Chutes & LaddersThere is no better example of teaching kids the cruel twists of fate and hubris by subjecting them to the cruel and traumatic realities of Chutes & Ladders. Your entire progress in life, be it careers or relationships, can take a sharp turn towards disaster in the shape of a sexual harassment lawsuit, embezzlement, corporate fraud or adultery, letting the hands you’ve stepped on rejoice in your deserved demise. On the flip side, it teaches kids the merits of get-rich quick schemes like the lottery or company nepotism, and that they should climb that peak as high as it goes before a scheming peer knocks you off.
CandylandWhat a better introduction to the world of adult-onset diabetes and obesity then submerging your children into the hedonistic world of insulin spikes and sugar rushes. It’s a scientific fact kids love candy, and to envelop them in a landscape where there is unmediated consumption of sweets to be visited again and again puts your children onto a fast track to a recovery program. They can’t hit rock-bottom until they’ve been at the top, creating an unrealistic perception of life known as bipolar disorder.
MonopolyA perfect starting point to introduce the concept of class stratification to the wee ones and to plant a seed of contempt towards their Marxist classmates. Gordon Gecko couldn’t have devised a better playing field to enforce that greed is good and failure to pay is failure to play. It will also misinform your children that they should invest heavily in outdated infrastructure such as railroads, which will eventually be subsidized by the government and prove to be a loss-leader in their holdings. Not a bad way to teach kids an aspiration to join the soulless one-percent and that Monopoly is a synonym for ‘No Choice’.
LifeThe compressed timetable in which Life operates is the first fundamental flaw that kids will pick up on, and the freewheelin’ attitude towards the domestic lifestyle the game perpetuates will be their last. Not to mention the fact the game omits the only certainly in life, death. If you’re going to subject them to irregular paydays and the mandate of marriage based entirely on chance, at least be honest about their fate. Cleverly removing the possibility of a meritocracy should instill a sense of luck in the children that all of these problems are still first-world.
Mall MadnessSince consumer culture has never been more infantilized, Mall Madness creates a crash course for the children’s defining future role in society. Rack that debt up high and kick up that interest to the same investors who managed that sweetheart deal with the town government to insert those big-boxes into the local economy with significant tax breaks! Drain your habitat of local mom n’ pop culture and replace the public commons with highly-patrolled privatized space! With all that revenue leaving the town budget, your children will be lucky to work at the mall, which has now been abandoned by retailers for the upscale development across town, leaving unsightly blight in your backyard.
Sorry!This one is best reserved for playdates, where your children can learn the realities of the unavoidable rivalries that exist between all humans, and also learn the importance of humility when their best friend sets them back for their own personal gain, leaving behind a trite and insincere apology in their wake of destruction. It will also introduce the concept of revenge, which will fuel their desire to overtake their rightful spot, until the game is over and they’re forever left without purpose and empty.
ClueEven in highbrow estates in which Clue is based, human beings are capable of ending each other’s lives for no apparent reason, and will go to far lengths to hide their actions and escape responsibility. Rather than reflect and prescribe society’s ills that causes a man to turn on another, it’s important to use simple forensics and allow all and any interested parties to throw wild accusations into the public forum. Only until an illuminati holding all the cards reveals previously withheld evidence are parties allowed to leave, shamed and humiliated, guilty until proven innocent.
Guess WhoIn the age of racial profiling and ‘If you See Something, Say Something’, it’s important to instill a sense of civil responsibility in your children to take a second-glance at that suspicious figure and jot down a few details, such as glasses or no glasses, what color hair, race, any details at all that can bring a person of interest down to the station house. It’s also important to not let the loser of the game feel too badly about it, because the winner is a snitch and they’ll be getting theirs very soon.
TwisterEveryone’s body is beautiful and should be respected despite society’s ever tightening range of acceptable physical images. Only by forcing your children to compare and contrast their bodies and their relative limberness on a plastic mat can they truly appreciate what natural advantages they can flaunt and take note to what afflictions they can mask and grow neurotic about as they grow older.
OujiaYou can dispel the finite notion of death and the tale of infinite afterlife happiness in one fell swoop by dropping this cardboard nod to black arts and mysticism at a sleepover. Ouijia excels at providing specific answers to simple phantasmic queries but leaves your children holding the bag of much heavier existential answers which will weigh on their minds the rest of their life. Brilliantly, the game is malleable enough that it can purport to provide the answers to everything until the kids are tired enough that the smartest one (or which ever one you can bribe) makes an effort for the marker to hit ‘Good Bye’, leaving the kids with more questions than when they started.