It’s been my experience, in my VAST 33 years, that there are two types of households. Those that play games together and those that don’t. And those of us entrenched firmly in the “DO” column inevitably spend a portion of our teen years undercover, so to speak. Because as you may know (if you are a member of the board and card game playing elite such as myself) we choose these family game nights. They are FUN. We enjoy sitting around a table with our parents and siblings. And sometimes, on a Friday night, they are the best thing going on.

This is where I come clean. Throughout my teens, I begged off many a Friday night outing, movies, football games, parties and even dates because quite honestly? Nothing sounded as appealing as lounging in pajama pants, drinking hot chocolate, laughing and talking with my sister and parents over a game of Rook, Rummy, Dominos or one of the dozens of board games that filled the closet beside our breakfast room. But I dare you to try and pass that one off with your friends and keep your oh-so-important social status in high school. Not happening.

As I’ve mentioned numerous times here, I was an asshole. A completely unlikable person. Hello, my name is Susannah and I was a teenage asshole. I had the jerk boyfriend who I thought ruled my world. I snuck out with friends to drink and smoke pot, I lied to my parents about where I was and who I was with and when I would be home. I talked back, pouted, rolled my eyes and was generally a plague on my family for the better part of a decade. No joke. Ask them. They’ll confirm it.

But we still played games. All that could be pushed aside for a few hours and we could just sit down, hang out and enjoy each others’ company.

It was fairly early on that I learned that my family’s obsession with games wasn’t the most normal thing on the block. I was always surprised when I would go to a friend’s house and come across their “game closet” which would usually be a few abandoned and dusty children’s games long forgotten on the top shelf of a closet or under a bed. I would ask “where is Sorry? Parcheesi? Life? WHERE IS SCOTLAND YARD!?!? (Or Mr. X as it was fondly known in my house) Eventually I learned to stop asking. Apparently it wasn’t the coolest thing to admit hanging out with the ‘rents and LIKING it.

But family game night holds its place of honor in my life. And when we all find ourselves in the same time zone, we always sit down to a game night as often as possible and break out the wine, cookies and the scorepad. Last night, my parents and I indoctrinated Patrick into the way of Mr. X (Scotland Yard is one of my family’s most beloved board games. If you are a game person or family, I HIGHLY recommend it.) Patrick doesn’t come from a game family but he has blended seamlessly into ours and I think enjoys it as much as the rest of us. (At least enough to have hit the game aisle at Target pretty heavily when we were registering for wedding gifts nearly a decade ago.)

It was a great evening, we sat around my dining room table and laughed and chatted and shared memories and remembered how to play one of our favorite games. We hadn’t played it in years but I have a feeling that it will find its way back out again this Christmas when Betsy and her husband are in town too. But in the meantime, I managed to convince them to leave it with me… Patrick and I need the practice!