Stay Warm, Play a Game

Winter wipes its cold feet on our doorsteps next week, and the arctic chills have already arrived. To me, cold weather conjures thoughts of a particularly nasty Mississippi ice storm in the nineties, one that knocked out my family’s electricity for almost two weeks. We had to stay warm. We had to take our minds off how miserable we were without hot water, light, and heat. So naturally, we played a tabletop game.

X-Men had a cartoon on Saturday mornings, the comics sold record amounts of copies, and one tabletop game capitalized on the mania: X-Men: Under Siege. So, under the glow of a few flashlights, my parents, my brother, and I would hunker around a card table and play as our favorite mutants and sometimes our not-so-favorite mutants.
We’d play marathons. We’d track statistics for each mutant to see which one was the best. We’d find out later that the stats were skewed because we liked a certain character more than another, and it had nothing to do with who was the better X-Man. We played the game for hours on end until we had to climb into our frigid beds. We may have been cold, but we reconnected as a family.

So what if we didn’t have electricity? You don’t have to plug-in a tabletop game. Lack of electricity may have deprived us of conveniences most of us take for granted, but it also forced us to not watch television ad nauseam. We couldn’t spend all our time playing video games either. We had to sit and talk.

We found out what my brother wanted to study when he went to college. We made plans for summer break, which was the first time my brother or I had any real inputs. Dad told us he feared that he’d lose his job—which did happen the next year—and Mom said that if that happened, she’d go back to work, which she did. We learned more than everyone’s favorite X-Man. We learned more about each other.

If you find yourself needing to get warm, you could do a lot worse than playing a tabletop game.

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