I knew my wife had made a mistake as soon as our son opened the Christmas present. He pulled off the colorful wrapping paper and revealed something even more colorful underneath, a board game.
But the only color I saw was blood because this wasn’t any board game – it was Risk.
What had she done? This is like saying, “I present you, my loving family, with the gift of resentment this Christmas.” I’m pretty sure a ghost visited Ebenezer Scrooge to give him Risk. It was The Ghost of Christmas I Want to Punch Your Face.
To be fair, I don’t think my wife has ever played Risk. If she had, she’d know the game’s not called Risk because of anything that happens on the board. It’s called Risk because every time a family plays it there’s the risk of neighbors calling the police.
Risk is a simple game. It’s a map of the world and players have only one goal – to spend roughly three hours crushing every other player and taking their land. Land acquisition has never caused problems in real life, has it?
Even Hasbro.com says the goal of Risk is to “Take over the world in this game of strategy conquest by making your sister cry.”
I added that last part and am planning to sue Hasbro, forcing them to include it in the official game description.
Risk might be fun if played with people who were jerks to you in high school, or maybe cut you off in traffic, but it’s played with family and people you once called friends.
A 2017 study of board games and the evil they cause revealed 91 percent of Americans have gotten into an argument over a game. Mostly while playing Monopoly (47.7 percent. But they were asking for it by playing Monopoly), but Risk, Scrabble and Life rank up there, too.
Friends (42.7 percent) and siblings (38.2 percent) are those usually involved in arguments. Only 6.3 percent of survey respondents said they got into a board game argument with a spouse/significant other. This is zero percent for me because I’m not an idiot. My wife has enough reasons to be angry with me. Kicking her out of Australia isn’t going to be one of them.
Fifty-four percent of those surveyed have had their feelings hurt playing board games and 41.4 percent have reported turning over the game board.
This can’t be a healthy way to spend an evening.
Board game disagreements have led to a “decrease in communication” after the game 15.5 percent of the time and a fist fight 6.5 percent.
Wow. That sounds like my childhood.
An hour into our first match (my wife suspiciously sat this one out), both the older children wanted to go to bed.
“What? You’re tired?” I said. “No, kids. You started the game, you finish the game. I’m almost ready to control Asia. Roll the dice. ROLL THE DICE.”
It’s a good thing I pitted the kids against each other or the game would have taken forever.
– Jason’s newest novel, “Bad Day for the Apocalypse,” is available at jasonoffutt.com.