November 2011

The Little Black Book of Party Games


The holiday season is upon us, which means there are numerous reasons to eat, drink, be merry and generally just party, party, party. If you’re planning a holiday get-together there’s more that goes into its success than just good food and a few drinks. Chances are, you’re going to invite a variety of people who really don’t know each other, so you’ll need to find ways to make them feel comfortable and engage them. Milling around awkwardly while listening to Jingle Bells should be left to blurry junior high memories, otherwise you’ve wasted all that money you spent on brand-name chips and dip.

If you want to break the ice and get your guests involved in the party experience, you have to have a game plan. Literally. Even the simplest of “getting to know you” games can really be a hit if you’ve timed it right. The challenge is knowing when, how and what games to suggest to your guests.

Card Games Around the World


Playing any card game has never been my strong suit. I don't mind passing the time with them on occasion, because my wife loves them, but the old American standards have never really interested me. I'm not a euchre genius and my poker face leaves something to be desired, so I just figured I'm not a card kind of guy.

My wife's family has always been into playing a variety of board and card games when we all get a chance to get together. I can play Monopoly until the cows come home, but when it comes to the card games... meh... not my cup of tea. My brother-in-law, a Texas Hold'em fanatic, decided to give me a copy of Sid Sackson's book, Card Games Around the World, as a gag gift. He said maybe if I had a world's worth of card games to choose from, I'd be able to find something we could play together that I'd actually like.

Book Versus Doing


When I think about learning something like a sport by book, I can't help but go back to “The Karate Kid.” Daniel is trying to learn karate via a book, but gets is butt kicked by the bad guys who get their training in a dojo.

It's one thing to learn the ins and outs of a card game via a book or getting the basics down, but if you truly want to master a sport of game, then you need to get out there and actually play it. There are many movies out there that have the nerdy guys looking thought books and learning how to do things and then they can do it perfectly on the field.

In reality, that's not possible. You can learn how to throw a curve ball in a book, but getting on the mound and throwing one to a batter is completely different. Every ball is different, you need to learn control, there could be wind adjustment and a million other variables that you won't know about until you get out there and do it.

Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game and How it Got That Way


Growing up, there were always board games around the house. Family game night was a staple in our home that lasted into my teen years and is a tradition that I have began for my own children. My favorite game was always Monopoly.

There was just something fun about getting the properties and going around the board over and board again. I had no problem spending the hours needed to complete the game and got quite the reputation for being a vicious Monopoly player.

Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game and How it Got That Way is a book that details everything about the majestic game and how it became one of the most popular games in history. There are variations for everything from Twilight to Star Trek and there is no chance popularity is going to dwindle now.