Saturday, July 22, 2006

A household revolution

I think I may be on to something.

Last night was our semi-regular game night. Fraser got home from work and announced that he had a surprise for me, but only if I cleared off the dining table for game night. (usually we have a bit of an argument about who has to do that)

Some tidying and cleaning later, the surprise emerged - our very own copy of Thurn und Taxis (technically, of Thurn and Taxis) - newly arrived in Australia and collected that very morning.

Despite never having played it face to face before yesterday, Thurn und Taxis is easily one of my favourite games. I rate it a 9.5 at BoardGameGeek - Always want to play it, don't see that changing for at least the foreseeable future. I've played it nearly 70 times at BSW, often a couple of times in an evening. I like the route building aspects, the hand management and the scoring options, as well as the possibility of winning or triggering game end in different ways. It's a very simple game to learn - I think it could almost work as a gateway - but it's definitely deeper than it appears on first play. And it looks so beautiful - I have to admit, I am a sucker for a pretty game.

Apparently I am not the only one, either. This evening, as Fraser and Otto packed away Colour Clowns, Otto announced that she wanted to play another game - "The game with the horsies and yellow". Fraser was perplexed, but I knew immediately what she'd meant - we had enough trouble keeping her away from it last night when we were playing. I think Biggie could probably learn (for the nights when Fraser won't indulge me), but it's still a long way beyond Otto.

Anyway, back to my grand plan.

We need a games / household chores index - an exchange rate.

This is timely, because our cleaner is going away for five weeks, so we will need to pay a bit more attention to housework than I usually try to.

A new game for cleaning the table (which had, admittedly, accumulated a lot of junk) seems a little extravagant to me. I think Fraser may have pegged the prices at the generous end. That suits me when I am being bribed, anyway, although it might make it harder to buy favours myself.

I'm thinking if a new game appears just for cleaning the dining room table, all this housework may run us into bankruptcy - the cost of paying someone to mop the floors, dust and clean the bath once a fortnight pales into insignificance.

So let's just look at playing games.

Cooking dinner is probably worth a game of Thurn und Taxis. Let's get that in there up front. Especially as I usually do the cooking at chez nous (Fraser does the dishes - should there be a reward for that?)

Sweeping and mopping the floors is a pretty sizable job. I think I might be willing to pay Fraser a game of Formula De if he does that.

Princes of Florence is a toughie. I need to find something Fraser really wants to get that one onto the table, especially as it involves getting other people over. Maybe if I do my tax he might succumb.

Making the beds and doing the laundry? I don't mind that so much. But I want to encourage Biggie to help out more with chores like that, especially if she'll start putting her own clothes away. San Juan is popular with her at the moment, and probably an appropriate reward.

Which leaves me straight into games as behavioural modification.

If Biggie does all her chores for a week, I could teach her to play Ingenious. Or play Yinsh with her, despite being the world's worst Yinsh player ever.

I just need to think this idea through some more. See, if I start offering games as treats, will my family somehow get the idea that I should only be allowed to play games after I have done some housework, or scored a new work contract?

That would never do.

What do you think? Got some trades to suggest?

See you in LupusLanding,



Gerald McD said...

This can become complicated. Normal household chores should be done without direct compensation. However, it is appropriate to have a regular "allowance." How about an "allowance of games" per week per person? Extra efforts, special contributions, etc., could be rewarded with additional game choices.

Wait, wait, wait. This is getting just too geeky......

huzonfirst said...

Do I have some trades to suggest to get your husband to play the games you like? I do, but I better not mention them--after all, this is a family site!

Anonymous said...

god, being single sounds better every day!

qzhdad said...

I'm all for a points system, but I am an engineer as well as boardgame geek.

One of my favorite stories of incompatibility with my wife (overall, we get along fine) was on the way home after staying with friends for a weekend. I'd noticed a checklist for Marc and Debbi's chores on the refrigerator and was plotting how to introduce such a system. About a mile from their house, my wife said, "Did you see that stupid checklist on their refrigerator?" We'd been married for a few years at that point, so I wisely pleaded ignorance!

I am leery of trading anything for playing games that one really doesn't care for. When I was young, I would trade chores, candy, etc. to get my sister to play games some of which she really didn't care for (Monopoly, for example). Let's just say that if someone really doesn't like a game and/or isn't in the mood for that or any game, it's not much fun for anyone.

I suspect that in your case, if Fraser really doesn't want to play something, you'd delay the payoff.

In our group, we take turns picking games to a certain extent, so everyone gets to play their favorites, but if someone really wants to beg off, we change games.