Squashed – an excellent family game

I recreated the cube. My daugher, purple, reached the king. I had a red piece on each side. So when she squashed me, my other red piece went to the top next to the repositioning of the king. I then squashed my daughter and took care of my wife shortly after that. BTW, use the yellow mat or a tablecloth to play. We didn't because we like distressing our $100 Craigslist table. But you might not like the result of smashing pawns into the cube on your table.

I recreated the cube. My daugher, purple, reached the king. I had a red piece on each side. So when she squashed me, my other red piece went to the top next to the repositioning of the king. I then squashed my daughter and took care of my wife shortly after that. BTW, use the yellow mat or a tablecloth to play. We didn’t because we like distressing our $100 Craigslist table. But you might not like the result of smashing pawns into the cube on your table.

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.

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Letter to my daughter, 03/22/11

Dearest Daughter,

We’ve spent two days together while Mommy is away on business. Thanks for making my life easy, so far. But there’s always tomorrow to change course and wake up in a foul mood and fuss about putting your shoes on. We’re not home free yet.

I do, my wonderful daughter, need to share an observation with you I noticed this week: You’re Fox’s child, not mine. Yes – you are.

This became very clear to me the first morning when I had an epiphany and saw your fox tail showing.

Here’s how I knew: How many years has Mommy brought you a heated blanket in the morning, carried you to breakfast, and sat you on her lap feeding you?

Hmm, I wonder?

Then, when she’s away for a few days, and I’m here, you manage to get up without an alarm clock, put together your own breakfast, eat it in record speed, and have 30 minutes to get dressed and ask if you can play Pokemon.

And no blanket or sleepy-head look? Very interesting indeed.

You see, I now know your secret – you bamboozled your mother! All these years and you kept the act up. Well done, my child. Well played, young lady. Well. Played.

I will keep your wicked little secret when Mommy gets back, and let you have your pack-mule moment of being carried to the table. It makes your mother happy, though she’s having a hard time carrying you now. How old will you be when you exceed the maximum weight limit for that ride? I’m sure it will be sad for all of us.

From this point forward, each time I see her lugging you like a heavy bag of groceries, I’m going to have a huge smile on my face watching you, Baby Fox. Yes, you.

Enjoy your trick, honey, because before you know it, you’ll be carrying your own daughter to breakfast wondering when she got so heavy, and wasn’t she just a baby a few days ago, and where did the time go?

Where did it go?

And you’ll remember, at that very moment, what I once told you in a blog post – you blinked.

With all my love,

Daddy