Americans enjoy card and game parties as highly social activities, usually with snacks and drinks. Bridge and poker are the two most popular card games, usually played for money, though often for very small amounts. Men’s poker nights and women’s bridge nights on a regular or weekly basis are common (though mixed groups also play these games). If invited to play either of these card games, it is important to understand the level of money, if any, involved, and to learn as much as possible about the games so as not to slow them down. Most Americans are happy to explain the rules of their games to newcomers.
Americans may also invite you to a get-together to play “parlor games” such as charades, or commercial boxed games such as perennial favorite Monopoly, a “board game” in which players are expected to make aggressive real estate deals. Here, once again, no one expects you to arrive in the country with a full knowledge of the rules. Monopoly, in fact, is an American cultural icon. Reference to ownership of various properties, such as the valuable combination of “Boardwalk and Park Place,” may signify making a success in the world. A spate of bad luck may be metaphorically likened to going “to Jail” without “passing Go.” You will understand these uniquely American references once you become familiar with the game (provided you use the standard version). You can easily learn as you go, since only play “Monopoly Money” is involved. Another extremely popular board game in the United States is Clue, a murder mystery game that has its origins in England.
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