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To: My Fans!
From: Ann
Family/Friend Game Night

February 2000

Hi, readers! Many of you may have noticed a national advertising campaign by a toy company which encourages people to set aside an evening each week for playing board games. I think the idea of a family/friend game night is terrific. Some of my favorite memories involve laughing hysterically while huddled around a board game with either my friends or my parents and sister.

My friends and I were what you might call "binge" players, in that many months could go by without our playing any games at all, and then suddenly, someone would bring out the Game of Life and we were hooked. By the way, I've never kept my age a secret, but I think you'd be very surprised to learn about how much lower the starting salaries were in my original Life game from the 1960's than they are today!

My sister and I were lucky because both of our parents actually enjoyed playing some of the more popular board games with us. Our three favorites — Sorry, Trouble, and Clue — are still favorites of a lot of kids I know today.

And to show you just how much of a board game family we Martins were, guess what? My father actually invented two games that he sold to Parker Brothers, and the games were produced and sold in stores! (This was before I was born.) Supermarket and Boondoggle were geared towards adults, and although we don't have a copy of either one today (they're no longer made), my sister and I always thought it was a pretty cool thing that our dad had done.

My father and I were big time card players, too. We played different kinds of double solitaire games, and for a brief period of time, we played literally thousands of games of Hearts. But while I can still get excited when I see a game of Mousetrap, (one of my all-time favorites) I don't really enjoy playing cards much any more (and for the life of me, can't even figure out how Hearts works.)

I know that a lot of these games are now available on either the computer or as a Nintendo-type game, but it seems odd to me. So much of the fun of playing has to do with getting the box out and following the directions (for example, distributing playing pieces, deciding who is going to be banker, dealing out the Clue cards, etc.). This is one case where clicking and zapping just isn't as much fun for me! And you have to admit that it's hard to put a computer game in the middle of your kitchen table with three of your best friends sitting at each side!

Any experienced baby-sitter will tell you that kids love games. They enjoy the one-on-one attention, and time seems to fly by when they're engrossed in a great game. I would often bring a game of Trouble with me on baby-sitting jobs because it was easy for little kids to just pop the button in the middle of the board when it was their turn. Candyland and the matching Memory games are also good for little kids because they don't have to know how to read in order to play along.

I think I'll surprise my parents on my next visit to their new place and whip out a game of Clue. Now that I'm not a kid anymore, it might finally be my turn to be the first one to say, "Colonel Mustard, in the library, with the lead pipe!"

Happy playing!

Ann

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