#515 Nailing that perfect move in a board game

I’m terrible at board games.

Look at me: trying to roll doubles to bust outta jail, putting down bill or door on a no-word score, and frantically stabbing my pencil at my scribbly drawing over and over while the hourglass sand drips down. You see, this why I love those rare moments when even I manage to nail a perfect board game move:

10. When someone challenges a word  you made up in Scrabble and it ends up being a real word. Thanks for your giant, nonsensical vocabulary, Scrabble Dictionary. We’ll take op, pe, or xi to the bank any day.

9. Eating the last marble in Hungry, Hungry Hippos. When the game begins it’s a gobble, gobble, give mom a headache feeding frenzy. But when there’s only one white marble spinning around everything turns into goosebump-popping, eyebrow-furrowing strategy and wit. Make your move and calmly splash back into the river.

8. Suddenly noticing you got a surprise diagonal in Connect Four. When you realize you won the game make sure you throw your nose in the air, give a slow and evil smile, and calmly pet your cat. This was your plan all along.

7. Becoming a doctor in LIFE. When you land on the top salary spot you’re laughing for the rest of the game. Just make sure your station wagon doesn’t topple off the side the mountain spilling your pink and blue kids everywhere.

6. When your partner figures out that bumpy lump of purple clay you’re molding in Cranium is  actually a cheeseburger. Good work, Michelangelo.

5. Guessing someone’s Mastermind combination in three tries. Even though it’s usually a fluke make sure you take a minute to stare absently at the ping-pong table and daydream about life as a professional codebreaker.

4. Actually using the horse to kill off a major player in Chess. That legless knight never seems very powerful until the moment you realize he’s in trampling distance of a big kill. Make sure you use the piece to purposefully whack your opponent across the room and, for extra fun, let out an obnoxious whinny.

3. Using the stock answer for a Trivial Pursuit category and getting the pie piece. Thanks for saving the day Carl Lewis, Marlon Brando, or nitrogen.

2. Coming up with a lie so good in Balderdash that when they’re all read out you almost believe your own definition is the real one. You’re at the top of your game so enjoy the moment and get ready to reel in some suckers.

1. Rolling double-sixes in Monopoly and landing between the other guy’s Park Place and Boardwalk hotels. Good move skipping the five-star joints in favor of crashing on Baltic Avenue. The kids didn’t need a swimming pool or HBO anyway.

People, you know and I know it: these Perfect Board Game Moments can change the game and knock your opponent straight outta the living room. They’re beautiful little breaks in the middle of tense moments that fill family night with a great big shot of


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— Email message —

“Hi Neil, I found your website – and your book – while taking a break from my business law text book.  (Business law = BO-RING.) I’m glad that you think the way you do… loving the details of life can make a huge difference between being sad and dissatisfied, and grateful and content.

My boyfriend is moving away to just-about-Canada a week shy of my much anticipated graduation, his birthday, our officially-together-for-one-year mark.  He is sad, and I am sad, but I’m sending The Book of Awesome with him, with notes written on the pages – thoughts, jokes, memories.  It will be like watching a movie together… ” – Missi

Photos from: here, here, here, here, here, and here

85 thoughts on “#515 Nailing that perfect move in a board game

    1. I swear i was refreshing well past 12:02 AM and i didn’t see the #515. It took me til 12:04 to see it.

  1. hungry hungry hippos is the most satisfying game i have ever played. EVERY ball eaten is a 515!

    Tyler, i hate you. Idk how you beat me to it, but believe me, it will never happen again.

  2. Tyler and Nicole. Tsk.

    On another note:

    AHHHHHHH BALDERDASH!! Legit that is one of the coolest games ever and NOBODY I know has heard of it. I’m so glad there is someone out there who appreciates the awesomeness of obscure vocabulary.

    But one of the most awesome board game moments is when you fill out the entire list in a game of scattergories. Oh, the letter is “K”? No biggie. Kayaking, Kazakhstan, The Kiterunner, Knuckle Sandwich. Eat it.

    1. First sentence: I am seriously in agreement.

      Anyway, I love Balderdash … and very few of my friends know what it is, either. =/

        1. Sounds like my Taboo game, and my Trivial Pursuit, and Scrabble, and Scattegories. Nobody wants to ever play with me, cuz they know that I’ll win…

    1. Yep. Helen Keller for the win. My friends and I tend to play ‘dirty apples’ though. It’s a lot harder with the Jr. version of the game.

  3. Why am I the only one to comment on the fact that the FIRST word played in the pictured game of Scrabble is a proper noun, and thus invalid?

