Northern Intelligence

To The Victor Go the Spoils

This weekend, my husband and I celebrated our sixth year anniversary. It’s our first anniversary in a new city, the weather is warming up, and we now have almost 15 hours of sunlight. So we did what any romantic couple would do:

We played Risk.

I’m not sure what it is about Risk and military guys, but almost every one that I have met in the last five years always seems to lose their marbles over an all-nighter of Risk. Personally, I have never understood the appeal, but my husband and I have agreed to disagree. (After all, he’s never even heard of the game Girl Talk and certainly doesn’t understand why I squeal like a schoolgirl over it.)

A large part of my distaste for the game is because I have never even come close to winning. In fact, I am usually the first one to be wiped out. The last time I played Risk with my husband one-on-one, it took almost three days and I had to surrender because apparently a kamikaze attack isn’t allowed. (Though, really, I would have preferred to go down in a blaze of glory.)

So I can’t say that I was overly enthusiastic to have my forces wiped out again. Also, I had completely forgotten the rules and had to have them explained again. Unfortunately, I got bored, (because the only thing more boring than playing Risk is having the rules read to you) and when I get bored, I entertain myself. Plus, if I’m going to lose, I’m going to annoy my opponent as much as I can.

I think he first regretted his decision when I started making my Calvary guys ride across the board, complete with neighing and gunfire. (It’s not like it’s just me, though. There was also a Burger King crown involved, to go to the “King of Risk.”)

Looking back, I realize that it was in fact the perfect way to celebrate our union. Since I hail from a long line of trash-talkers, with a competitive streak a mile wide, for the last six years, my husband and I have been engaged in some sort of challenge or bet with each other. We got home internet service simply to have 24hrs access to Wikipedia to settle disputes. (Because you never know when a disagreement concerning the older brother from “Blossom” is going to occur.)

A board game between spouses is the truest way to test a marriage. It reminds us how to handle disagreements, without having to assemble furniture or balance a cheque book. Also, I think that an underlying level of conflict keeps the martial blood flowing, as long as you base it on inconsequential things, like whether or not the third Lethal Weapon film is the best of the series. (The correct answer is, yes!)

Also, when you play a board game with your spouse, you have to use your communication skills. (Example: Me: “I’m attacking you there from over here.” Him: “Um, where??”) You need to have patience, especially when it takes the other person two minutes just to roll the dice, so they can “get a good roll”. And you need to always remember the power of forgiveness. Like when your own husband decides to blatantly steal an entire continent from you without even batting an eye. And most important of all, you should always win with dignity.

Unlike me, who spent two hours complaining about the hateful dice, only to swoop in at the end and steal the game with a Mission card.

And yes, I wore the crown for the rest of the night. Rematch is scheduled for next year.

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