Everyone loves board games. Right? I mean, we all have fond memories of playing with our kids, parents, Uncles, Aunts, and friends, don’t we? When you stop and think about it, you probably don’t like playing board games as much as you thought. Now, it is all coming back.

A nice, friendly game that you thought would last about 30 minutes took 3 hours and became as competitive as skating for a medal in Olympic Figure Skating. Well, now that I’ve stirred up childhood trauma you thought you had buried long ago, we might as well take a look at the top ten board games you secretly hate, well, not so secretly anymore.

Board Games

Candy Land

The Good: The game teaches color recognition and matching while reinforcing the lesson of taking turns and being a gracious winner or loser. The Bad: This is a game of pure chance, which means there is a genuine possibility you will lose to your 3-year-old without intentionally throwing the game. Sure, you want your kid to win, but on your terms. As a thirty-something adult, your life is going downhill fast enough, and the last thingis yourself-.

Confidence needs a can of butt-whup opened by someone whose diaper you changed this morning. Even worse, you could lose considerably if you get lost in Lollipop Woods or in Molasses Swamp. Gramma Nutt may not be there to save you. And can we please change her name to something more palatable, no pun intended? My advice: Never play a game with a child unless you are guaranteed to win. The Ugly: After your toddler beats you for the third time, getting respect from them will be near impossible, and your road to parenting detours into the Gooey Gumdrops.


The Good: Stratego is a unique blend of strategy, memorization, and unit management. The Bad: What better way to teach your child the horrors of war than with some plastic pawns with a numeric value? The game says it teaches strategy, and I say it teaches you to sacrifice the weak so the strong may survive—a cruel but universal truth. For example, you send a scout forward, and he lands on a bomb; no problem because you can send the miner to disarm it. Heartlessly, you then send another scout to his death, finding another bomb so the General can move forward. Callous and andindifferente are the lessons learned here on the scorched cardboard that used to be a peaceful, evenly-spaced grid. The Ugly: Your child is interested in explosives after seeing how simple it is to disarm a bomb in Stratego.

Chutes & Ladders

The Good: This delightful game is simple and easy to play, even for children who can’t read. The Bad: This game teaches the way life works, which is good. But learning those hard lessons before you have all your baby teeth is stressful for a child. Just like in life, you move forward trying to get to the ladder (of success?), and you move up; then, before you know it, you are back where you started when the chute gets you, and you’re wondering where the last five years of your life went.

I mean, what the heck is going on? Yeah, you’re going down a chute now, buddy, except the line is a set of steps leading down to your parent’s basement because you can’t roll a freakin’ 6 to get to the big ladder in the game of life…uh, I mean the game of Chutes & Ladders. Oh, and if you think you might win, well, that’s when your kid hits the jackpot and takes the tallest ladder in the game and steals the victory. And now your self-esteem takes a chute. The Ugly: Breaking the spirit of a child or adult is a large price to pay for 40 minutes of ups and downs, mostly downs.


The Good: Operation is the classic skill and action game where you’re the doctor! The Bad: I’ll skip over the problematic open body cavities “Sam, the patient” is exposing to your family, but the medical misinformation is reprehensible. Let’s face it: children aren’t smart, and they are impressionable. What if they think we have rubber bands and miniature horses in our bodies? Didn’t we tell our children not to eat rubber bands…but now Sam has one in his leg? And, my God, the pressure! Asking our little Sally to remove a broken heart has to be traumatizing. But wait, there’s more: don’t touch the sides, or you will get “buzzed,” and poor Sam will die. Life and death it is your child’s call.

I guess Milton Bradley also didn’t consider a child’s underdeveloped motor skills when designing this pressure cooker of a game. And one more thing, shouldn’t we try to fix his heart, not remove it? What scary-a$did $ medical college did we go to? The Ugly: Whether your child wins or loses, they are an emotional and mental wreck for the next few days. Playing God with your patient on the surgery table will do that to a 6-year-old