As I gaze into the future, I see a world where the Tiger Woods sex scandal has gone the way of so many before him. Even the likes of Kobe Bryant, John Edwards and Senator Larry Craig couldn’t sustain front page coverage of their affairs on every conceivable type of publication known to mankind. It is a peaceful gaze through the window into the future, but soon my tranquil vision takes a sudden shift in personality when my futuristic son runs to me screaming there is a tiger in my woods, there is a tiger in my woods!! Immediately in this time warp, though not quite alert, I am standing at my son’s side. My son pulls out his Spiderman mask and says; quick Dad put this on the back of your head. Of course, I put the mask on the “correct” way, covering my face. No, Dad you have it on the wrong side. Don’t you know tigers attack people from behind? You need a face on both sides of your head to scare them. What are you talking about, I say to him? C’mon, Dad, I told you there is tiger in my woods and I want you to help me get rid of him. He grabs my hand and we off on our tiger hunt.
Though I am in the future with my son, my mind takes a trip down memory lane. I recall that when I was a little fellow, I really loved board games. I played anyone and everyone; including my parents, my brother, friends and my dear Nana. Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, and Sorry were often among the games chosen. Though we were supposed to play for fun, I was competive even at a young age. It was well known that moms often try to lose when they play these games. Dads often rekindle their youths and try their hardest to teach there offspring a lesson. When you play with friends it is also a competive affair.
I remember many a day where die were rolled, spinners were spun and playing pieces were moved. I passed away many an hour playing these board games with family, friends and rivals. Well it so happened the day came when Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders and Sorry were no longer the games of the day. Ah, you think, I must have discovered girls. No, that was not it at all. I was still too young to play that game. On this day I made a different find. As it happened, I went to my toy shelf to choose my game. I noticed a new a new board sticking out on the shelf. Eagerly I took it down. The pink lettering on the cover of the box read, Forest Friends. There was an image of a squirrel, a rabbit and a chipmunk on the cover. I have always been an animal lover so I ran to my Nana, who was visiting at the time, exclaiming Forest Friends, Forrest Friends, I got Forest Friends! Will you play with me Nana? Oh, will you play with me Nana? Nana had seen this look in my eyes many a time and she had never resisted them.
Eagerly, I stripped the game from the box. It was equipped with four playing pieces of different colors, a spinner that was mounted on a cardboard platform and a board lined with images of fawns, blue birds, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, bears and skunks.
The basic concept of the game was simple. Each player would take their turn with the spinner. If a player spun a chipmunk, bluebird or a fawn then that player moved their piece forward to the next animal of that type on the board. If a player spun a bear, a rabbit or a squirrel then that player moved their piece backward to the space with the next like animal space. If the spinner rested on a skunk, the player moved forward to the next skunk and spun the spinner again and moved accordingly. This process continued until one player reached the end of the forest and claimed victory.
As you can see this is a fairly simple game. As a child I was simple I enjoyed it. Years later, my mother purchased an extra copy of the game for me as on eBay. At the time I had an astute friend who turned Forest Friends into a drinking game. I won’t go into the details here. However, I will say that this individual liked big cats, especially tigers. He was also an avid golfer and a big Tiger Woods fan. Accordingly, he replaced one of the skunks on the spinner with a picture of Tiger Woods and put an image of a Tiger at the game ending space at the end of the forest. Needless to say, if you spun a Tiger Woods, you moved your piece directly to the winner’s circle. It was more thrilling than passing GO while taking a trip on the Reading in a game of Monopoly and more exhilarating than drawing the Princess card early in a game of Candy Land
I being the clever guy that I am and with nothing better to do at the time, when the Tiger Woods sex scandal broke, took out my extra game of Forest Friends and replaced the other skunk on the spinner with another picture of a Tiger Woods. I then put pictures of Tigers on all the skunk pictures on the game board. I also changed one key rule. If you spun a Tiger Woods and landed on a tiger, you needed to return to the entrance to the forest. I entertained myself with this novelty for a bit and I can attest that with seven Tigers in the woods, the forest was much more treacherous.
Now it made perfect sense. As the years passed me by I forgot that I altered one of the Forest Friends games. My son not knowing that there were actually two versions of the game, the official version and my altered version, selected the wrong one. When he opened up his game to play it, he noticed that there was a tiger in his woods. Actually, there were seven tigers in his woods. Feeling a tad guilty about it all, I reassured my son that the tigers could be extricated from the game. I carefully removed each tiger from the game board. After each tiger was removed, my son looked up at me and said; Dad do you want to play a game of Forest Friends with me. Sure, I replied. As a good father and a veteran of Forest Friends gaming, I expected to teach him a lesson or two about the fundamentals of Forest Friends strategy. Unfortunately, it was not my day. My son spun many a skunk and quickly moved his playing piece out of the forest. I thought to myself, I would have won had we been playing the bootleg version. I guess though it was all for the best to have all of the tigers out of the woods.