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She Was Never At The Age For Games

, , , , | Right | January 18, 2018

(A customer with an eight-year-old child comes over and asks us to recommend a board game as a present for her husband. It’s immediately apparent she knows nothing about board games. I pull out our favourite gateway game and extol its many virtues: ease of learning, replayability, family-friendliness, etc. The customer seems happy, takes the box to look at, and fixates on game’s age rating, “8+.”)

Customer: “My husband is 36. This says eight.”

Me: “Ma’am, the age rating mostly informs about difficulty of rules. I know five-year-olds who play with family, and many adults who enjoy this game with friends.”

Customer: “But my husband is 36 years old. “

(I’m thinking, okay. Maybe the husband will play with his buddies and not with her. Something meatier, then. I take down a strategy/economy game and explain it, emphasizing required strategy, deep decision-making, and cutthroat player competition. She takes a look and sees a “12+” on the box.)

Customer: “It’s 12. He is 36.”

Me: “The age on the box is, roughly, when a player can understand the rules and play unassisted. An eight-year-old couldn’t play this alone; there’s too many things to keep track of. A 12-year-old could play, but not at a great level. An adult would be able to see and plan and use all the game has to offer. I promise it won’t be too easy or boring.”

(I go into this “teaching mode” for a few minutes, explaining and pointing out examples of how some of the most mind-bending, headache-inducing, multi-hour games only have “14+” age ratings and some of the greatest, most popular games worldwide are “8+” or “10+”. By the end, I can see in her eight-year-old son’s eyes that he understands. The customer is holding a box, thoughtfully looking at a picture of a game in progress. Then she raises her head.)

Customer: “But my husband is 36.”

(Eventually she picked out and bought an outdoor game of throwing wooden sticks at targets, presumably because it didn’t have an age listed anywhere on the box.)

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