We Got Game

Question! How does your living room go from this:

Our apartment, clean and tidy

To this:

In the middle of Balderdash

in the space of four and a half hours?

Two words, my friends: Game Night.

I'd been talking a lot of smack about Game Night for about a year, threatening to introduce it into my social calendar so I could kick all my friends' butts in Trivial Pursuit, and then a few days ago, I was all BRING IT ON, Game Night is HAPPENING, come over with some board games and LET'S PARTY.

Don't you just love board games? I just love board games. I would take board games over wild and crazy shindigs any night of the week, but guess what? Here is the thing about having a Game Night: you get both.

First, we played Balderdash, which might just be the most hilarious game ever invented. It's all about lying pretending you know something about something you don't, and how it works is like this: each round, a different person picks a card and reads aloud a real word---or a movie title, acronym, law, or person---that no-one has ever heard of, and all the other people write down what that word sounds like it should mean (or if it's a movie title, what it sounds like it should be about, or if it's a person, what he sounds like he should be famous for, and so on.) The aim is to convince your fellow players that your definition is the right one, but the words are all strange ones like "futtock," and while I'm sure you are well aware that a futtock is actually "one of the curved timbers that forms a rib in the frame of a ship," my dad once tried to convince us all in an infamous Burns Family Game of Balderdash that a futtock was, in fact, "a small pillow, commonly found in Scotland." (Susie, for what it's worth, wrote that it was "a person who is addicted to gelatin.")

Anyway, so once you've all written down your fake definitions and handed them to the person who read aloud the word in the first place, he or she reads all of the definitions to the group---with the real one mixed in with the fake ones, see---and everyone takes a turn guessing which one is actually right.

Here is what is guaranteed: you will realize that you have some hilarious friends, ones who give the (faux) plot of a (real) movie titled Mrs Blossom's Bliss as "an elderly widow discovers the W Hotel" (hi, Moose), or the word "zwinger" as "a sexual athlete with bad handwriting" (hi....uh, again, Moose). You will also laugh so hard that you don't need to do your abdominal exercises at the gym for, like, a whole month. Or ever again, really.

After Simon had won Balderdash and we had all eaten our weight in pizza (and Irish whiskey cake with vanilla ice cream and warm Irish coffee sauce, for which I had to buy a whole bottle of whiskey that I now have to use up somehow) (Oh, the horror! Say a prayer for me!), we moved on to Guitar Hero, which Nathan and Alison had very kindly brought over with them (and which, even more kindly, they left.)

Sean plays very seriously

Guitar Hero, in case you were wondering, is awesome. Sadly, I am not too awesome at Guitar Hero.

Oh yeah, man, I can jam with the best of them

Alison, however, totally is:

Alison is amazing

You know, it's funny, one of the things I was most worried about when it came to moving to San Francisco was leaving all my Charleston friends behind and having to make new ones---and before that, I couldn't imagine leaving behind my London friends and finding new ones in America. When you've spent your entire life moving from one country to the next, making new friends gets steadily more daunting every time you have to do it. Can there really be any more people left in the world who laugh at the same things I laugh at, you think, whom I actually like enough that I will bother scrubbing my toilet so that I can invite them over to my apartment?

Sitting around my coffee table last night, I marveled that only a year ago I hadn't known any of these people in my living room, and now here we all were, playing dorky board games on a Saturday night and laughing so hard that at one point, I swear, I actually couldn't breathe. So I guess we just do it then, this constant shedding off of the old and embracing of the new. And every time, we're lucky enough to find the people we like most.

1
blogosaurus
Mar 03, 2008

Best party game ever? Apples To Apples. A Mensa award winner and swept the board games awards the year it came out (if you care about that kind of thing - I cite it to up the odds you'll take my recommendation seriously!). Very simple rules, and a guaranteed gut buster for laughing.

Apples to Apples is a card game where each player has a hand full of cards with nouns on them (Pumpkin pie, running shoes, Germany 1941, the inside of the sun, Elizabeth Taylor, etc.). One player places an adjective word down on the table (soft, delightful, strange, squishy, etc.) and players race to put their best matching noun down as fast as they can. Slowest card is out; person who played the adjective gets to select the winner from the remaining cards by any criteria.

It is truly the most fun my game addicted gang of friends has ever played.

2
Camels & Chocolate
Mar 03, 2008

Looks like fun! But I think you meant Beyond Balderdash, as just plain Balderdash is the boring ole old school one with just the words, no categories - am I right? My friends and I planned Game Night in NYC for about six straight months, and it never came to fruition, so we eventually had to pack up an entire SUV of board games and drive to Vermont in order to make Game Night happen. Seven gals with a stock of wine and Oreos and a private chalet in the mountains but nowhere to go do the perfect Game Night make.

And I totally know what you mean about the friend thing. It seems to get harder with age.

And I agree with Blogosaurus, Apples to Apples is the second funnest board game for a group. But only if you know each other quite well. And there is an ample supply of booze on tap. (Both criteria seem to have been met at your Game Night.)