    1. There’s also no way the word beautiful can be formed…same goes for luminousity…which is also not a word.

      Shirley is also a proper noun.

      1. it can be played, just not on one turn. you just have to add onto other words. alas-dair and beaut-if-ul. the third word would be luminou-s-ity

          1. I heard they were going to start allowing proper nouns in Scrabble now. A certain Scrabble purist in my household was quite discombobulated about that!

    2. i was also concerned about luminousity, which is not an accurate spelling. but i noticed there are far too many letters, so it’s clearly not a real game. it was just created to look pretty. seeing alasdair played in a fake game still infuriated me about the new rule change…

      scrabble. it’s serious.

  4. i am gonna have to point out another fallacy in this one like KK did.

    there is not a chance between Park Place and Boardwalk in Monopoly. it is actually a luxury tax spot. either way, its still a great moment landing between the two hotels.

    and other than that, these moments really are all AWESOME!

  5. Oh yeah, I dig this one. Because I suck at strategizing in general, I’m all about those chance-amazing moves that make you look like a genius!

    1. That’s how I am in Scrabble. I don’t know if it’s a lack of patience or the fact that my sister and I never played by the rules (all words were a go and we never kept score), but I get such anxiety when I play Scrabble with people who actually employ some strategy behind their letter placements. I’m just willy-nilly placing letters down, celebrating the fact that I even have enough to make a word.

      1. Wow…I thought I was a decent Scrabble player until I was reading other comments on here. I guess my family and I never played by the rules either. LOL….

    1. Ha!

      I played this with my little nephew recently, and he’s at an age where he REALLY likes to win at games, so normally I do all I can to make sure we get the right result.

      Well, Chutes & Ladders is actually a really difficult game to “throw” given that it is 100% dictated by chance. If I started to pull to far ahead, I always had to distract him with a quick “look over there”, and then mis-count my way to the biggest Chute.

      Stressful game, I tell ya.

      1. There was a time when I had to work really hard to throw games of Dinosaur Checkers with my daughter. Like every one of my pieces would be set up for triple jumps. It was horrible! Fortunately that stage didn’t last too long.

          1. Ya, probably! I’m so non-confrontational.

            Me: Sure, no problem, you can have Kamchatka, I hardly even use it anyway. Why don’t you go ahead and take that over for me? It would really help me out, I’m stretched so thin over here in South America.

            1. Omg, I am too. I hate having to be “mean” in games. I’m terrible at Sorry or other games where you have to choose someone upon whom to inflict misfortune.

  6. YES! I love it. What about when you figure out Cluedo before anyone else and get to do The Big Reveal, Poirot-style… (or is that just how we do it in my house? Complete with very un-Belgian victory dance…)

  7. Also AWESOME is when you see somebody else has the opportunity for a game-killing move and they fail to see it.

    We did a draughts/checkers tournament in our class when I was about 12 (yeah, we were cool) and in the semi-final me and the girl I was playing had both racked up a number of Kings unscathed and were jockeying for position. I made a move and instantly saw that I’d just connected a chain of four of my Kings that she could jump over and take, leaving me with one or two.

    She didn’t spot it, somehow, because she was so set on a plan to take a single piece elsewhere she’d been working on for a a couple of previous turns.

    And there was much rejoicing.

  8. Getting a handful of skips, reverses and draw 2’s in Uno! I am not an awesome Uno player, so when I get a hand like this…..its on!!

    Guessing the killer, weapon, and room in your first try in CLUE. You just take ‘a stab in the dark,’ and it turns out you are right. I usually play this game with my dad, stepmom and little brother and our first guesses are always the same. Mine is Miss Scarlet in the Dinning room with the candle stick. I can only remember one time when that was acutally it, but it was soooooo awesome!!

    Sinking your all of your opponent’s ships in Battleship before they even get one hit on you. Battleship is my game……I don’t know if I just have a really good stategy, know how to hide my ships just right, or if hubby is just that bad….but its always awesome!

  9. I don’t know if Scene It counts as a board game, but I absolutely love playing it with people who think they’re sooooo smart because they made a point to buy and watch all the movies that were on the game, and then they get an ALL PLAY video question and they think it’s going to be about whoever was in the scene, but it’s actually like, “how many beachballs were in the background?” and they have no idea. I love that.

  10. I haven’t played a board game in *ages*. Guess Jenga doesn’t count, does it? The game of Life, we used to get bored playing it properly and ended up pretending that it was a real town, driving the cars all over and giving the peg people names and such. Okay, yeah….we were weird kids.
    Couldn’t play with Barbies all the time.

