In What Are You Playing This Weekend? we discuss gaming and such with prominent figures in the pop-culture arena. We always start with the same question.
Wendy Molyneux writes for the beloved animated show Bob’s Burgers, which was just renewed by FOX for a fourth season. She’s also a regular contributor to McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and a devotee of family board game night.
The Gameological Society: What are you playing this weekend?
Wendy Molyneux: Well, my husband and I are board game freaks, and we just got our stuff out of storage after a complicated house move, so we may play a few of the ones that are okay for just two players, like Mr. Jack or Dominion.
Gameological: I’m not familiar with Mr. Jack. What’s that one about?
Molyneux: Oh, it’s a really good one. It’s based on Jack The Ripper. One person plays Jack, and the other person is the detective. If the detective figures out which character on the board is Jack, they win. If Jack escapes, he wins. It’s actually only meant for two players, so if you are part of a gaming couple, I highly recommend it.
But what I’m really looking forward to is Thanksgiving weekend, when many Molyneuxs will be together and once the kids are asleep, toot toot! It’s board games and alcohol time. The good thing about a big family is that you can get a bunch of tables going. A little Catan, a little Carcassonne, some Ticket To Ride. I was watching that show Sister Wives, about the Mormon fundamentalist polygamists, and in the background of a shot I saw that they have all the same games. I got a chill. Is that my future? More wives? Nineteen kids? On the upside, you could get a shitload of tables going with those kinds of numbers.
Gameological: Classics are classics, no matter who’s playing, I guess.
Molyneux: True enough. I actually like all the corny classics too, like Yahtzee and Monopoly. I have a special personality that’s reserved just for playing Monopoly. I get really aggressive and condescending, and everyone finds it really annoying except for me. It makes me feel alive!
Gameological: Any hurt feelings or long-standing Molyneux family feuds as a result of your gaming habits?
Molyneux: No, but I will say that I think my mother is a sneaky little sucker. She is the sweetest person in the world. She is always making everyone baked goods and buying them presents, and then she sits there and quietly beats all of us all the time in this really cold-blooded way.
Gameological: As a comedy writer, do you lean toward lighthearted games? Or is gaming your opportunity to put funny aside and get hardcore?
Molyneux: I like dramatic games. I really enjoy the board game Pandemic, where you try to stop the spread of a global disease. I get so into it. I really start to feel nauseous when we draw an epidemic card. I’m getting chills right now just thinking about it. We have to stop that disease!
Gameological: So you can rein in your aggressive side for a cooperative game? Speaking personally, I prefer something more cutthroat and competitive.
Molyneux: Jason, you’re competing against a worldwide epidemic! Wake up, Jason, we need you! Get that medicine to Shanghai now!
Gameological: Bob’s Burgers recently did an entire episode about video game obsession—“Burgerboss.” Was that a particular favorite?
Molyneux: Oh yes. I definitely identify. Right now I’m obsessed with completing everything in Kingdom Rush on my iPad. I get in a really bad mood when I can’t clear a level, especially because I can only play about 45 minutes a night after my kid’s asleep. When my husband and I were first dating like a decade ago, we stayed up for two days playing The Sims, not eating or showering, and then we got into a big fight like two weird heroin junkies or something and decided to leave the house and never play again. Games can make you completely insane. I think Bob’s obsession made complete and total sense.
Gameological: TV writers spend a lot of late nights sitting around, staring at each other across conference room tables. Is there ever any opportunity to break out a few games to pass the time?
Molyneux: There was a two-week period when we all played Draw Something on our phones. That was pretty fun, but it’s easy to burn through all the entertainment value of little apps in a few days. The other staff game is that we bet on the TV show The Bachelor, and we keep an obsessive secret blog about it.
I play a lot outside of work with fellow staffer Jon Schroeder, and he is always playing Settlers of Catan online during breaks. My sister and writing partner, Lizzie Molyneux, made him an awesome T-shirt that says “I wouldn’t call it settling….” We haven’t converted anyone else yet, but we just got a season four pickup, so there’s time.
Gameological: You have a toddler. Do you see evidence that he’s gotten his mom’s gaming genes?
Molyneux: Actually, he likes to open board games and just look at all the pieces separately, especially Candy Land and Scrabble. And he likes this game Monkey Preschool Lunchbox on my iPad. His favorite game right now, though, is taking two Matchbox cars and making them say hi to each other.
And now, we put the question to you. Tell us what you’ve been playing lately, and which games—video or otherwise—are on your playlist for the weekend.