Top Ten Things Not to Do Playing Board Games

Ten Things not to do


The inspiration for this list is the approaching holidays where families all gather around and play a board game or two. I hope you enjoy the list.

10 If you are playing a board game, do not insist on using the same token as last year. If you d, Β at best, you will be teased for being a stick in the mud. At worst, you’ll have to sit out the game since your older brother already laid claim to the piece. (You believe he did that on purpose don’t you, Chester?)

9 If you are playing a board gamed, not argue with Β Tiny the WWF champ who is spending the holidays at your house as part of a prison holiday release program, when he lays down a scrabble word XXZZWMP. If you do, at best you’ll need to leave the game. At worst, you’ll need to find some ice for that black eye. (Mama said not to argue with Tiny didn’t she, Conor?)

8 If you are playing a board game, do not think by getting monopolies on all the properties you will win. If you do, at best no one will have money left. At worst, you could be the cause of your unemployed brother-in-law to go off the deep end. (Maybe you should have let him have a few wins Collin. You need to talk him down off the roof.)

7 If you are playing a board game, do not start belly aching if you must go to jail. If you do, at best the other players will make fun of you. At worst, you will cause everyone to decide to do something different. (Not much fun playing the game alone is it, Cyrus?)

6 If you are playing a board game, do not try to mark the career cards so you can pick the best career. If you do, at best you might get caught. At worse, even if you cheat you lose anyway. (How does this happen, Chance? With a name like yours you could have just played the game.)

6 If you are playing a board game, do not shout out who killed Mr. Boddy of Tudor Mansion until all the clues are exposed. If you do, at best the game is over. At worst, you will be eating Thanksgiving dinner outside on the porch. (Kind of chilly here in Minnesota at Thanksgiving huh, Cecil?)

5 If you are playing a board game, do not set that BIG GULP cup too close to the game. If you do, at best the condensation off the cup may get some money wet. At worst, an excited player will inadvertently tip the cup over. (Guess where all that soda went, Cormac? Yup that’s right the tsunami of Coke and ice wiped the game out and FEMA doesn’t want to hear about it.)

4 If you are playing a board game, do not think you have to play until there is a clear winner. If you do at best, it will be hours. At worst, the game could go on for the entire weekend. ( you planned on doing other things, didn’t you Crispin? Like take a shower.)

3 If you are playing a board game, do not slip from reality. If you do, at best others will notice. At worst, you will need to decompress once the game is over. (Your psychologist is not available on Sundays, Carlin. You need to lay down.)

2 If you are playing a board game, do not try to confuse your fellow players with some off the wall move. If you do, at best you will be reminded to stick to the rules. At worst, you off the wall move will backfire and you’ll lose all your gold. (Now what are you going to use for food huh, Chase? Beginning to feel the specter of starvation aren’t you? What was that about reality?)

1 If you are playing a board game, do not think the rest of the players don’t notice your extra helpings of $100.00 bills as you do your banking duties. If you do, at best you’ll be asked to return the bills. At worst you will be formally banned from the family games and turned over to the justice department for bank fraud. (Okay so the justice department is not interested, Curt. It is still mighty embarrassing.)



  1. This takes me back…my Mum and Dad used to visit for the holidays and both of them would stay up until there was a clear winner…everyone else learned to go to bed and leave them to it. x

    1. Thant is a warm story, Jane. Thanks for sharing it. πŸ˜€

  2. Love the references to the different board games from our era. … and Oh no to the dreaded Big Gulp.

    1. PS: Fittingly, from The Onion – Obama Sinks Family Savings Into Developing Presidential Tabletop Game

      1. Ha ha ha . Perfect.

      1. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a Big Gulp!

      2. If you have 7-11’s in Cinci you can find one. It is a 32oz soft drink. (I know who would want a 32oz soft drink)

      3. I don’t think we have anymore 7-11s …. but I image variations of Big Gulp live on under another name.

      4. Some are called community swimming pools.

      5. After all, everything is bigger in Texas.

  3. Gwen Plano · ·

    Too funny…those were the days, weren’t they? You’ve brought back some fond memories with this list. Monopoly and Scrabble were big in our household. πŸ˜€

    1. Mine too. The Game of Life was another.

  4. Number one reminded me of a friend. I always had to keep an eye on her when she was the banker. πŸ™‚

    1. Ha ha ha. Iove those sneaky bankers. Thanks, Jill

  5. My family enjoyed board and card games during the holidays. The Thanksgiving pinochle games were legendary. Nobody seems to do that any more.

    1. I know. We used to set a game on a table and kept coming back to it. We used to play poker, gin rummy, and Yahtzee.

      1. The world changed. Now they all look at their phones even during dinner.

      2. I have outlawed phone at dinner. Of course, no one shows up for dinner any more.

      3. I want to use one of your lines now. “How’s that working out, bunkie?”

  6. I’d simply say not to play Monopoly. At all. Relationships have perished in those games.

    1. Especially after a ten hour match. Thanks, Charles.

      1. Ouch. Risk is another one.

  7. Ugh – I can’t play Monopoly to this day… Not even the Lord of the RIngs edition! πŸ˜›

    1. Ha ha ha. Thanks for sharing your angst, Jan.

  8. Soooo funny!

    1. Thank you, Jennie. πŸ˜€

      1. You’re welcome, John.

  9. It’s always a great list when I have to make notes while reading it.

    10 – I want to be the boot – must be the boot

    8 – My daughter and I both let the other one get certain properties. There are others that are fair game, and then there are the railroads πŸ™‚

    4 – Very good advice

    1 – I am still reminded of the time that I “honestly confused” the money going to the bank, with my pile of money. I won that game, but I’ve lost the aftermath.

