We don’t play many table games in our family. There are those who take the competitive nature of some games way too seriously, and during our recent Thanksgiving Celebration there were more than enough areas of potential “conflict” already, what with the present state of local, national and international affairs.
Some games become popular for just that reason of interpersonal competition. Games like Monopoly measure success with money, some like Careers allow each to select the manner in which success will be measured, in some like Stratego one merely has to capture the entire world (world domination always understood by even the most reactionary / radical players).
But there are a few games that maintain the spice of competition without the pressure of being a “winner” or the crush of “loss,” usually because the process of the game is fun and depends on fewer ego-involved facilities.
Tic-Tac-Toe, once one learns the secret of perpetual draw; Twister, where physical contact and contortion trumps tactical planning; and Urban Myth, the game we played for several hours of intoxicant-boosted enjoyment, are such games of less “win/loss” and more “fun.”
Urban Myth is very simple to play. There is a deck of many cards, on one side of each is printed one letter of the words true and myth, and on the other, a statement of fact. For example, on the reverse of a card carrying the letter “t” one finds this statement: “Full grown alligators have been found in the sewers of New York City.” One player reads the statement to the person on their left, and that person must judge the statement true or myth. If they judge correctly they receive the card for their stash.
The first player to spell true or myth from the cards in their stash, wins. There was a lot of disagreement as to the veracity of the various truths or myths, so we agreed to accept the decision of the game manufacturer. We also were having so much fun laughing at the statements and at the fractured reasoning we players were using to decide our answers (we made “tell us your decision process” part of every turn) that we played until someone spelled both true and myth with their stash cards.
This game was a lot of fun and the idea of being the winner took place behind being the silliest “reasoner.” The ultra- (and I mean ULTRA-) competitors in the family had as much fun as those who find Chutes and Ladder a bit too tense.
The highest recommendation one can apply to Urban Myth is that after the game had been over for a few hours, someone suggested playing it again the next day, and everyone who had played wished to play again; and then when we got to fooling around and forgot all about Urban Myth.
One might think that Thanks-giving went over with full bellies, glassy eyes, lots and lots of laughs, and no real contention beyond the football games, partially due the bonhomie resulting from Urban Myth.
And that surely would have been the case had not someone asked, “So, what’s the story on ObamaCare?”