  11. I love love love Cranium! We always play boys v girls after dinner when friends come round.

    There nothing sweeter that moment when your team mate recognises your terrible impersonation/drawing/sculpture.

    High fives all round! Awesome :o)

        1. Ack! No way, Bekah/jdurley! If you guys didn’t already have homework assignments, I’d make your homework assignment be to fly out here to SD and play Risk with me! That game is suh-weet!

          I’m sure that some bigger nerd is going to chime in that if you’re really into strategy games you should play Axis & Allies or Settlers of Catan, but RISK will always hold a special place in my heart.

          Irkutsk & Yakutsk, FTW!

          1. I played RISK like 6 years ago. I was great at it, but it lasted FOREVER! I guess that’s kinda the point or whatever. I really was never bored with it, but it just took such a long time. I don’t think I know anyone anymore that knows how to play RISK. I may just have to come visit you for a game. LOL…….

          2. I have never played RISK … I watched one of my roommates and a few of his friends play, and they had tried to turn it into a drinking game. Therefore … I don’t think I got an accurate portrayal of what it means to play RISK.

            1. I vote Freddo, Bekah, JDurley, Laura, and myself get together for a game of risk. Eh? Eh?

              Neil can come too.

              1. Ummm, I am sooooooo there! However, I need to know if this shindig is going down in Canada or the States because I’ll need to get a passport.


                Also, maybe we could make our colored squares t-shirts for the hypothetical convention.

                1. That’s no fair. You automatically get the cool shirt.

                  But maybe.

                  I’d probably make mine into a hat. I could always use a good hat.

      1. AMEN! I played my 1st and last RISK game at around 14. My cousins and I wasted an ENTIRE thanksgiving day.

  12. Missi- I am doing the same thing for my boyfriend who is graduating from college and going off to med-school thousands of miles away! So many of the awesome things remind me of him, me, and us!

    1. Kaley –

      best of luck to you both.
      One day at a time, and pretty soon YOU can be that couple making out at the Farmers’ Market.

      If that isn’t awesome, I don’t know what is.

  13. Uno was mentioned earlier… but how about Uno Attack? I love it when I push the button and nothing happens but the next sucker who has to push it gets a stream of cards that makes their deck two inches thick. Awesome.

  14. Btw: This is another board game post. Isn’t that my cue to mis-quote some story I heard about some Monopoly champ, only to have Mike Dover swoop in and inform me that I am (poorly) plagarizing his comments from previous threads?


  15. What the heck is wrong with your website? Waiting for wordpress…. Half of of the pics never loaded. Sorry, your host needs help.

    1. I thought it was just my computer being stubborn and slow, but seeing that other people are having problems makes me not want to throw my computer out the window.
      Its being super slow for me today and telling me that my comments didn’t post when they really did.

  16. C’mon … “You sunk my battleship” has to be #1 + what about Kerplunk or ‘Trouble, trouble that’s the game” ……..many more – this category could be a book all on it’s own !!!
    Cheers =:-)

  17. I like getting to move 20 extra squares in Parcheesi when you land on someone, then at the 20th square, you land on someone again and get another 20. That is living!

  18. 485 posts. I have read 485 posts. I love this blog and I only started reading it today. Sunday afternoons: The time where you can get anything done because there is nothing to do.
    Thank you for a well-spent 3 hours.

  19. Is it wrong of me to love this moment a little bit more when I play with my kids? Trying to teach them how to be competitive! ;)

  20. Gregory Peck was always my backup answer in Trivial Pursuit. Awesome that someone else does it!

  21. I would like to add that when playing Scene-It, Sigourney Weaver is always my backup answer.

    Surprisingly, it works really really well.

  22. Oh man, the craziest Scrabble word ever used in a game between the BF and I: I had opened him up with a T between two triple word tiles… He managed to get out “QUETZALS”, which is in the Scrabble dictionary we used. Two 10-point letters (Q&Z), two triple word score tiles, AND all 7 letters out. The guy won the game with one word!

  23. I once played a 7 year old boy; it was his first scrabble game ever. He speed read the rules in seconds; then won the game with remarkable abilities and selection of plays on words, with an “Exceptional” score.
    I could see he was a genious, but due to some life circumstances, he’d been deemed something far less fortunate. I wish I could’ve done so much more and can only pray someone will see this too and he’ll reach his true and authentic potential one day.
    Who ever created the scrabble board in the picture did an “exceptional” job!

  24. How about when you take a wild, random, non-strategical guess in Clue, and just happen to nail the perp, weapon and room all in one.

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