It’s the time of year where it’s best to just stay put and wait it out, am I right? It’s cold, but snowless. Christmas is over and thinking about it kind of makes you need a shot of Pepto. And January is one long month. Really, the most we can do is hang on until Groundhog Day, Valentine’s and St. Patty’s Day, which are, if we’re honest, really B- and C-list holidays at best. I mean, you don’t even get the day off.

But! I have the solution. It’s called Sequence and I prescribe playing it on a daily basis.

My brother Matthew and sister-in-law Jennie introduced us to the board game over Christmas by buying a copy of it for my parents.

I’m always somewhat reluctant to learn how to play a new game as it, a), seems like work instead of fun and, b), I’m afraid that my slowness in picking up its concept will publicly prove, once and for all, that I’m not very bright.

But Matthew insisted (and I promptly do everything my little brother wants), and Jennie reassured me that Sequence doesn’t require an overwhelming amount of strategy (I’m still recovering from my 2004 bout with Stratego).

So we began and it quickly became clear that this, aside from Cribbage, might be the best game ever. I won’t go into the details, but just know it involves two decks of playing cards, a board and satisfying chips. Like Cribbage, it involves the right mix of strategy and chance, and each game takes about 20 minutes to play, if that.

Matthew and Jennie insisted we play girls against the boys and immediately started engaging in some salty trash talking, which made my stepdad Peter’s eyebrows fly up and down like bumblebees. My mom immediately assumed the role as Don, simply pointing to where she wanted her chip to be placed. Matthew both took the longest to play and then rushed others into playing faster. I sat there and ate cheese biscuit after cheese biscuit after cheese biscuit.

Since, I’ve bought an $11 copy of the game on Amazon, and Matthew and Jennie purchased the deluxe version complete with wooden board and pretty chips, of which I am very, very jealous.

William and I have been playing it over happy hour at our downstairs bar as the puppy dogs play and then sleep in our laps. I never thought I’d be the type to look forward to doing the same thing day in and day out, but, wow, I can’t believe how relaxing and satisfying it is.

Even better is our evening is then peppered with pictures and chitchat amongst my family about how my mom and Peter and Matthew and Jennie are doing with their games.

It’s so storybook and functional it’s practically like we’re in a movie with Diane Keaton, like Father of the Bride or even The Family Stone, where the parents live in a big rambling house in snowy New England. On the second or even third floor of that house, you know there is a closet stuffed chock-full with board games, boxes that contain 20-year-old score sheets inside.

Of course, we’re in three very different parts of the continent — Edmonton, Winnipeg, Kentucky — but it’s nice to think about, us being this Board Game Family. It’s even nice to think about us all doing the same thing at the same time, even though we’re so far apart.

William wasn’t able to come to Winnipeg this Christmas because of work, but when I introduced the game to he and Gabrielle, they were immediately into it and immediately better at it than I am. But, again, because there is that element of chance (Jacks are wild and, because there are two decks, there are eight of them floating around), it doesn’t matter too much.

Anyway, Sequence has saved us from the January doldrums, so heavy with diets, so restricted by resolutions, and as we sit in our little corner of the house playing, I am reminded that this time of year doesn’t have to be barren. New traditions can grow in January, too.

 

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