Ten on Tuesday, the gaming edition.

Ten Favorite Games from Childhood. 10 on Tuesday

  1. Dodgeball.
  2. Kickball.

Do kids even play those games any more? Our entire grade school class — all 30 of us — used to play kickball every frickin' day at recess. Yeah, back in those days we had a half hour recess at some point during the day, plus another half hour or more at lunch time after we finished eating. Kickball was always the game of choice, although we also played dodgeball, Red Rover, fox 'n' geese, and the ever-popular tag.

Beyond the two above, I don't think I had any particular favorites. So instead of playing Carole's game (yeah, I crack myself up) I will just reminisce about the other games we played.

Board games: we lived on a farm, I was an only child, and my parents were generally too busy working to play games with me. Occasionally I could coerce my mother into a few games of rummy or go fish, or crazy eights. When I went to my grandparents' house nearby, I played Chinese checkers and dominoes with my grandmother. I can still remember her saying, "I'll take a nickel" whenever she made five points. When my cousins would visit we might add Monopoly to the mix. 

In college I played my fair share of cards. For awhile I even played bridge, until my fellow players pointed out that I tended to bid according to some system unknown to anyone else on the planet. I got annoyed that they dare to criticize me and quit the game.

Honeymoon bridge, which requires only three players, was more my speed, as was spades. One year my roommate taught me canasta, and we would play for hours.Screen-capture-1 A bunch of us also used to play hearts a lot, usually while drinking wine and smoking do–, er, eating popcorn. (This was the early 70s.) Hearts was a killer game when we played. Lots of dramatics, full volume cursing, wailing and gnashing of teeth when the dreaded queen of spades appeared. 


My very favorite game, though, (I guess I DO have a favorite) was smear, taught to me by my best friend in college. She was from Hibbing, MN, on the Iron Range, and I have never met anyone not from Da Range that had ever heard of the game, let alone know how to play it. We played with a number of other friends also from Da Range, and those games got cutthroat. Table talk and attempted cheating reigned. The game itself is brutally simple — exactly right for me, who doesn't like to have to think too hard when playing any game — and lent itself well to the wine-drinking and *popcorn eating* of the day.

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0 Responses to Ten on Tuesday, the gaming edition.

  1. Kym says:

    I played a lot of Hearts in college, too. (Same . . . refreshments.) Great, great fun! I also played a lot (a LOT) of Crazy Eights, often with my Grandmother.

  2. gayle says:

    My brother and I had a Bingo game that we just about wore out. And Clue and Monopoly kept us busy for many many hours.
    Outside, there was the usual tag, hide-and-go-seek, etc. But our very favorite was Lawn Darts – back in the day when the darts were actual weighted metal darts that spiked into the ground! (‘Family Fun for Everyone!’)

  3. Vicki says:


  4. marianne says:

    I’m with Vicki, you’re so funny :^). ditto with the dodgeball and kickball (yes, even in the southern neck of woods). big ditto on the Hearts games with even bigger ditto on the refreshments, lol. Another game my best friend, her brother, and I played.. RatFuck. cannot for my life remember how it was played though. eye roll. way too long ago.

  5. Cookie says:

    I googled and found Egyptian Rat Fuck. I wonder if that’s the same game.
    I’m thinking dodge ball is too violent for kids today. No one can get away with targeting the fat kid or anything these days. Oh, and I’ve heard there was a lot of popcorn in the early 70’s. ;^)

  6. Amanda says:

    My husband and I have been playing Yahtzee, Scrabble, and some card games. I think it would be fun to have a group of people to play games with. Apparently the people I know think this is lame. Oh well!

  7. Kim says:

    Never played a lot of cards, but, g-d, did I love Kickball and Dodgeball (which we called Bombardment)! As for board games, Aggravation and its mini, Joltz.

  8. soxanne says:

    We played all sorts of board games and card games when I was a kid. I was never any good at dodgeball or anything that required coordination – even in miniscule amounts – although in grade school we skipped rope while chanting those rhymes during recess all the time. (Now that I say that, how could I have skipped rope without breaking any bones if I was so hopelessly uncoordinated?)
    In college backgammon was the game of choice (similar refreshments).
    My kids are not into board games so much, which I’ve never understood. Oh well, we have a lot of fun anyway.

  9. k says:

    Mmm, popcorn…
    I used to date a guy who played Smear, or maybe Schmear. It was a lot of fun. A friend used to have Tuesday night Monopoly games at her house. It was a lot of fun with 6 people playing. Hopscotch, that thing with the four corners and kicking a ball. Girls were really hypercompetitive, and I stopped playing with a lot of them. The local coffeehouse has a board night, and there’s a game store in town that has game nights too.
    Anybody up for a game of chess?

  10. tattytiara says:

    My favorite card game was donkey (when you play with your family), aka jackass (when you play with your popcorn popping friends).

  11. Mary Lou says:

    Oh hearts and, um, flowers? Kickball, Break It Red Rover, Freeze Tag, croquet (I was an adult before I knew it was a ‘genteel’ game we played in the backyard for hours.) Badminton, pinochle, parcheesi, Risk and of course, Monopoly. I come from a big family and lived in a ‘hood full of other big Catholic families, so there were always kids to play with.

  12. woohoogirl says:

    I had to comment to tell you that my youngest son, who is 14, wanted to be a professional kickball player when he was in 3rd grade! He and his friends played every day for recess that year 🙂

  13. Debra Henk says:

    Dang, I still love popcorn.
    I never played Smear, but I remember seeing a sign at the Eagles (Elks?) lodge in Ely MN advertising a Smear Tournament. Sounded nasty. I thought maybe it had something to do with those wool pads on the back of the choppers. (Choppers are big leather mittens, and they have a wool pad on the back for wiping your nose. Nuff said.)
    We played Freeze Tag, Sardines (a wonderful game when you are a middle-schooler and get to huddle up next to a *boy*, as long as it is the right boy), Mother May I, Red Light-Green Light.
    In college, we played a game called ‘Screw your Buddy’ or, when the popcorn came out, F*** your Neighbor. I didn’t check the link above, but if you drew certain cards, you could make your neighbor lose a turn, or turn the play in the opposite direction.

  14. My best friend and I used to play cards for hours on end when we were kids, usually a game we called “Spit.” I don’t know anyone else who ever played it, but we loved it!

  15. We don’t have recess at the middle school, but the last few schools I taught at featured some mean kickball games during recess! That and touch football. As for me, my favorite game as a kidlet was four-square. I was kind of good at that, but not much else in the outdoor arena!

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