EPIC board games are a traditional part of Christmas holidays.
They help break up the times between drinking and eating.
Some families do that by fighting.
But more productively, you can play games.
Holiday games can be divided into three types.
Ones where you use your brain.
Ones where you don't.
And ones you watch, like the cricket, soccer and, to a way lesser extent, Sydney to Hobart.
Inevitably those games come to an end at some stage of the day, leaving you to fill in half the night.
Which gets us back to thinking games, and non-thinking. Often played in that order, reflecting how capable you are of thinking, depending on how much Christmas cheer you've had.
Classic games where you have to really think include cards, Scrabble and whose turn it is to go get you a drink.
Lesser thinking games include chess, checkers, Pictionary and Trivial Pursuit.
I'd like to focus on Scrabble today, but first a quick sledge for the others.
Trivial Pursuit you either know or you don't, depending on your access to internet.
Success in Pictionary comes down to how far you're allowed to actually verbalise what they're trying to scribble.
Chess, checkers and niche games like Rumeo can lead to brain haemorrhage and should be avoided.
Games that require no thinking by and large involve dice. Lovers of these games will often allege that, even though it's all down to chance, there is still strategy.
This is, of course, rubbish disguised to give the talentless a sense of something approaching dignity. Yahtzee being the classic. Translated from the mystic orient, it means "you're arsy".
But champions make their own luck as any Yahtzee king will tell after they've thrown 15 full houses to wipe the field.
But more of my favourite game later.
Monopoly is by and large a game of chance and yet remarkably the tight-arse of the group regularly triumphs by sheer force of bastardry. I mean strategy.
Scrabble players love to think. Not sure about what, but judging by how long they spend with their heads in a dictionary, it could be that the rest of us don't mind that they have no word power.
That's why an egg timer comes in handy.
A quicker game is a gooder game.
Scrabble involves chance in that you don't have total control over what letters you get, unless you peek.
That's a bit naughty but totally understandable when you pull "o" "u" "u" "e" "o" "o" and another "u".
There is a flip side to this that in having such poo letters you don't have to try for the entire game because destiny has singled you out as two-syllable noun "loser", which, even if you had those letters, wouldn't score much.
If you do get some good letters then a bit of brainpower becomes necessary. With any luck you'll jag "quo" on a triple word and can relax a little more than you have all day.
Failing that, you can just be happy to have a go with unambitious yet game-facilitating words like "on" or "it".
You're never going to win like that.
But it's been a big day in front of the cricket and you're winning by just participating.
Often you'll have someone in the group who will stretch each grain of sand in the egg timer working the dictionary to get words you've never heard of.
It's more a case of finding crimes to fit the clues. These are your Sound of Music " re mi fa la ti" types.
Often they'll try on colloquialisms, proper nouns and just plain gibberish to keep them in the game.
Obviously it means a lot to them, so who could be buggered protesting.
Every now and then someone may threaten to invoke some rule about what's allowed or not.
But again, who could be bothered. House rules dictate that whoever could be, rules.
Having said that, it's amazing how many legitimate, vague words there are in the Oxford, and how many of them mean "rare Scottish fish".
Eventually everyone couldn't be bothered, so you pull out the Yahtzee, or backgammon, or whatever rolls your dice.
Yes, there is a major element of arse to these games. But if you lack ability, that's a great leveller and offers the opportunity to get inside the heads of opponents who usually have it all over you in the games requiring skill.
"Good things happen to good people", "touched by God" etc.
These are the many things you can smirk to your bitter and twisted rivals as you pull 5 sixes five times running out of your Yahtzee.
Deep in your heart you know you don't have the power.
Otherwise you would have won Lotto a long time ago.
But as Bowie once said on a family beach holiday, we could be heroes just for one day, or night, depending on what games got packed in the car.
With any luck, you'll go to bed with a smile and do it all again tomorrow.