“Okay, who has the current crown?” I say as I begin calculating what time we’ll likely be pulling into our parking garage.
“You do, Dad,” my son says with a sneer. “But I’m getting it back right now.”
He and I have five different crowns that we pass back and forth. One for wrestling, one for Farkle, one for Fruit Ninja, another for Ten-Hand-Run (a poker game we invented), and one for… Carrival.
What?! You haven’t heard of Carrival?
Of course you haven’t. We made it (and the name) up. And it makes driving anywhere at least six times more fun, especially as the destination nears.
But first, our crowns and how they work are important.
Anytime a previous champion of whichever event is dethroned, he must pretend to take the crown off his own head and place it onto the head of the winner. Then he must make squeaky noises as he pretends to polish the crown and give it some amazing shine which will last until the next time. If the reigning champion is not dethroned, the loser must polish the crown anyway. Of course there is always endless smack talk. We have quite the hilarious rivalry with this kind of stuff.
If you have kids, I highly recommend you play it as soon as the ABC driving game starts making you want to sign-up for those discounted lobotomies you keep seeing on passing billboards.
The way Carrival works for us is simple. I tell Noah the exact time I think we’ll be home (or arrive wherever we’re going) based on usual travel time.
Whoever currently has the crown gets to choose a time slot first.
The other guy, well… He has a decision to make. Sooner or later, and by how much?
“I think we should be home right around 3:36. So that’s the time I’m going to choose,” I tell him.
Noah thinks hard for a moment. “I’m going to take 3:37. I think we’re going to get stuck at some red lights.
Then the entire way home, one of us is always celebrating something.
“WOOT WOOOOT! The freeway is going FAST! No traffic! I’ve got this one in the bag!”
“Ooooh, is that light up ahead green? That means it’ll probably be red by the time we get there!”
“Why do there have to be pedestrians crossing RIGHT NOW!?”
“I’m going to need the next three lights to be green if you want a chance!”
“NO! A TRAIN! I’m doomed!”
You get the idea.
The winner is determined when we pull in, and I shift the car into park. At that point, the winner either gets or keeps the crown, or their existing crown gets re-polished.
The best Carrival games are the ones where we literally are both screaming at the clock to either change or not change as we get closer and closer! Many times the clock has changed as I was shifting the car into park. It can be quite a hair-raiser.
Anyway, fellow parents… feel free to borrow Carrival. It’s a fantastic way to get rid of the “are we almost there?” questions and replacing them with excited exclamations such as: “YES! THREE RED LIGHTS IN A ROW!”
Just be prepared to polish a lot of crowns if you do play with your kids because along with the game comes “accidentally” doing things like taking wrong turns, unnecessary four-point turns, and taking the way home where the train often keeps you (and your plans of winning) derailed.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing