Monday, January 5, 2015

Oh What Fun It Is!

One of the super fun things we have done this Christmas break is learn a new game... and we have played it a lot! Why? It's really fun, it's easy to learn, and it doesn't take very long to complete a round. The educator in me also loves that it forces practice with numbers and quick computation.

I really think something was lost when electronic gaming became all the rage. Board games have become all but obsolete, along with the fun interaction with a group that they involve. We're old school, and we still love them!

My parents first learned this game when they went to visit family in Tennessee for Thanksgiving. They had such fun with it that my mom bought it for my dad for his stocking at Christmas. We played it for the first time at my parents' house on Christmas Day, after the feast. We got hooked and played it as a family several times in the ensuing days.

When Iivo's dad came to visit for a few days around New Year's, we played with him, too. Not much of a game guy beyond Scrabble—he doesn't love the ruckus and silliness that sometimes accompanies group games—he told us afterwards, "That game is really fun...especially if you're playing with a congenial crowd." (He's probably right about that last point. We don't have anyone who got gloaty and mean when they were winning—nor anyone who got upset or pouty when they weren't—and everyone was pretty good-natured if they found themselves suddenly being trounced and left in the dust. With this game, it really is all in good fun!

The game is a dice game called Farkle, and it is available for pretty cheap at WalMart and places like that. We didn't buy it, however, because you don't really need to. You're better off spending your money on a good (read: quiet) dice cup and some nice dice. I typed up a version of the rules by consulting online, and I used my handy home laminator to make nice reference cards to use during the game. That's all you need, really: six dice and a copy of the rules. I'm happy to share the one I typed up, if you're interested. I also typed up score cards (for up to ten players) for everyone to use—two to a page—since we make everyone who's playing keep score for all players. Yes, it's more math practice, but it also helps with strategy for your turn if you know how many points each player has at any point during the game.

The only thing I can't provide for you is OG's signature exclamation, whenever someone rolls a farkle and loses all their points. Something really is missing, for us, when she's not playing, and no one calls out this happy and funny little consolation:

*Entry 12, The 12 Days of Christmas Blog Challenge 
The title of this blog post is from part of a line from the Christmas classic "Jingle Bells."

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