If there is one game that I truly dread seeing my daughter pull from the shelf, it is Hi Ho! Cherry-O.
For those of you who have never had the pleasure of playing this game, this warning is for you: Hi Ho! Cherry-O NEVER ENDS. Much like Monopoly, it just goes on and on and on …
Here’s the gist: Each player (up to four) has a tree with 10 cherries; the goal is to get all those cherries into a bucket through the luck of the spinner. Simple enough, and the game does have some pros, including teaching number recognition, counting, addition and subtraction.
But then there are the cons, starting with the cherries themselves. If you put them on the trees the way you are supposed to, with the stems facing up, the smallest bump of the board sends them rolling this way and that. So we’ve wised up and started placing our cherries stem down, which gives them at least a little stability.
Also, the cherries are small, which means no matter how carefully you think you’ve put them away, at least a few will be left behind. And I usually find these lost pieces by stepping on them in unusual places. I mean, seriously, how does a cherry find its way from the living room, down the hallway and into the bathroom?
But the true evil of this game is the spinner. There are seven options you can land on: one cherry, two cherries, three cherries or four, which indicates the number of pieces of fruit you can move from your tree to your bucket; a dog or a bird, each of which requires you to put two cherries from your bucket back on your tree; or the spilled bucket (which I land on most frequently), which makes you return all your cherries to the tree. So there are four good spins and three bad – a pretty fair chance that you’re not going to be happy by the end of your turn.
Tonight, Cera somehow convinced me to engage in what turned out to be one of those never-ending games. She’d hit two cherries, followed the next turn by a dog, then I’d do the same, and we’d both dissolve into giggles.
Ten minutes in, after hitting the spilled bucket and returning seven cherries to my tree (I was so close, I could taste victory!), I declared that Hi Ho! Cherry-O is the worst game ever.
“Yeah,” Cera said, still giggling, “but it’s fun, too, because we keep laughing.”
OK, so maybe Hi Ho! Cherry-O isn’t the worst game ever. But it’s still pretty high on my list.
Now, if I can just keep Cera from discovering Monopoly …