“In the jungle you must wait, until the dice read five or eight”
With both “Molly's Game” (not impressed) and the “Jumanji” remake (refuse to see; Robin Williams forever!) both in theaters, we decided to rank board games.
15) Dungeons & Dragons: This game was not part of my youth; I probably learned of its tie to “nerd culture” when “Freaks and Geeks” was briefly on TV. My high school band-nerd friends were playing the Pokémon Trading Card Game, but I wasn't even into that because I don't really do anime. I'm a special kind of nerd.
14) Backgammon: I never learned the rules, but I liked opening my grandmother's fancy case and running my fingers over the felt and the smooth playing chips.
13) Risk: What's with all the board games where you have to make major life decisions and potentially lose crucial assets? Okay, before I launch into a Seinfeld-esque routine, you should know I chose Risk over Life only because of the episode where Kramer and Newman battle in various locations, including Jerry's apartment and the subway.
12) Clue: Because when they spun the game off into a poorly received off-Broadway musical in 1997, they'd gone too far.
11) Jumanji: Yeah, I had the Cardinal Games version. You know, the one without the moving pieces and possibility of spending 26 years in an actual jungle. Lame.
10)Girl Talk: Date Line: Just one iteration of the teenager-themed series of games. I probably played them all in the '90s, but I can still remember the TV jingle for this particular, boy-worshipping version.
9) Snakes and Ladders: I never played it, but when I Googled “Chutes and Ladders,” I got the intriguing backstory about the game originating in India and then being co-opted by the British.
8) Trouble: Who didn't love pushing that “Pop-O-Matic” bubble?
7) Candyland: An absolute thrill when you're playing as a toddler. Brutal when you're an adult playing with your toddler-aged niece.
6) Sorry: I think this might have to be my favorite childhood board game — probably because I dominated in my household. And the “bump” and “sliding” options were fun. I need to buy this game again.
5) Pictionary: This might be one of my favorite games as an adult. Unfortunately, I had a traumatic experience playing as a painfully shy 18-year-old: I was the only black person in the room, and I picked “lynch.” I refused to draw the image or read it out loud. Sorry to bring this List down, but it's just one of the little awkward situations people of color experience.
4) Checkers: I can't think more than two moves ahead, but it's a classic, obviously.
3) Chess: See number four.
2) Scrabble: Undefeated.
1) Monopoly: I have vague memories of staying up late at night in my pajamas watching my family play this game because I was terrible. I'm afraid to try again as an adult because it's been known to ruin friendships, marriages — really any meaningful human relationship. And putting it lower than number one would likely ruin my career.