    I didn’t see a rule that captures my daughter’s outright zeal when I would fall down the long chute, or when she first learned to play Sorry and smacked me off the board when I was two steps from home.

    1. That Sorry smack is the worst. Long chute made me laugh cause I’ve been there. What is it about a six year old that makes them laugh so hard at your pain? Thanks, Dan.

      1. My daughter loved both of those moments and I seemed to fall into both traps all the time. We actually played Sorry again a couple of years ago on Thanksgiving and she still enjoyed smacking me.

      2. Ha ha ha. πŸ˜€

  10. Lol! These are obviously all written from personal observations or experience. πŸ™‚ You could have added, “Do not bring out your Ouiji Board and expect everyone to participate. At best, you and your sister will be huddled over it alone. At worst, you’ll be asked to leave the family gathering and take your witchcraft with you.” πŸ™‚

    1. There is a meme that says something like “Ouija board for ten and up. So you can’t vote until you are 21 but it is okay to conger up witches at ten.” Thanks, Jan.

  11. For me, your #5 would be #1 – definitely. Maybe even #1 through 5.

    1. The fact that I have two 6’s makes this the Top Eleven things not to do. πŸ˜€

  12. My son was notorious for being an embezzling banker. At about the age of 10, he was banned from all banking duties associated with Monopoly!!!!

    1. We had a similar experience with the Game f Life. Our daughter marked the cards for the best jobs and houses. She is now a fraud analyst. Gotta wonder. Thank you for sharing. πŸ˜€

      1. A fraud analyst – Wow!!! That’s kind of intimidating!!!!

      2. She is good at it too.

  13. Ah…the Monopoly marathons ! So many memories in this fun post. Family was also into card games of all kinds…Rummy, Poker, Spades, etc. We were gamblers in training.

    1. Sounds like a lot of fun.

  14. D.L Finn, Author · ·

    Perfect list for this time of year. I always enjoy a good board game! I have had the unfortunate experience of a spilled soda and a game it is forever sticky after that…

    1. Almost into eternity. Thanks, DL.

  15. Hahaha, these are great. My father was the gamemaster, so I grew up with lots of board games and card games. My husband doesn’t even like so play so I rarely play any more. But one thing that was big in our family was accusing one another of cheating. The only one who really did, I think, was my father haha. Thanks for the trip down memory lane for me.

    1. My pleasure. I think cheating was part of the fun. πŸ˜€

  16. These are great … and timely. Interesting how the combination of family, competition, and board games plays out. Sometimes not so well, ha!

    1. I would say. πŸ˜€

  17. LOL… It looks like you’ve witnessed some familial cheating at board games, John. o_O
    The “C” names were fun. And always good to see Tiny. LOL.
    You started with a bang, with that cartoon. Made me laugh even after a day of Mordor nonsense. Hugs!

    1. Modor is not allowed to interfere with laughter. πŸ˜€ Hugs

  18. If you are playing a board game, do not kill Colonel Mustard in the library with the candle stick!

    1. Thank you, Noelle. I had forgotten about Colonel Mustard.

  19. We played Monopoly over the weekend. My goodness this made me laugh. Thanks, John

    1. Glad it did, Audrey. πŸ˜€

  20. So funny. I think our family experienced all of these at one point or another… especially stealing from the bank! Thanks for the laugh.

    1. Stealing from the bank is a tradition. Thanks for the visit. πŸ˜€

  21. A most well timed post, John. I have a family games afternoon planned for this weekend.

    1. Excellent. Where I mentioned the bog gulp just substitute the work “cake,”

      1. Haha, John, I will to be sure.

  22. My sons and I love board games and many an argument has started over Monopoly, Life, etc, or when the cat decided to do a drive-by across the board and games pieces went flying. Great post, John!

    1. The cats love to do that. I had a cat named Higgins and she loved to knock chess pieces onto the floor.

  23. Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
    John’s hilarious take on playing family board games at Thanksgiving.

    1. Thank you, Suzanne.

  24. Super list, John – I used to be a big Monopoly fan. I learned not to play Scrabble against my wife.

    1. Good move. πŸ™‚

  25. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Check out the latest top ten list from John Howell. This post from his blog lists the top ten things not to do while playing board games.

    1. Thank you for the reblog, Don.

      1. You’re welcome.

  26. Give a look at our gaming nation blog

  27. It was more about playing card games at Christmas time in our household, John. I remember how my Grandmother was not amused that we were playing for 10 pence stakes at Christmas time. “Not at Christmas Time” were her words, yet she still liked a few glasses of sherry on the day.

    1. Sounds like my Grandmother. Thanks, Hugh.

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