A few weeks back we cleaned out the game closet. First, let me say that it makes me immensely happy to state that we have a game closet in our house. Who wants to store coats or linens or brooms in a closet when you can store GAMES? (Or jigsaw puzzles. We have a different closet for those.)
Once spread out, the contents of said game closet covered the family room floor and tables (the keepers) and also the dining room table (the giveaway pile). We honestly did get rid of a lot of games, though I know we kept some that we’ll likely never play. We kept some classics that I just felt we should keep. We kept some kids games just for the sake of the happy memories. We kept plenty of party games even though we pretty much never entertain and play group games anymore. We jettisoned games that we never really enjoyed, games that were too similar to another game that we like better, and games that were no longer in playable condition.
There was no marital strife involved. One ‘yes’ vote was all it took to keep a game. Two ‘no’ votes sent it to the to-go pile.
And deep in the bowels of the game closet, a treasure was found.
Mountain Climb is a game that I bought for the kids from Hearthsong. Back in the day, this catalog company was known for high quality, unique, and classic toys and games. Google tells me they are still around with an updated website that doesn’t at all resemble the quaint catalog I remember.
The daughters didn’t really care for Mountain Climb. I’m not sure it was ever played after that Christmas break of so many years ago, but the husband plucked it off the dining room table saying, “I think I liked this one. Let’s hang on to it until we read the rules and try it once.”
Before you can fully appreciate the joy that this game brings to me, you need to understand how much I like the game Sorry! In Sorry!, each player (2, 3, or 4) has four colored tokens and the goal is to get them around a board from START to HOME. On a turn, a player draws a card which indicates how they can move one of their tokens – usually forward the same number of spaces as the number on the card, though some numbers allow special moves. Basically, that’s it, except that if your token lands on a space occupied by another player’s token, that player has to move his token back to START. Proper etiquette requires you to always say (shout, exclaim, etc.) SORRY! when this happens, usually accompanied by a sweeping motion of your token to clear the space. Yup, it’s really simple. Yup, it’s for ages 6 and up. Yup, there’s almost no strategy, although there are choices to be made on most turns. But everybody has an equal shot at winning and it never struck me as inane as some kids’ games.
One of my better parenting moments was instituting family game nights when the kids were in elementary school. Monthly for close to a year, and then occasionally afterwards, we had a family game night. Dad was required to be home on time. Friends weren’t invited. Pizza and a special dessert were served. We took turns picking what game to play next and we solemnly vowed to willingly play whatever game was picked. I’m sure I picked different games, but the daughters remember me always picking Sorry!
Back to the present day. Husband read the rules for Mountain Climb and said, “It’s 2-person Sorry!” At that point he was ready to donate it and I was all like, “Let’s play!”
Each player has five tokens that travel up the wooden board in a straight line. The goal is to get all five of your tokens to the top of the board. Token movement is determined by the roll of die. Basically, that’s it, except that when your token lands in a hole occupied by a token of the opposing player, you get to push his token out of the hole and he has to restart it at the bottom. We have not yet determined what is considered proper etiquette when this happens – various exclamations of glee are currently being used. I’m hooked. It’s small, aesthetically pleasing, doesn’t take long to play, and I’ve won a solid 80% of the games played against the husband.
Sadly for all of you, Mountain Climb is no longer sold. And I’m not parting with it.