A couple of days before my son's birthday, he asked that I buy him a boardgame - one we can all play. He's become a good gamer. We played a second-hand copy of HeroQuest over the summer. And, through the generosity of a gamer friend, we have an enormous HeroScape collection, which we enjoy setting up and playing every couple months. Plus a myriad of other games, among which King of Tokyo, Hey That's My Fish, Launch Pad, and Pitch Car are staples.
At the time of this last-second game request, however, my son's birthday gifts (mostly Lego sets) had already been purchased. Adding any decent boardgame would mean going over and above the normal and accepted (but not spoken of in direct terms) budget. Was this request calculated to swell his birthday take? I think it might have been. He displays cunning when it comes to getting what he wants. (We wants a game, my pressscious!)
You see, it's well known in our house that I'm a push-over when it comes to buying boardgames. And truly, game nights have become a family tradition that we all enjoy - so he likely would have known that the request would play well with his mother, too.
Trapped in his web, my wife and I went to a local game store and bought Mice and Mystics. She wanted to be in on the purchase, and while she doesn't care for the plastic-characters-fighting-it-out-on-a-board genre, Mice and Mystics was an easy choice because it's such a "cute" theme and very family-oriented.
We played through two scenarios during a number of after-dinner game sessions. It's been a hit with everyone: birthday-boy playing the chief protagonist Collin, and the rest of us as members of the adventurous team of friends. Then Colin (our Colin who serendipitously shares the name of the hero) decided it was time to paint the beige plastic minis into something more immersive. I said we'd do it together.
As with many such pursuits, his enthusiasm ran high early in the project as we sat and painted together. I taught him some valuable things like how not to load up the mini with paint. Once the going got tedious, however, he drifted away, happy to consign all the minis to the ticklish lashings of my brush alone.
And so I pass time painting, which, I confess, I do enjoy. When he wanders past my station at the dining room table, he checks my work and gives direction. The rats musn't be all the same color. You still have to paint the sword, right? Sometimes, because he is afraid to hurt my feelings, I get his critiques via my wife. He wants the eyes of that hero to be black - the yellow looks creepy.
The Prince Collin mini will be last and he will be working on that one with me.
Otherwise, the gaming has paused and I'm under pressure to get the darn things completed. I squeeze in some work at the end of dinner. I do some more before bed. And slowly the painted minis emerge.
Colin is excited - he's certain they will make the game nights even more enjoyable.