My Favorite Games

Way Back When… and Now

By Jeff Salter

Topic: Favorite game to play as a child? As an adult?

Hmm. As often happens when one of my suggested topics appears — I’ve completely forgotten what (if anything) I had in mind when I suggested it. LOL.

Outside vs. Inside

Let me start by differentiating between OUTSIDE games and INSIDE games. My formative years were during the middle and late 1950s — and most of my recreation in those days (during moderate weather, anyway) was out-of-doors. Of every outdoor activity (which LATER included typical sports like football, basketball, and softball) I believe my favorite was some variation of (A) cops and robbers, (B) cowboys and Indians, of (C) sheriff vs. gunfighter, (D) Davy Crockett vs. anybody, or (E) jungle hunter. In most cases, I rode a stick horse and had a [toy] six-gun holstered on my side. As Davy Crockett or jungle hunter, I usually carried a wooden rifle. I don’t recall that the games had much structure — mainly I rode my stick horse vigorously, chasing (and shooting) bad guys, and stopping at the “saloon” for a quick slurp of water from the garden hose. [The jungle version usually involved swinging on vines and struggling in “quicksand”.] Occasionally this was a solitary endeavor, but I also played these with my big brother, my little sister, or a friend / neighbor roughly my own age.

Me, on the right, with my belly hanging out… in about 1955. My kindergarten year in Macon GA.

Another game I particularly enjoyed – because it required not only speed, but agility, strategy, timing, and finesse – was “capture the flag.” [It’s too complicated to explain here fully, but it involved two teams, with each team trying to reach the other’s HQ (without being tagged) and capturing their banner. There was a “jail” where your teammates (who’d been tagged) were confined and I often focused on freeing my teammates rather than zeroing in on the opponents’ flag.]

But what about outside games NOW? Nada. I don’t particularly like being out-of-doors these days unless it’s on our front porch with the overhead fan going and a breeze blowing.

Inside Games

Inside games (to me) are basically split between card games and so-called “board” games. I grew up playing both and enjoyed both.

Card Games

My Aunt Ethel taught us several cool card games, including one called “Fan-Tan” (which my son learned by a different name and has re-taught me), and one called “Pig” (which also goes by the name “Spoons”). I’ve also enjoyed Crazy-Eights, Old Maid, Go Fish, Gin, Casino, Uno, and Mille Bornes.

I used to enjoy Spades and Hearts, but preferred when we played partners. Of all the partners I had for Spades, I think my favorite was my step-sister Ellen — as if she could read my mind (or see my hand) she almost always played what we needed for the trick (assuming her cards allowed). And we never discussed strategy either… we just “fit” in terms of synchronized play.

These days, I’d just as soon play a card game called GOLF as anything else, because it doesn’t require intense concentration or lightning-speed reflexes.

Board Games

In the realm of board games, I never cared for “The Game of Life” or “Candy Land” but I enjoyed Monopoly. I also liked Stratego, and Risk. A game I got for my sixth birthday was the Annie Oakley game and I still played that up through my early adult years. I also enjoyed a game called CONCENTRATION and a home version of the popular TV game PASSWORD.

These days, I don’t fiddle much with board games, but if I were to play one, I think I’d still enjoy Balderdash… in which you provide (real or false) definitions of words and try to make them so convincing that other players will agree that it’s true.

Table Games

A variation that’s neither a “board” game nor a card game is a group that includes Chinese Checkers (though I imagine it’s been re-named in the past few years). It uses marbles on a metal tray with a zillion holes. Also in this group is Dominoes… which I used to enjoy playing with a Sunday School class when we lived in Jonesville LA in the late 1970s. Since then, they’ve come out with a zillion different variations of dominoes, some with “double-twelves” or something. Impossible for my brain to do that much arithmetic these days.


I no longer remember how to play, or what the game was about, but I think it involved marbles. It was called AGGRAVATION, and a nurse taught it to Denise and me when she was in labor with our first child at the Cannon AFB hospital. I’ve always thought it was especially considerate of that nurse to keep us company and keep our minds occupied with something other than labor pains.


Let me add a footnote here: I never enjoyed cut-throat games. What do I mean by “cut-throat”? Any game that allows one player to “destroy” (demoralize) another, by sending him / her back to the beginning (or otherwise lose all their hard-earned gains). Such a game is SORRY. And its players are (usually) anything but “sorry” when their play causes such a set-back for an opponent. When I was stationed overseas – Thule AB, Greenland in the early 1970s – some of the guys in my barracks had a regular game of cut-throat SORRY. And they made it even more cut-throat by requiring a $10 ante from each player. The winner would collect some $50 – $80 (depending on the number of players, of course)… so you can be sure he had absolutely no regrets at sending his opponents back to the starting line. I observed several times, but I never played that game with them. For one thing, (with a wife and young child) I didn’t have the $10 to lose. For another, I hated the blood-lust I witnessed in their faces as they played.


What about YOU? What games did you enjoy as a kid? How about now?

[JLS # 608]

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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8 Responses to My Favorite Games

  1. Elaine Cantrell says:

    I thought of adding outside games to my post, but I decided against it. If I had, our favorite outside game was softball. There were a lot of kids in our neighborhood who were about the same age. We formed teams and played almost every day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jbrayweber says:

    Fun post.
    Outdoors, I didn’t really play games, per se. I play-pretended alot by myself. However, you’d mostly find me riding my horse or three-wheeler, or maybe exploring the woods.

    Indoors, when alone, I’d play Solitaire, Pick-up Stix, Perfection, Rubic’s Cube. Games I enjoyed with friends was Scrabble, Uno, and Trouble.

    As I got older, I’d play poker card games (which I was never any good at) and pool (which I was equally never good at). I enjoyed darts and ping pong, still do. I also like horseshoes (I suck at this, too), cornhole, and washers.

    And I gotta say, Cards Against Humanity is pretty darn hilarious to play with amongst friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      I’ve had periods when I really enjoyed ping pong… but I’m not as agile these days.
      my poker playing is only “adequate” and then only when playing for chips. If real money is involved, I’m way too conservative.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Like Jenn, I played by myself outside for the most part as a kid, but this did remind me of ONE we used to play and I will add i.t to tomorrow’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Patricia Kiyono says:

    Sorry to be tardy! I have to agree with you on the Cutthroat games. It’s never fun to be on either end of the demoralizing. I like most of the card and board games you mentioned, but haven’t played them in quite some time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      With all the things you’re involved in — family, writing, reading, reviewing, promo, music, travel, crafts, etc. — I’m not surprised you don’t have several “free” hours to sit and play games.


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