I remember a Christmas eons ago when someone in my dear wife Jennifer's family got a new card game. After the last piece of wrapping paper had settled, we decided to give the game a try.

It didn't take long before all the Christmas cheer was sucked out of the room, and arguments ensued about the rules of play.

I don't recall all the very important nuances of that particular game's edicts, but rule No. 5 in the instruction manual we reluctantly cracked open for the first time has always stuck in my noggin.

"Rule No. 5: Have fun."

Yeah, right.

I can say with some certainty this rule does not universally apply to all games.

Long before we had kids, we were quite the party animals and on New Year's Eve we started a tradition of playing Yahtzee. One game for all the marbles, er dice, and bragging rights. The winner is ruler of all for the entire year, can pass on such tasks as ordering the pizza, and has the right to take the most comfortable pillow on the sofa.

These are pretty high stakes.

Over the years, some of our five kids have asked to join in, but soon slinked away from the table and ducked for cover over the verbal gamesmanship or stink-eye over having to "burn" your Chance on a roll of a one, a three, a four, a five and egads another one. Ugh. 13.

This year's annual test of our marriage started out great, at least for me, when I rolled my way to a large straight right out of the gate.

My lovely wife had to take a Chance on her first roll. I respectfully let out a loud guffaw and offered some words of discouragement.

Karma took over and let's just say things went downhill from there. The battle of wills, skills and some chippy talk ended in victory for her — not me.

I lost by one point. But I should note I have filed a formal protest with the fine folks at Hasbro, who for some reason appear to have blocked my emails.

Those families with a similar, but a hopefully more subdued, competitive spirit should head out to the Akron Zoo this weekend to check out its new Fun Zone.

On Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m., the zoo has set aside space inside the warm and cozy Komodo Kingdom where guests can play oversized games like Connect 4 and Jenga.

There will also be up-close and personal animal encounters, a sports station, crafts and other creative activities. It's all included in your $7 admission to the zoo. For more, visit www.akronzoo.org or call 330-375-2550.

You might even see the Webbheads there. I will be the one sulking in the Komodo Cafe ordering the pizza.

 

Craig Webb, who is already practicing for next year's Yahtzee match on his iPad, can be reached at cwebb@thebeaconjournal.com.