Ask any parent and they’ll tell you about some of the amazing moments they have had with their children. They’ll probably even show you an additional photo of the occasion you didn’t particularly want to see.
That first cuddle in the hospital just after he was born. The first time those teeny fingers clasped around theirs. The first smile, first chuckle, first word.
Well, it’s fair to say the soil becomes a little less fertile after that first word. The memories gradually fade and by the time they’re nearly three you almost forget what it’s like to have one of those ‘first’ moments – the unencumbered, glorious joy of fresh parenthood is weathered over the years by an endless tidal wave of vomit, snot and faeces… And then, just when you think those special moments are a thing of the past, your little one goes and surprises you…
So, Ezra and I were playing a game of (the imaginatively-entitled) “Where’s-the“ the other day. It’s a book-related hide and seek – “Ezra, where’s-the-lion?”, “Ez, where’s-the-cat?”, “Where’s-the-house-on-fire?” etc etc – I’m sure you get the idea.
So he turns to me and says “Daddy, where’s-the sunglasses?” whilst
reading one of his books.
I dutifully pretend to search the page for a few seconds before exclaiming “There they are!” to his obvious delight.
And then there is a pause and an unlikely silence. He looks at me. One of those “I’m about to say or do something really significant” looks. And he says those four words every self-respecting father longs to hear:
“It’s your turn, Daddy.”
Oblivious to the magnitude of his words, he waits patiently for my response. But my mind has been blown.
If my son has grasped the concept of taking turns, then that means he can play board games. And if he can play board games, then, well, he can play board games!
Suddenly my mind is running through my game collection, assigning an entirely arbitrary lower age limit to each. Roll for the Galaxy – 10 at least, Pandemic – 7+, Dominion – 6ish, Tiny Epic Galaxies – maybe 8 at a push… And so it goes on. Through the Ages, Agricola, Puerto Rico, Tzolk’in, Netrunner, Five Tribes… All over 10.
Surely, though, if he can take turns then he can play board games and if he can play board games, then there must be a game he can play?
And so, I made a vow there and then. A vow to dedicate my life to finding games that he can play at his current age. And then mercilessly defeating him at all of them.
This blog will serve as a record of our journey of discovery – a tale of a toddler lost in the unfathomable labyrinth of modern tabletop gaming, guided ably by the strong hand of his heroic father resting gently on his shoulder. A lone knight holding his ground against the amassed forced of board game complexity that would seek to …
“Daddy!” Ezra looks puzzled. “It’s your turn!”
“Oh yes, Ez-Bez, I’m sorry – and soon it will be yours…”
I resist the temptation to employ an evil cackle and the game of “Where’s-the” goes on.
Join us back here tomorrow when our adventure begins with our first joint review of Animal Upon Animal…