The Name of the Game

Jennifer Bertman’s thrilling debut novel, BOOK SCAVENGER, centers around an intriguing game of clues, hidden books, and a mysterious prize. People play games for all sorts of reasons:  fun, relaxation, family time, or even just a little healthy competition.

Book-Scavenger-coverWe asked the EMUs to pick their favorite games of all time, and they were happy to share! For many of us it was impossible to narrow it down to just one. Choices ranged from classic board games to outdoor games to RPGs (role-playing games, for the uninitiated).

For starters, we have several hard-core Parcheesi enthusiasts. Who knew?

Janet Fox: “Parcheesi!! I loved it. We used to play it as a family every Sunday afternoon – it was a ritual. Even my mom and dad joined in. Just looking at the box gives me the warm fuzzies.”

Susan Vaught: “I adored Parcheesi as well, played it endlessly. It became a bloodsport with my friends, sending people back to start/home! Bwaahahaha! I was always yellow, and I had NO MERCY.”

Luke Reynolds: “I was a Parcheesi wild man! My grandpa and I played every time he came over to babysit and I absolutely loved it.”

Then we have the miscellaneous board game fans, including one unrepentant cheater:

Courtney Pippin-Mathur: “Trouble board game. The one with the bubble in the middle that held the dice. So, every turn was like popping a giant piece of bubble wrap.”

Trouble GameDonna Bowman Bratton: “As a kid, my family would sometimes gather for game night. I remember playing Clue, Tripoli, and PayDay. I especially loved PayDay, an alternative to Monopoly, because unlike Monopoly, it could be played without investing a humongous chunk of my life.”

Christine Hayes: “Growing up, my sister and I had a closet full of board games, and we played them all: Monopoly, Stratego, Mastermind, Bonkers, Battleship, Trouble, Mousetrap, Hungry, Hungry Hippos, Lay an Egg, The Muppet Show Game, Clue, Life, Sorry, Operation…and I know I’m forgetting a bunch more. I’m surprised those games had any pieces left by the time we were done wearing them out. But my absolute, all-time favorite game, even now, is Scrabble. I usually have to bribe people to play it with me.”

Elaine Braithwaite Vickers: “We had an awesome friend in high school who would host Monopoly tournaments and I would ALWAYS cheat. And therefore, I would almost always win. I justified it by announcing that I was going to cheat beforehand, and letting my friend’s vigilant older sister specifically watch me. But extra money still found its way to my pile.”

Next, the classics, jacks and jump rope:

Rebecca Van Slyke: “When I was in 5th and 6th grade the ‘in’ thing was playing jacks at recess. We had endless variations that we played. I can still feel the tiny rocks on the asphalt digging into my knees as we worked our way from ‘One-sies’ to ‘Ten-sies.'”

Carole Gerber: “Double dutch jump rope.”

JacksTamara Smith: “One of my favorite games as a kid was Chinese jump rope. Remember that one? With the stretchy circular rope? You’d put it around two people’s ankles and the third person would jump in this particular pattern (In, Out, Side, Side, On, In, Out. I remember it, wow!!!) and then once you successfully executed it you’d raise the rope and do it again. I usually played it with one friend and so we had to use a chair too. We’d play for HOURS.”

And our self-professed video game addict:

Megan Morrison: “My favorite games of all time are BioWare’s amazing, fully absorbing and addictive RPGs (role-playing video games, for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about). But I would never have found those games–would never have given them a chance–if it weren’t for the fact that as a 7th-grader, I spent a few months in the grip of a video-game fever that left me changed. That was the year I became obsessed with Super Mario Bros. I had to save the princess. HAD TO SAVE HER. This was back in the days when video games were punishing; you couldn’t save your progress. If you ran out of lives, you had to start All. The way. Over. You essentially had to memorize every single move in the entire game and repeat your memorized moves perfectly in order to achieve victory. Oh sure, if you really knew what you were doing, if you were dedicated, you could warp. You could even get tons of extra lives. (I did both.) But kids today, with their fancy “Load Last Save Game” options, just don’t know the devastation, the perspiration, the unchecked thrill of beating a game that wants to make you sob and throw the controller so hard that you break the Nintendo console. Wait. No. None of those things happened. It was all very above board. Plus, the console wasn’t even mine – I went to my best friend’s house after school every day and played for hours on her little brother’s console. That’s how hooked I was. Super Mario Bros. should have just been labeled ‘Crack’. That would have been more honest.”

Of course, we have a few EMUs who love EVERYTHING:

Penny Parker Klostermann: “Picking a favorite game is hard for me because  I like games of all sorts. As a kid I loved Hide-n-Seek and Sardines. I, also, liked playing Monopoly, Go Fish, and Liver Pool Rummy with my family. As an adult, I love tennis…especially doubles because I like the strategy involved. And I keep several games of Words With Friends going and enjoy playing all sorts of Solitaire.”

Laurie Ann Thompson: “As a kid, I loved playing Risk, Scrabble, and the card game we called Bull$hit. As a teen, I loved playing Dungeons & Dragons. I spent my 20s playing Sid Meier’s Civilization, Alpha Centauri, and Age of Empires. Now, our family plays a lot of board games like Dominion, Settlers of Cataan, and Splendor. And I hate to admit it, but I have a weakness for iOS games including Candy Crush, Ticket to Ride online, and–my latest guilty pleasure–Bonza.”

candy crushAnd last but not least, our epic outdoorsman and women:

Maria Gianferrari: “When we were kids, we played mostly imaginative outdoor games: when we ran through the culvert, we were playing ‘journey to the center of the earth.’ We squished in the muddy river and dug clay and played ‘Coney Island’ (don’t know why—but that was where we were)! We also used to play Little House on the Prairie in our elderly neighbor’s old barn. Other favorites: kick the can and many a game of hide-and-seek in the adjacent cornfield, lots of Frisbee and kick soccer (which some people call kick baseball). Our current favorite family game is Dominion, a deck-building card game. We often host game nights here and play with friends.”

