Online Edition 07.2007


Board Games | Andrea Avery

The Jacket | Ari Holtz

The Turkish Poetry Spitball | Chris King

Goal Line Stand | Jim Klenn

Runners are Weird | Tom Weber

Print Edition   

Firecracker Press

Caroline Huth

Jessica Baran, Aaron Belz, Thomas Crone, Andrea Day, Caroline Huth, Nick Findley, Emily Shea Fisher, Thom Fletcher, Dave Gray, Franklin Jennings, Chris King, K.E. Luther, K. Curtis Lyle, Richard Newman, Greg Ott, Stefene Russell, Dana Smith, Brett Lars Underwood

Board Games | by Andrea Avery

Playing board games is about as sporty as I get. I was always kind of an “inside” kid. While my brother Jeff was outside practicing baseball with my mom, and my brother Tony was practicing his NASCAR skills by motoring across the pasture in our go-cart, I was inside reading. I got my competitive fix by playing board games with anyone willing. Here were some of my favorite board games from my youth.

  • Old Maid
    My brother Tony has never been good at Old Maid. He can’t hold back uncomfortable giggles when he has the Old Maid. It is ridiculously easy to tell when he’s trying to pass off the card because he sticks it up so much higher than the others fanned in his hand. And always, without fail, he picks the far right card in my hand, so I can easily pass off the Old Maid to him. Anyone can. For some reason, he still enjoys the game. We play it with my nephews whenever we are all at my parents—with the same tired deck of cards we had when we were kids.
  • Pictionary
    My brother Jeff gets sore easily playing games. He is serious and competitive. He doesn’t tolerate cheaters. Once I was on a Pictionary team with our cousin Laurie and we were playing my brother and our cousin Brian. The girls were kicking ass. Laurie and I were in what I guess would be called “the zone”. We barely had to put pencil to paper and were getting the answers right. The guys insisted that we were cheating. I don’t know if it was that we were winning so easily or our obnoxious gloating that was turning their cheeks red as pincushions. They never played us again. Too bad. I love this game.
  • Monopoly
    I used to cheat like a little freak at this game. I would make my brother Jeff play with me and then turn into a total punk if he tried to buy any of the properties I wanted. I crumbled the Boardwalk card in his face once. I hated losing and I would steal from the bank. Jeff likes to remind me how awful I was about this game. This is one of the most embarrassing remembrances from my childhood.
  • Happy Days
    For about six months or more, maybe when I was in second grade, The Fonz was the coolest thing ever. I remember my mom getting us these 3” buttons with Fonzie’s picture on them and the word “Heyyyyy” written across them. We thought we were hot shit. For Christmas we got the Happy Days game, which had no point to it, other than moving your board piece around the neighborhood block trying to get back to your house and picking cards that said things like, “Your socks fell down at the hop, lose a turn.” The graphics on the box were cool. I wish I still had this game.
  • Miss America Pageant Game
    This game was so lame and so girlie and I was so in love with it. I had no sisters and usually could only get my brother Jeff to play after about the third snow day in a row. It addition to the game board, it had a plastic base with revolving TV camera spinner, contestant cards illustrated with alluring beauties representing all 50 states, and competition cards in personality, swimsuit, evening gown and talent categories. Each player got to pick 7 contestants and there was always a battle over who got to be Miss South Dakota. She had blond ponytails and was from a boring state—I could relate. Plus, the lapels on her shirt were by far the longest and pointiest of any of the other contestants. This meant a lot in 1977. I don’t remember much about the questions. The point was to just get as many of your contestants up to the coveted 5 spots on the camera spinner for the finals. For the life of me, I can’t remember how the winner was chosen. Mostly I think I just liked picking my seven contestants and sashaying them around the stage.

After honing my chops on these board games, in junior high and high school I became slightly obsessed with cards, especially rummy. This led to a keen interest in Tripoloy, a game my parents would play with friends. It combined Michigan Rummy, Poker and Hearts—and you got to bet real money! Oh, the power surge of winning the pot of pennies. I’ve loved card games ever since, but I play so infrequently that I forget the rules. Now the games I usually play involve dice and luck: Triple Yatzee or 10,000. Both allow for friendly banter, conversation, and sashaying to the kitchen for wine. Maybe I learned something from that Miss America game after all.


When she's not fulfilling her editorial duties for 52nd City, Andrea Avery can be found playing Apples to Apples with her nephew. His obsession with the game is karmic payback from her brother for cheating at Monopoly all those years ago.