Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

On the Table: Sorry!

I’ve been making a point to try to game with the kids more, lately. Though it’s not really a “hobby game” in the strictest sense, Sorry! is one that keeps getting requested. It really seems to dominate its little niche quite well– at the very least, a classic like Pachisi doesn’t really stand a chance against it at my house. (Are my kids missing anything by not getting exposed to Pachisi?)

There’s so much to like about the game, though:

  • Drawing the exact card you need to land on a slide and send someone back home. That never gets old!
  • Drawing a 2… bring a man out from start… and then drawing “backwards 4.” It doesn’t get any better than that!
  • Drawing an 11 and then swapping with someone that is about to come around your corner. He can’t land on you now, you threaten to land on him, and you just got saved a long trip around the board.
  • Shortcuts are fun, but going the long way is fun, too. Getting twelves, landing on slides, praying that your opponents don’t send you back. It’s exhilarating to successfully run the gauntlet.
  • Of course, at the end… you get all these guys in the safe zone waiting to go home. Probably the ultimate move is to get a 7 and then be able to use that to get two guys in. Getting a dude home and then accomplishing just about anything else extra is a sweet deal.

It’s such a simple game, but there are so many ways to feel awesome in the course of playing it. If you fall behind, you have a chance to catch up when your opponent gets several pieces to the safe zone. And if all of his pieces are out, he doesn’t get to use “Sorry!” cards against other people even though he is still vulnerable to them. That’s some solid game design there.

Easy to learn, easy to set up, quick to play, fun for all ages… this game is a classic for a reason. The clean, understated retro-look of the original game is very appealing as well. Now, I get that serious board gamers like to harsh on stuff like Risk and Monopoly. But really, there are a couple of games that came out before 1995 that are still worth playing. This is one that the “cult of the new” can’t touch.

I’m biased, of course– especially after witnessing my son triumph over his family last weekend. That elation– the genuine sense of accomplishment and pride… it was epic. Never mind how many losses he’s had to suck up in the past. Drawing that last card to get the last man home might as well have been a recapitulation of Thermopylae.

This is the one kids game that I never get tired of.


3 responses to “On the Table: Sorry!

  1. Alex August 6, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    I thought Sorry! was just Parchisi without the cowrie shells. So, uh… I guess the main difference is the statistical probability of rolling a particular number, as opposed to the binary probability of each shell cast having a value of 1 or nothing.

    • jeffro August 6, 2013 at 12:56 pm

      Woah– the shells. Never heard of them! Next time I hear of someone going to the subcontinent, I’ll see if they can bring back the real thing.

  2. Chris Mata August 6, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    You are a good man. My wife does the ‘normal’ games with the kid. I picked up Qwirkle for Trent and I. It scales well with all ages.

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