One of my earliest childhood memories is scheming and plotting financial ruin on my grandmother. I'd sit at a kitchen table with $1500 of rainbow-themed money in front of me. A plate of warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies with a tall Tupperware glass filled with ice-cold Kool-Aid was strategically positioned to my right. My tiny tin iron was carefully placed on a colorful board filled with railroads, utilities, and real estate.
The only obstacle of my becoming a real estate mogul was the supplier of the cookies. I loved grandma. But with two dice in my hand, she was going down! This game would last for hours, because my family’s house rules allowed for money to flow freely between players and collecting prize money on "Free Parking." The arguments over rules and the deal negotiations that followed were true bonding experiences. I learned to love my family over tan $100 bills.
When I wasn't plotting financial ruin on Grandma, she was teaching me the odds of a winning poker hand. I could tell you your odds of winning your poker hand before I could do long division. She also wanted to teach me the mathematical ratios behind blackjack, using several decks of cards to play memory. But mom vetoed that lesson. She claimed that skill was frowned upon on the casino tables and considered cheating.
If you haven't guessed, games and gaming were a big part of my childhood. It was one family bonding experience that I treasure. Because of this, I love that the American Library Association sponsors International Games Week. This is an annual celebration of all things games, gaming, and gamers. It doesn’t matter if you like to play board games, card games, video games, or collect a barrel of monkeys, all games count. Because it is not about the game, it is about taking a timeout with your family and having a lot of fun together. Gaming is multi-generational and everyone can play together.
This year, International Games Week is November 7-13. Need some suggestions for new games to play? Here is a list of Print and Play Resources, compliments of the American Library Association's Gaming RoundTable.