I'm kind of a sore loser. When I was growing up, I didn't like games of strategy because I'm just not that strategic of a thinker. And I didn't like games of chance because I'm not that lucky. Once I got old enough to opt out, when my family would sit down to a game, I'd camp out in the same room with a book and make more or less helpful or snide comments to the players in the background. Now that there are team games like Cranium or Pictionary, I'm more likely to play, maybe because they involve teams so if I lose there is an entire group of people who goes down with me.
That's a nice realisation for a Wednesday night . . .
All the same, when we had group projects in eighth grade social studies class, I liked inventing board games. I'm not sure someone who dislikes games is capable of making good ones, but I am here to tell you that, nevertheless, I have come up with a new game. It is great, because it combines both strategy and chance. Get ready for next Christmas, folks, and start saving now. It's pretty expensive. It is called:
Cancer: The Board Game
The object of the game is to move from cancer diagnosis through treatment to being cancer-free, first, and without dying. The "Start" block is a doctor's office for a routine check-up, and depending on a roll of the dice, you can end up with a clean bill of health, or with a complication which you have to get checked out. If you get a clean bill of health, you're pretty much out of the game. I haven't figured out if that means you won or you lost, since the game is called Cancer: The Board Game, and since you pretty much haven't completed any of the objectives. Anyway, whatever. Go get yourself a book and make snide comments to those of us who get diagnosed with cancer in this game. (Note: that part is not very true-to-life. No one has yet made any snide comments about my real diagnosis. Also not very true-to-life is the idea that cancer patients are out to race each other to a positive outcome. I think this is something that is Not Done. But we're talking retail profit here. No one wants to buy a game where all you do is help each other. Do they?)
Everybody else who rolls a complication is guaranteed to get a cancer diagnosis, because this is Cancer: The Board Game, and not Anurysm: The Card Game or Deep Vein Thrombosis Solitaire or anything like that. Various things happen based on dice rolls, and then finally you get to treatment stage where you encounter "Treatment Cards." This is where actual thinking might happen. If you feel like it.
Say you roll the dice and you land on a space that says, "You have stage 1, grade 2 cancer. You may opt for the traditional treatment [which entails going down a long and circuitous chemotherapy track that has all sorts of pitfalls sending you back five spaces or something] or draw a Treatment Card." You know that if you draw a Treatment Card, you might mis-roll later and end up back in that very chemotherapy trail you were hoping to avoid, but if you don't, you'll be that much closer to the end of the game and beating out your fellow cancer-sufferers.
So you draw a Treatment Card and it says, "You are going to be treated with radiation and hormone therapy. Go to Radiation." You move your playing piece to the Radiation section and it says, "You will be here for six weeks. Every day heterosexual members of the opposite sex who are your age or younger will radiate a part of your body you do not wish them to see. Lose six turns." (I haven't figured what happens when everybody is losing multiple turns at once . . . )
Then after that you move your piece to Hormone Therapy and it says, "You are taking Tamoxifen. Side effects are usually mild and treatable, but may include . . . [yeah, actually, I don't want to write them here. You can click here if you really want to know]. Lose a turn and go back two spaces."
I'll let you know how the game ends up. These are just examples of the hosts of diagnoses, moves, decisions you can encounter in this fabulous game. Don't you want to play?