Welcome to Cthulhu Mom Games – a blog about my experiences raising a gamer child.
They often say that the only thing constant is change. And that is never more true than with a child. It’s true with just about everything they do, including their gaming habits. So I suppose we shouldn’t have been shocked when one Saturday out of the blue, Yog asked my husband to play a game with her.
She chose Feed the Kitty. The game went well, meaning she stayed focused on the game the entire time, however my husband won. So we braced ourselves for the usual denial – “I won, Daddy lost, ha, ha” followed by the game being put away and her finding any other activity to do alone. Since (as already stated) children are always changing we probably shouldn’t have almost passed out when instead of bragging she reached out her hand, shook his and said “Good game, Daddy”.
Sudden, violent change being the course of the evening should have set us up for what was to come next, but we’re not always as smart as we want to be. Nor do we learn as quickly as we should at times. She asked to play again.
She lost again, but again showed her good gamer side and shook hands.
And just to make sure that she was keeping us on our toes, she followed this up by requesting to play Guess Who. Twice. In a row. She won both times, but she didn’t gloat.
At this point I was pretty sure that our child had been kidnapped by a pod person.
My husband asked if she wanted to play another game and she said “Sure” and out came Pete the Cat Groovy Buttons. Jokingly my husband said “She’ll be asking to play Arkham Horror next”. Four year olds don’t get most adult humor and she said “Yeah, I want to play that”. I wanted to play Arkham Horror (the only time I’ll say no to that game is when time is an issue) and figured she could roll the dice for me. So while they played Pete the Cat Groovy Buttons I went to the game closet and retrieved the box with the base Arkham Horror game.
When they finished their game and cleaned up I produced the box to a curious four year old and a skeptical thirty something. It was pretty easy to find ways to involve Yog in the set up. She choose investigators for each of us (only two as we knew she wouldn’t be staying for the whole game – bed time was creeping up at this point) and then choose the Great Old One. She chose Yig. Because he was cute. So hooded snake things with legs are cute to my kid. I suppose we shouldn’t be totally shocked. We do call her Yog and she sleeps with no less than three Cthulhu plushies. We then handed her the bag of clue tokens and had her put one on each spot with a red diamond. She counted out hearts and brains for each of our characters and placed them on our player cards. While she took care of these tasks my husband and I set up and shuffled the many other decks and pieces we needed.
Once we started playing I was in charge of the game play and Yog was in charge of rolling the dice. From my lap. So I made choices and my husband handled the cards and moving the pieces. This went well until bedtime got too close. Then the dice really began to fly. When we were in danger of having to dig dice out of our walls we paused the game and got her into bed.
The two of us finished the game together and eventually defeated Yig. You’re welcome. One less Great Old One attacking the world. That night. However, we still paid. We had chosen to set the game up on the floor so that Yog could reach the board easier. After she went to bed we didn’t move the board because there are so many pieces.
We learned three lessons from this experience. The first was that you can never anticipate the whims of a four year old. Yes, we should know this, but when it comes to playing games we figured we knew the answer already. Lesson number two – we’re not as young as we used to be. Playing a board game on the floor for two hours left us very stiff. There was much groaning followed by much stretching. Next time we play at a table!
The most important lesson I learned was to really open my eyes for ways to involve Yog in our games. Most of the games we play have a fair amount of set up, but there are probably more parts that she could help in accomplishing than I realized. And while she may not understand the strategy I’m sure there are many games in our collection that she could play with guidance. Now that I realized how closed my eyes were I can open them up.
What gaming surprises has your little gamer given you? What surprises have you given yourself? Share your experiences in the comments and let’s learn from each other. I look forward to sharing our experiences playing more advanced games with our little one.