Adam Shaughnessy: “I will always have a soft spot for Capture the Flag. This is probably because of one glorious day in the summer of 1982. My camp had an all-camp extravaganza match. The word epic was created so that we would have a term to describe that particular game. It culminated when my friend Max stole his twin brother Leo’s spare set of clothes from his swim locker and–masquerading as his brother–strolled across enemy territory, orchestrated a save-the-game jailbreak, and managed to get the other team’s flag in a maneuver that (in my opinion) still represents the pinnacle of covert operations.”

Mylisa Larsen: “My favorite game as a kid happened on summer nights when the grownups had kind of given up on a reasonable bedtime and no one was really paying too much attention to what we were doing. We lived behind our grandma’s house and her front lawn ran along a road. We’d play this game where we’d stand on the the edge of her lawn and wait until a car came over the rise. When the beam from the headlights hit the mailbox down the road, you’d start running like a maniac across the lawn and parallel to the road. The object of the game was to run fast enough that you stayed ahead of the headlights and then, just a split second before the lights picked you up, you’d dive into this empty ditch on the far side of the lawn. No, our mother did not know about this game. And, looking back, I wonder If we were as invisible to the drivers as we thought we were or if they were driving along on a beautiful summer night and then there were three crazed children tumbling into a ditch and they were ‘What the heck?'”

Whew! Are you in the mood to go out and play? Better yet, grab a copy of BOOK SCAVENGER at one of the following links:


Books a Million


Barnes & Noble

For more info about BOOK SCAVENGER, including details about how to join in the book hiding and seeking fun, visit the official web site: Book Scavenger.

PLUS, don’t forget to comment for your chance to win a signed copy of BOOK SCAVENGER!!!


Filed under Book Giveaway, Book Launch, Celebrations

13 responses to “The Name of the Game

  1. mariagianferrari

    Great post, Christine! We used to play many of the same board games on rainy days, otherwise we were outside. Loved reading about all the Emu favorites! Adam–your friend sounds like such a character!

    And how could I have forgotten miniature golf! There was one a short bike ride away, and summers we’d go there nearly every day. For the last hole, there was an uphill shot leading into a large clown’s face. If you got the ball in the clown’s nose, you’d get a free game!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m writing a short story mystery and I think reading this book would help me become a much stronger mystery writer. I’ll call that the game I’d like to try!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. tamaraellissmith

    Maria, your memory of Little House on the Prairie made me remember the HOURS I spent in the woods playing Little Women. (Why the woods for Little Women?! I have no idea…) Excellent post, Chris! So fun. I wish we had a library in town stacked with all of these games! I want to play!

    Liked by 2 people

    • mariagianferrari

      It was fun, Tam! There were all kinds of treasures in that barn–so many old photographs. At one point there was a young hippie couple who lived in the barn, and I’m sure they loved having us around. Not. But they did invite us over multiple times for homemade doughnuts 🙂 When our elderly neighbor moved out, the new owners wouldn’t let us play there anymore, and we were incensed! 🙂


  4. So fun! It was great hearing about everyone’s favorite games! A lot of them brought back memories. Some of them I’ve never played. Mylisa’s game is hilarious!
    What a fun week of celebration we’re having!! Yay, Jenn! Yay, Book Scavenger!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m not big on board games, but I LOVE Sorry! I Sweet revenge is mu ch more fun than Scrabble. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This is such a fun launch week! And I love this post. I’m very interested in how story and play impact children’s lives. I always love when these two things come together, as in this post and (of course!) Book Scavenger!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is so much fun to read. (And makes me want to have a big old Emu party where we play games!) It cracks me up that Elaine was an unrepentant cheater! And Chris, there is a Muppet Show game???!!!! I must find and play this!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. mariagianferrari

    That would be so much fun, Jenn!!


  9. This was so much fun! I was big into board games as a kid. Does anyone remember Masterpiece, with the works of fine art? I just bought it at a garage sale last year – I hadn’t seen it in about 100 years! And of course, how could you get through school lunch times without Spit or Spoons? Nowadays, we still play lots of games like Quiddler and Farkle with our core group of friends – and I just applied to test a brand new game from BlueOrange games. So yeah, it’s serious!

    And Megan. Wow. As my 16 year old daughter would say, that’s hardcore.


  10. Great fun reading about all these cool board games! My favorite board games go too far back, like Uncle Wiggly!
    Book Scavenger looks intriguing!


  11. Oooh! This book sounds like so much fun!

    I’ve never really stopped playing games. It goes back to card games like Rummoli and Euchre with my parents and brothers. Now I play board games with my daughters. Our favorites change but currently we are enjoying Seven Wonders and Power Grid. We also play Settlers of Catan online together using our devices. Oh, and my younger daughter loves to drag out The Game of Life and Monopoly at least once every summer.


  12. Thinking of board games, I’m reminded of how may different editions of Monopoly my son collected in his youth – Star Wars, the Simpsons, Nintendo, Seinfeld – There must be at least 9 or 10 stacked up on our game shelves!


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