Five Guys, Four Days and a Board Game

Steve called from Shanghai last nite. “You’re bringing the “Acquire” game, right?’ After we stopped laughing when I told him I’d already packed the damn thing in my luggage, I let a whole flood of memories wash over me.

Steve’s coming home for the holidays and I am psyched. He’s my college roommate and has been an expat since the early 70’s. In the past, when he’s made it back for a visit it’s usually to the West Coast, too far for me to travel, and often too demanding on my “gotta make a living” routine. But not this year. I’m living in Phoenix now, a short road trip to LA and I’m there, come hell or high water (insert your own driving-through-the-desert-joke here).

Gary, another friend from the old days and a great musician, will be there, too. I last saw him in 1980 when he and his band toured the country, opening for Gary US Bonds. Bobby, too, will join us. Bobby has a wicked grin and a knack for getting the most out of a V8 engine. He’s also a former Duncan Yo-Yo Champion.  And Michael, who, like the others, is a childhood friend of Steve’s. Michael and I have never met, but having Steve in common makes us part of the Brotherhood.

Acquire, an Avalon Hill game

Acquire, an Avalon Hill game

Steve is a serious game player–a world-championship-level bridge player, in fact. If it has chips, dice, or involves moving pieces around a board and keeping score, Steve loves it. Same for Bobby. And so, like a black hole sucks in light, just hanging around these two pulls us all into the game.

For a long time “Acquire” was the board game of choice. Players build companies, merge them with others. When the last company has been gobbled up, the winner emerges, Trump-like. The more players, the more challenging and the more fun the game. It also has the benefit of being easy enough to play while ice cubes are clinking in your glass.

We spent hours at this game, laughing, shouting in excitement, hanging our heads in momentary shame over our lack of cleverness. If given the choice of playing “Acquire” and just about anything else,

Mike-Mike, Steve and me. NYC, 1982.

Mike-Mike, Steve and me. NYC, 1982.

 “Acquire” would win out. In fact, the first night of my bachelor party (yes, a two-day bachelor party, thankyouverymuch) was spent with me, Steve and my childhood friend Mike-Mike, locked up in a far corner room of a Day’s Inn playing, drinking, telling old stories and enjoying each other’s company.

I can’t wait to get together with these friends again. To take part in all the “you remember when..?” conversations, to laugh out loud at how serious we were then, and appreciate how tight we are still.

Road trips like these are made up of miles and memories. I’m looking forward to acquiring more of both.

Kent McDonald is a Certified Personal Chef,  the owner of KentCooks!, living and working in Phoenix, AZ. (c) 2008 All Rights Reserved


2 thoughts on “Five Guys, Four Days and a Board Game

  1. Kent,

    Great blog, first off!

    Secondly…. I KNOW ACQUIRE! My boyhood best friend had the game & we had marathon sessions… complete with screaming expletives & genuine threats of violence (I was only a witness to the kitchen knife incident, I swear!). I remember some of the hotel chains; Tower, American, Luxor, Imperial, & Continental come to mind. I can still hear the sounds of the tiles rattling in the box top! Thanks for the fun flashback to a different time of life!


  2. —We found it best to keep sharp objects out of the game room. Small pets as well. I do remember much spillage of beverages, and I’m on my second game, having had to retire the first because is absolutely stank of stale beer. Ah, sweet memories…

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