We are playas, in my house.  (No, not the word playa, as in a geographical land mass. …I mean, as in GAME PLAYA.)

We don’t play board or card games as much as I would like, but occasionally, we’ll have game night at our house.  My teenaged boys LOVE it.  (And, if you believe that, I’ve got some swampland in Arizona to sell you.)

Actually, they really do enjoy playing games, they just don’t like to admit it.  OR, it could be they don’t like it when their mother beats them.  And, she does, regularly.

Okay…to be fair about it, I don’t win at every game.  If you were to take me on in, say, Trivial Pursuit, or Risk, or some other game that requires using brain cells and strategy, then no, I would not be victorious.

But, when it comes to my most favorite game of all time, NERTS, I will win, hands down.

Or kill you trying.

You see, I’m little on the competitive side–I’ve been known to draw blood–and, I can be quite the trash-talker.

To be honest, it’s been mentioned I may have a problem that could be addressed if I were to seek professional help, but I don’t think I have a problem.  And, isn’t that the first step–admitting you have a problem?

So, nope.  No help needed, thank you very much.

Even though we don’t play games as often as I’d like, here at home, I do get my Nerts-fix, every single Thanksgiving and Christmas break, when we play at my in-laws.  (They are all very good to me and feed my need for speed–Nerts speed, that is.)

And, now that the nieces and nephews are getting older and quicker, they’re in on the game, too…

What is Nerts, you ask?

It’s basically a game of Solitaire for a group.  It’s incredibly fast-paced.  And crazy fun!!  (I’ve heard there are other names for it, like Spit, and other names that I can’t write on this family-friendly blog.)

I’ll give you low-down on directions in another post.

Here’s a little background to my obsession:

Many moons ago, our friends, Doug and Margo, would come over to our house, almost weekly, to play Nerts; they taught us everything we know about the game.  They also taught our other good friends, John and Nikki.  At that point in our lives, ThrillCam and I were the only ones with kids, so the two couples would kindly drive to our house, I would put our baby down for bed, grab a huge bag of Smarties, and we would play into the night.  (I felt, at the time, that Smarties gave me an edge.  You should try them!)

Now, Nikki, being the neat-nik that she was, got tired of seeing the cards messy and out-of-order on the table.  So, she implored her handy-dandy husband, John, to make a board, to keep the cards in place.  (She was also the one to create a nice, neat scorecard–shown further above–that we still use, to this day.)  (ha! I just got my joke, neat-Nik!)

Below is the very first prototype that this creative couple came up with:

That board has got to be over 10 years old, by now.  It’s made out of foam core board, cardboard box tops/lids, and felt.

We were bequeathed this prototype when Handy-Dandy John made a board out of wood for Nikki.  It was beautiful.  And, while I was very grateful for the prototype board, I was green with envy over their beautiful, wooden board.  I coveted their beautiful, wooden board.

But, then, as luck would have it, we moved.  So, I didn’t have to look at their beautiful, wooden board anymore.  And we took the prototype with us.

We were able to teach Nerts to all of our new friends. We played in airports, when traveling together.  We played at conventions.  We played at church.  We spread Nerts joy to everyone we met.  Everyone seemed to love the game, almost as much as us.  We would pull out our prototype board, and tell our friends about the couple who gave us this ol’ prototype board, while they kept a beautiful, wooden one, and soon our new friends were sketching out plans for their own beautiful, wooden board.

One friend, Tina, had her handy-dandy husband make her TWO of their very own beautiful, wooden Nerts boards; one for travel and one for home.

I seethed.  Jealously ran hot through my veins.

“Why,” I asked the heavens above, “why did I, Lover of All Things Nerts, not have my very own beautiful, wooden Nerts board?”

The heavens were silent.

(Listen, ThrillCam is handy and can do just about anything I ask of him, but a woodworker, he is not.  So, it never occurred to me to ask him to make me one.)

None of my so-called dear friends, who knew…knew… I loved Nerts with all that was in me, not once did they ever offer to make me a beautiful, wooden Nerts board.  Nooooo….  In fact, I think they secretly enjoyed seeing my anguish and jealousy.

So, for years, we have pulled out our little, loyal, prototype board and muddled through somehow.  It has served us well.

Fast forward to this past Christmas, 2010.

I told ThrillCam that I wanted to make my mother-in-law a replica of the prototype board, using box tops and felt, simply because I knew neither ThrillCam nor I was going to make a beautiful, wooden one.  And, for some reason, ThrillCam kept putting me off. He would dodge the question, or send me on a wild-goose chase for the parts and pieces of the board, and, I’d never be able to find what he suggested we use.  He simply would not join in my enthusiasm for making Nana a new board for all of us to use at her house over the holidays.  I just didn’t get it.

But, here’s the kicker:

Little did I know, but ThrillCam was secretly making ME my very own, beautiful, wooden Nerts board!!

Isn’t it purrty?!

And, because of my insistence on making my mother-in-law a board, ThrillCam was forced to make her one, as well, just so I wouldn’t spoil his surprise for me!!  (He’s a keeper, I tell ya.)

So, now, we have a beautiful, wooden board on which to play, here at home…

(My neighbor Brooke and her friend, Spencer, waiting to play when we recently had a neighborhood game night.)

AND, we can also play Nerts at Nana’s house, using her new beautiful, wooden board!

I am utterly and completely content, because all is right with the world, now.


P.S. John and Nikki, and Tina and Jeff, you are now forgiven.



    • Elizabeth Simmons

      I know, right?
      You should teach your friends while at school! I wish I had known this game while at college…

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