3
House of Jules
Mar 03, 2008

I absolutely love your living room picture wall! As for game night, it is one of the best things to do with a group of friends, especially like you wrote, the hilarious ones! Our favorites are Cranium and Trivial Pursuit (the pop culture DVD edition), and we play for high stakes: the loser has to supply the wine for the next game night, and the winner gets all the bragging rights. Good times!
Jules
House of Jules

4
Kalynne Pudner
Mar 03, 2008

I think I can speak for all of us Nathan-groupies who frequent your blog courtesy of the First Page Contest, that he was instantly recognizable in the first (populated) picture. Man, does that guy need a haircut.

Sounds like a fabulous evening, Holly. If I ever make it out to San Francisco, may I come? I won't even comment on Nathan's hair; promise.

5
Catharina
Mar 03, 2008

Can I just say that I really, really love your living room? Makes me wish I actually had a living room...

Also, game nights are the best. I kind of mixed one with Christmas this year and got my family to play "Who am I", where you have a post-it note with a person/character/etc (in our case Christmas-related) stuck to your forehead and you have to ask yes or no questions and try to figure out who you are. Ah, the family sitting around the Christmas tree with hot pink post-its on their foreheads. Priceless.

6
Super-S
Mar 03, 2008

I love game night! I instituted one back in Cairo and tried to do the same when I moved to Belfast, but it hasn't really caught on yet. Sadness. I'll manage it yet. Also? Another fun game? Taboo!

As with everyone else, I love your living room. So lovely. I'm also amused by the fact that someone used a wine cork as their game piece.

7
jen
Mar 03, 2008

Oh my gosh...

That made me all warm and gooey on the inside and more importantly, it made me want to invite everyone over for a game night.

8
jonniker
Mar 03, 2008

You've just given me hope, for I moved to a new part of the country (like, YESTERDAY) and am hopeful that I'll make new friends as well.

God, does anything sound more lame than hoping to meet new friends as an adult? It sounds vaguely desperate, though of course, it isn't.

9
Raven
Mar 03, 2008

Looks like a great time!!

Your apartment is adorable, I love it :)

10
e.
Mar 03, 2008

You played the violin when you were young, right? Me, too. Let's blame our Guitar Hero failings on that, because I am also not so good there...

11
Cait
Mar 03, 2008

Oh man I loooove apples to apples. You should try Guitar Hero Rock Band- you get to have like four people playing at once, and it includes horrible singing.
Sidenote- where is your shirt from? I absolutely love it/want it. In the future, I think you need to caption all pictures as such: "Shirt courtesy of H&M, jeans courtesy of Banana Republic"

12
Nothing But Bonfires
Mar 03, 2008

e. -- no violin lessons, I'm afraid; I was strictly a clarinet kind of girl!

Cait -- top is from TJ Maxx about a year ago, made by that random Willi Smith brand that you never see anywhere APART from TJ Maxx!

13
Cory
Mar 03, 2008

Before the kidlets came along we used to have game night. I loved Balderdash!! Of course, by the end of the night everyone could tell I was lying...it was hard to keep my mind out of the gutter.

14
sizzle
Mar 03, 2008

Game night rules. How fun!

And your place is super cute. :)

15
beth
Mar 03, 2008

Your house is gorgeous!
You should try Taboo... THAT is some funny stuff!
:)

16
barbie2be
Mar 03, 2008

i live down the penninsula from you but i totally want to come to your next game night. ;) i love games. my family won't play trivial pursuit with me because apparently my tiny little noggin is a triva graveyard.

17
jennifer in sf
Mar 03, 2008

Game night looks awesome, I think I'm going to need to force that on my friends. And make one of them buy Guitar Hero.

Also, where do you order your pizza from? It looks delicious, and I have yet to settle on a pizza place.

18
Leah
Mar 03, 2008

I don't remember the last time I laughed so hard. Y'all are some seriously funny people.

19
brandi
Mar 03, 2008

I love Balderdash! We have a few words in our vocabulary from that game, only when we use them it's in reference to one of the fake definitions. For example, the loose skin around your elbow is your 'goonch'. I have no idea what a goonch actually is, but my husband convinced us all that it was the elbow skin, so that's what it means now.

I am scarily awesome at Guitar Hero. I will smoke you all. :)

20
Ryan
Mar 03, 2008

Ok... Um... I don't know if you meant that to be a totally inspiring post, but um... it was. To me. Like, I may or may not have shed a tear don'tjudgeme.

21
Nothing But Bonfires
Mar 03, 2008

JenniferInSF -- we like Za. You have to brace yourself when you call them to place your order because the people are some serious assholes on the phone (EVERY time! I have no idea why! And EVERYONE I know says this!) but the pizza is totally 100% worth it. Also, it's only on the phone that they're rude; if you go in, they're disturbingly nice.

22
Moose
Mar 03, 2008

I woke up Sunday morning and my stomach STILL hurt from laughing so hard.

