The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

November 15, 2013

LEVINE: Dust off those old board games

By Scott Levine
Herald Associate Editor

---- — With the constant distraction of cellphones, computers and iPads, sometimes it’s nice to have a toddler’s perspective on what truly is entertaining.

As mentioned a few weeks ago, we moved to a new home. Since that move, we’ve uncovered many treasures that were boxed away and haven’t been seen for years.

My 3-year-old daughter knows about the interactive games on the various electronic gadgets sitting around the house. When we found the boxes filled with board games, she was much more intrigued about those than the subtle glow excreting from the iPad.

There was Hungry, Hungry Hippo, Memory, Sorry, Candy Land and more. Some of these games she has played in the past, but in our constant pursuit of packing everything away, we hadn’t seen some of them for months.

And in 3-year-old-child time, that’s almost an eternity.

We busted out Memory first. The last time we played this game, my daughter didn’t have a clue. Sure, she was less than 2 years old, but I was expecting nothing less than a memory savant.

Now, a little more than a year later, she could actually play (maybe that’s why the directions say for ages 3 and older). We battled through the first game, and after the final count, I came out victorious.

We battled again and much like a typical toddler, she lost interest. I didn’t understand why, and when I questioned why she wasn’t trying anymore, she became disgusted with me and ran upstairs to tell Mom.

Unfortunately, that means about as much trouble for me as it used to be with my actual mom, so I had to apologize for expecting the best out of my daughter, before we ventured back downstairs, this time to go head-to-head in Pop the Pig.

This game is actually a good one for children, since the object is to roll a die, find a colored hamburger with a number on it, and then pump the pig’s head down as much as the number says. The game ends when the pig has had too much to eat and explodes.

My 4-month-old son got into the action on this one and after pumping the pig with some chow, we became a little distracted when my daughter kept moving the pig away because the pig was “sick” from too many hamburgers.

So we finally moved to the third and final game of the night — Hungry, Hungry Hippo.

When I was a child, we had a Nintendo (that we usually were grounded from since it always led to fights) and games like Hungry, Hungry Hippo, Scattergories and Monopoly were constant forms of entertainment. The board games also led to fights, but I’m assuming my parents were more happy to see us enjoy a board game than to ruin our minds by playing Mario Bros.

Family board game nights are still some of my favorite memories as a child, especially when my parents would team up against the three boys in Trivial Pursuit.

And now it’s my daughter (and my son, who usually sits on my lap and helps me play) who can enjoy those times, and sometimes win, as was the case in Hungry, Hungry Hippo.

First off, my daughter does not play fair. If one of the balls gets stuck in the middle, she uses her pinky (similar to the foot wedge in golf) to maneuver it closer to her hippo.

And secondly, I believe my house slants toward her, or at least that’s the story I’m sticking with for now.

The good thing about board games is that it does teach her a thing or two, like counting how many marbles her hippos ate. The bad thing is it helps her work on her victory dance.

After she defeated me in Hungry, Hungry Hippo, she danced around me, saying “I’m the best. I beat you Daddy. I win.”

She said that over and over again. I’m not going to point any fingers, but I have a feeling where she received her sportsmanship. I’m pretty sure my wife danced around me the last time she beat me at a board game. Obviously I need to practice my skills, or else that victory dance could continue for years to come.

Weekly picks

Last week I went 17-8, which is pretty awful considering I was only picking winners. I was hampered by my teams not finishing, like Iowa State, which is having a forgetful year.

The Clones better gear up for this week’s contest, too, considering the Sooners are out for blood after being demolished by Baylor. There’s no bowl in the Cyclones future this year, but a solid finish can help build momentum for next year.

Like always, feel free to go toe-to-toe with me, and log on to and click on the College Football Sweepstakes. If you do well, you will be in a drawing for a Dick’s Sporting Goods gift certificate.

Akron vs. Massachusetts; FIU vs. UTEP; Indiana vs. Wisconsin; Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt; Oklahoma State vs. Texas; Iowa State vs. Oklahoma; Michigan vs. Northwestern; Alabama vs. Mississippi State; TCU vs. Kansas State; Ohio State vs. Illinois; Texas Tech vs. Baylor; Georgia vs. Auburn; Maryland vs. Virginia Tech; North Carolina vs. Pittsburgh; Purdue vs. Penn State; Syracuse vs. Florida State; NC State vs. Boston College; Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Georgia State; South Alabama vs. Navy; Central Michigan vs. Western Michigan; Stanford vs. USC; Utah vs. Oregon; Troy vs. Ole Miss; Connecticut vs. SMU; Michigan State vs. Nebraska.

Scott Levine is the Associate Editor of the Clinton Herald. He can be reached at