing up. It sounds like your brother became a very good chess player!

    1. As I mentioned, Mark is *very* competitive. He tried to learn all the ways to win no matter what game we were playing.


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