Friday, February 02, 2007

Big Night at WSU - Game Time

Let the games begin
Board game night is back and it's got a whole new twist.
Courtney Adams
The Daily Evergreen

Turn on your television to any family channel and you can guarantee that sometime during the commercials you will see one for “Family Game Night.” You will see a happy family sitting around a table playing The Game of Life, jumping up and down with huge grins on their faces.
Now think back on your childhood and remember those moments – you and the family playing board games. But it probably was not as civil. Screams, punches and the occasional obscenity from Mom were the norm.

It was a seemingly happy time, when games meant fake money, small plastic houses and dice – not controllers, memory cards or an Internet link-up with 5,000 of your closest friends.
I am here to say that in the era of video games, board games are making a comeback and party games are on the rise. Sure, board games never left; we have seen them evolve. But now as college students we are rekindling the flame we had for Monopoly and discovering new crazes like Apples to Apples.

Most people at WSU could say they have played their fair share of board games during their time here. Maybe it’s the Palouse and we have nothing to do, but game nights are going on at other campuses. There are students at UW who wouldn’t miss Scrabble Night for anything.
Some people just play every once in a while for fun, but there are people out there who take their games seriously. After all, the purchase of a board game can ring up to more than $30.
There is one such die-hard clan of friends on campus. They scream, they fight, they punch and they play to win.

Every Sunday night, you can hear the commotion from the Sigma Phi Epsilon house. A group of guys from the house and a few girls from a neighboring sorority gather there for a game night where they will shout their way through games until 2 a.m.

They started their game night during Homecoming week last semester and decided they wanted to keep the bond by continuing game night. Now they have anywhere from 10 to 20 people on any given Sunday evening.

Jared Meseroll, a junior human development major who lives at Sigma Phi Epsilon, usually cooks dinner beforehand or some sort of dessert for the group. Then the games begin.
When asked what their favorite thing about game night was, they unanimously shouted, “Competition!” “I get hit, punched – it gets intense,” said Shawn Murphy, a junior accounting major.

They said it’s about winning, each team vying for bragging rights for the next week.
“We can’t help it if we’re the better house,” said Danielle LaBelle, a junior history major.
Their taste in games has evolved since playing Candyland as kids. Now they play Scene-It, in which players watch clips from DVDs and answer questions about films, actors and famous lines.
But there is also everyone’s favorite game, Catchphrase, which is an excuse to see who can yell out an answer the loudest. Apples to Apples is a party game in which players make outrageous comparisons, and the group has taken a liking to it.

All of these “party games” that are not typical board games make competition more important. Because most games involve teams, no one gets left out and the increase in competition provides the rowdiness that marks game night.

“Who’s the most intense?” Murphy asked Kris Owens, a junior majoring in international business, and management and operations. Owens looked for Susan, a regular competitor at game night.

“Susan’s not here,” he said. “Well, then Danielle.” After hours of deafening yells during Apples to Apples, the group retires for the week. On campus it’s not just party games that are becoming popular. Old favorites have started to redesign and revamp their image.

Monopoly has a mega-edition, for those of you who want to build resorts instead of hotels. America voted and Monopoly came out with a Here and Now Edition. Instead of a thimble, players get to prance around the board as McDonald’s fries, a Toyota Prius or even a Motorola cell phone.

The Bookie even sells five versions of Monopoly – including Wazzuopoly, in which you can buy Glenn Terrell Mall if you want.

“[Monopoly] was a childhood game I always played,” said Alexis Teachout, a senior pharmacy major, who usually plays games with her family during breaks.
It does not matter what game you choose to play, as long as it’s rowdy. That seemed to be the idea for senior English major Nikki Dunbar and her friends one weekend in McCall, Idaho, during a game of Catchphrase.

“The cops came we, were so loud,” she said.

With the snow and the cold weather, staying in for game night is a nice alternative to going out.
Christi Poteet, a senior movement studies major, said she likes to play board games “when I’m wanting to stay inside and not go out, and when there’s nothing on TV.” So whether you want to play for a relaxing night with a few friends or a rowdy night with your 20 closest, board games are here to stay.

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