I come from a long line of game lovers. I learned to play Pinochle before I learned to read . . . practically. My great grandmother, with her gnarly, arthritic hands would shuffle the cards as fast as lightening as she taught us how to play Rummy and Seven-up. As we got older, our nights would be filled with Pictionary and The Farming Game. My most intimate memories of my uncles are set around a card table. We learned to love each other during those nights of laughter and competition and team work. No one was allowed to be a poor sport so we encouraged everyone and only called each other mild names like "meany" or "stinker." The learned were patient with the ignorant, knowing the ignorant might be on your team for the next hand and you wanted them to learn quickly. We never gambled and cheating was only allowed if you were WAY behind, the cheat was blatantly obvious (like saying, in a mock tone of thinking out loud, "I could sure use a 10 of clubs."), and everyone at the table was game.
My husband and I have several games that we like to play. When the children were small, we would get Land Before Time XIII for the kids so we could play a game together. Now that our Pods are getting older, they can play most games with us. As Mom, I notice other great attributes of games: math, geography, memory stimulation, strategy, observational skills, vocabulary, etc. The rules established for me as a child, apply to our game table. The only game I am not allowed to play is Checkers; my temper will not abide that ridiculous game.
Having laid the groundwork that I am a game-lover, playing RISK with a bunch of kids is more than I can bare. It takes FOREVER to set up, there are a lot of tiny pieces and each play takes time and thought and action. Rather than allowing me to go freakin' bananas, my dear husband plays. If I put in Barbie XIII for the girls, I can read my book in peace--until someone needs a drink refill or they are out of popcorn--but, hey, I'll take it. And my son can locate Kazakhstan and Indonesia.