Wednesday, January 25, 2017

"Abraca ... What?" is the Most Aptly Named Board Game of All Time

Board games. I can't stand 'em. I realize I'm basically alone in this, since almost everyone I know--adult and child alike--loves board games. Remember that time I tried to learn Settlers of Catan? No? You can refresh your memory here. Spoiler alert: it was ugly.

So you can imagine that trying to simultaneously learn and teach a complicated (to me) board game called "Abraca ... What" with/to my kids went kinda like this:

Paige: Mom, can we play that new board game I got for my birthday? Pleasepleasepleaseplease? Canwecanwecanwecanwe?
Me: I don't know honey, I'm not sure we have ti--
Isaac: OOOOH CANIPLAYCANIPLAYCANIPLAY?"
Me: Okay fine, get it down from the shelf. Alright, let's see here. Let me read the instructions. "Game set up: Each player gets six life tokens, four spell stones, one spirit rock, and--"
Paige: Can I be yellow?
Isaac: Oooh, can I be green?
Me: Yes, hang on, you can be whatever colors you want. I'm still trying to figure out the difference between a life token and a spi--
Paige: What are these things for?
Me: I don't know honey, I told you I'm still reading the instructions. Okay, it says, "each player gets ten life tokens, six spell stones, and a reference sheet, the youngest player goes fir--"
Isaac: Youngest player! That's me! What are these little paper cards?
Me: I think those are part of the spell stones. 
Paige: Then what are those plastic black things?
Me: I think they're the life tokens. Oh wait, no. Those are the cases for the spell stones and you put the little cardboard thingies inside them, but you're not supposed to be able to see the other person's spell stones.
Isaac: Why not?
Me: I have no idea. I told you I'm still trying to figure it out. Okay, "the sixth player counter clockwise to the left rolls the di--"
Paige: But we're only playing with three people.
Isaac: Yeah mom, we're only playing with three people!
Me: Oh shit, you're right. Let me start over. "If you're playing with three or fewer people, the player whose birthday falls on the first Tuesday of a leap year rolls the dice four times, then moves his highest number spell stone to the first number in the address number of of his great-grandmother's second house and places it on the board."
Paige: Wait, what? I don't get it.
Isaac: Me neither.
Me: Me neither. GEOFF??
Geoff: I'm not helping you.
Me: PLEASE?! We don't get it!
Geoff: No.
Me: PLEASE?!
Geoff: Dude, no. You can figure it out. I have faith in you.
Me: No I can't.
Paige: No she can't.
Isaac: Really dad, she can't.
Geoff: Sorry. Not helping.
Me: Hang on hang on. I think I get it now. "Once all spell stones are arranged on the board, the player who can't see the first player's spell stones shouts out a spell to see if they have that spell. Then the other player to the left asks if that player has that spell. If he doesn't have the spell, he loses a turn. Example: Tony, Gary, and Anne have three spe--"
Paige: I don't get it.
Isaac: Can I do this fireball spell?
Paige: No Isaac, you can't do that spell until it's your turn!
Me: This is literally worse than trying to do a logic games section on the LSAT. No wonder I didn't get into Harvard Law School, and the person who gave us this game literally went to Harvard Law School.
Isaac: How about this water spell? Can I do that one?
Paige: If you do that one you'll lose a life token.
Me: We have to leave the house now. We're late for dinner.

And that was as far as we got with Abraca-What, emphasis on the "WHAT."



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