23
rosalicious
Mar 03, 2008

I feel the exact same way about my friends in Denver ;)

Also: ditto on Apples to Apples. Way fun. And if you're feeling like acting like a 22-year-old again (though, my friends and I play this and we're in our early 30s) turn Jenga into a drinking/truth or dare game by writing on the bottom of the tiles with a pencil....you'll realllllly get to know people that way!

24
jennifer in sf
Mar 03, 2008

NBB - Za! I forgot about them. They do make great pizza, and are shockingly rude on the phone. My dramatic friend "cut them out" because of this. I'll just have to order from them stealthily. Thanks!

25
Maya
Mar 03, 2008

First of all- great apt!

I was reading about your childhood- you have some great stories an dyou have travelled so much- how fun!

26
Nathan
Mar 03, 2008

Moose definitely gets MVP of Balderdash -- I am still cracking up about "quilt riddled with smallpox."

27
Nothing But Bonfires
Mar 03, 2008

"A young boy discovers a blanket riddled with smallpox!" Now, THAT'S a movie I'd like to see.

28
gina in sc
Mar 03, 2008

I am so good at guitar hero. its a crime really. lol. my 9 yr old boy thinks his mom rocks,. which i kinda do . rofl.

i love game night too. glad you are having a good time in CA.

29
Moose
Mar 03, 2008

MVP of Balderdash - YES! I'm going to write that on a sign and hang it around my neck.

30
denise
Mar 03, 2008

We had a game night a few nights ago - it didn't start as a game night. First we played some drinking games because it had been a while since anyone had done so, and then we broke out Cranium and ended up playing until one in the morning like the rubble-rousing hooligans we are.

I love game night.

31
kat
Mar 04, 2008

I swear, almost every time we get with friends, it's game night. We're big Taboo, Guesstures, Pictionary fans.

And we just played Clue! which was excellent as well.

32
Michele
Mar 04, 2008

You are such an inspiration Holly! I've wanted to try a game night forever and now I've got to. I must whip my friends at Trivial Pursuit!

33
Carroll
Mar 04, 2008

So, Sean somehow intuited that Guitar Hero would be involved and dressed specifically in his "Studly Rock Star" outfit in anticipation of the occasion?

Fans of Sean, unite!

34
elizabeth
Mar 04, 2008

hi holly
i love the last sentence. it's so sweet. and true. i love reading your blog.

35
Rachael W
Mar 04, 2008

I LOVE word games like Balderdash! Apples to Apples is pretty fun, too.

36
gina
Mar 04, 2008

Wrong that I cried at that last paragraph? Goodness gracious, Holly. I can't ever get over your writing.

37
Sarah
Mar 04, 2008

Like Balderdash but even better--Wise and Otherwise! You get the beginnings of obscure sayings/proverbs from different countries and each person has to try to complete the phrase... hours of gut-busting laughter. Hooray for game night!

38
Mandy
Mar 04, 2008

If you love board games, you should definitely check out Ticket to Ride. We've played it every single weekend since my friend bought it. It's kind of hard to explain but really, check it out. You won't be sorry.

39
Holly
Mar 05, 2008

My brother just got Guitar Hero and it's the first video game I've been able to play! Just a tip though..you really should be looking at the screen not at the guitar :)
Here in IL, game nites are a weekly happening, gotta love them!

40
jess
Mar 05, 2008

i love game nights! we've had people over to play poker, guitar hero, and apples to apples. we've also played games like mille bornes, tarot, settlers of catan and pirate's dice at game nights. they are a total blast...and should be done much more often.

41
Sarcomical
Mar 05, 2008

i am now all aching for a game night. some mad gab, running charades, anything!

;)

42
superblondgirl
Mar 05, 2008

Oh, I LOVE Balderdash- I haven't played it in years, though. We used to hang the best movie title cards on the fridge so we could laugh at them all the time.
Honestly, though, I am jealous. I don't know how you do it, maybe I am deficient in some way, but I don't make friends. I don't have anyone to invite over for game night. I keep thinking it will magically happen, people like me will pop up and stop over for a beer and it'll be awesome, and then years go by and no one ever pops up or over or anything. I feel like such a dork, but Dammit! I am lonely.

43
winomom
Mar 05, 2008

You've got a great chair in there...cream? With metal frame, studs along the edges? Who makes it? What a great space...

44
Chiada
Mar 05, 2008

Your living room (and bedroom) are decorated so awesomly! It just goes to show that "apartment beige" walls can work in a decor and still look great. Great, great job on the interior decorating. I can't wait to get my place looking hip so I can put some pictures up.

45
Jemima
Mar 05, 2008

Dang! I'm still so pissed that we missed it, mainly because I want to see Simons play Welcome to the Jungle on Guitar Hero. Sweeeeeet...

Next time?

46
Nothing But Bonfires
Mar 05, 2008

Definitely. You and I will duet.

47
gorillabuns
Mar 06, 2008

I may not be a pro at BS'ing but I DO rock Guitar Hero.

48
metalia
Mar 06, 2008

If I come back for another visit soon, can I come to Game Night, please? :)

49
Nothing But Bonfires
Mar 06, 2008

Metalia, it will be REQUIRED.