So there we were at the kitchen table after dinner playing Squashed, my 12-year-old daughter whooping it up and rubbing in the fact she won the first game. I squashed (pun intended) my tweener’s happiness by winning the second game, leaving my wife 0 and 2.
Now the object of Squashed is to be the last pawn standing. Simple, or so it seemed the first time we played and each of us took the simplest strategy of racing to the top of the cube to reach the king. Now reaching the king means you get to flip the cube to any side you like and squash other players’ pieces into the center of the cube, never to be seen again – or until the next game.
I realized during the second game that there is strategy beyond racing to the top. It isn’t the only way to play. The key: it helps to plan ahead. Hold that thought for minute. I’ll get back to it.
I’ve already established that my daughter is a terrible winner and loser. Hmm, where did she get that from? my wife likes to ask.
Yeah, okay, she got it from me, which makes for a battle royal each time we play a game.
And the third game of Squashed was a classic battle. My daughter wanted nothing to more than to squash me and win.
She was in good position to do just that, with one pawn left that was much closer to the top than my two pawns. But I grew up playing board games, not video games, and knew it was time to school my daughter in the art of “non-digital gaming.”
Like a compulsive gambler whose horse is 10 lengths ahead with the finish line in sight, my daughter giggled and jumped about, taunting me with her knowledge that she was a sure winner.
I have no problem busting self-esteem in my house when it comes to games. It’s good to learn what defeat tastes like early in life. So, I moved both of my pieces sideways to opposite sides of the cube.
This is an exact quote from my daughter to my wife: “I don’t know what Daddy thinks he’s doing.” That should have been her first clue something was up, but certain victory clouded her tweener mind.
And when she reached the space next to the king, she chose to squash me instead of her mother. Oh, the glee and joy of certain victory in her face when she left me with one piece – one piece which just happened to be next to the new location of the king. You see, when you flip the cube the opposite side comes up and the king gets moved to the top. I planted my pieces on opposite sides so no matter what, one piece would be in the position to squash her on my next turn.
“Daddy can’t do that,” she said to her mother, her certain victory crumbling like a 6-month old chocolate chip cookie. I almost felt bad for her. Ah, not really. I was happier for my own craftiness.
I finished her off, then my wife and became the Squashed King with a 2 and 1 record.
The next morning I rubbed it in and left a note for her on the cube: “You were Squashed.”
So, a high recommendation for the game Squashed. It appears simple the first time you play it, but gets better each time. I got my money’s worth alone during the third game – “I don’t know what Daddy thinks he’s doing.” That’s right, Honey, even I don’t know what I’m doing sometimes, but this time I did. Ha.