Usually the horror of family game night would be a teeth pulling event of finding something to bond over in the hopes that the family would improve their connection and learn more about each other in the course of this riddling event of snakes and bladders. Instead of fighting to get first to a arbitrary goal in the series of sporadic luck, we have created a common goal for what we would like to achieve by having such game night events. Parents and children alike are working towards improving our knowledge and the hunt for pointless trivia has rendered this tedious task into a outlet of daily life quest for knowledge. Every time we find something to play (well every time I am playing with them anyway) it has been in some shape of trivial pursuit. You move forward in the game and in the world generally by knowledge. It might be tedious and unusable to say the least, but it is knowledge and the personal preparation, by keeping your mind and ears open in the daily life.
I will quickly add that there is the random event of Yathzee at times for the sake of mindless action while talking about life or just something to do to survive the drudges of mind-melting television, but I rarely participate and it creates a feeling of disconnection. My family is made (in my mind) of 4 rings. The center ring for me is my parents, my brother and me. It is that core that I feel everything revolves around. Not in a narcissistic manner, but more a “If this works, then everything else can go to hell for all I care” kind of way.
Back to the regular scheduled show. If we take any kind of game, we will see in its core that is has nothing else to do that being the smartest ass possible. I seldom win in these “competitions” as I usually get the wonderful chances to tell everyone about the political screenwriter that won a Nobel prize in writing books before Gutenberg were even born. Always with the African leaders or the ancient political figures that changed the arrangement of pebbles on a beach just west of Madagascar.
The difference here with having a game that requires that you know the world, instead of dumb luck is a freeing experience for me. I can’t be angry that I lost since there is no silly chance that would make it unfair for everyone. It is purely a channelization of skill and memory. If I don’t know the answer is has nothing to do with my opponents or the game. You can always be angry when someone else gets a question you know the answer too and maybe even enjoy to see them squirm when you are ready with the punchline that will make everyone burst out in orgasmic exaltation or maybe just table wide smirks.
After years of perfecting this sometimes rare event in my family, we’ve tried so many variations and so many countless iterations of the knowledge seeking game. It has been enjoyable and we can truly say that we still enjoy it immensely, even though there is only one winner on the board, it is one of the rare occasions where even the losing players are feeling some form of satisfaction.