Whatever the game, I play yellow. After cracking the cellophane on a new game, I am sorely disappointed if yellow isn’t an option. I’ll then grudgingly choose the most yellow of the remaining options, but it’s not the same. I don’t play taupe, I play yellow.
This fierce allegiance is not uncommon. Others form similar attachments to red, blue and black. My son, Alfie, plays green. The speed at which those green pieces are snatched from the box before it’s barely hit the table, is alarming for the uninitiated. Sparks may fly when you play with a new group of people and two people have the same powerful pull to the same colour. I recently played a game of Terraforming Mars with a new group of gamers, including a yellow player. I was teaching the game, so I was preparing the components and when I looked up, the yellow pieces had been purloined. I felt the colour drain from my face as I was forced to pick up the black pieces. Throughout the game I kept moving the yellow pieces, I expect I lost a good 10 points to my yellow opponent. Bitter? Me?
When playing as a family, having standard colours causes no such issue. Each member of the family always plays the same colour, always different from one another. The consistency helps to identify each player in every game. Having a player colour also helps to draw family members in. Having part of a game that they perceive as their own, makes a player feel invested in the game, even if they’ve never played it before. When opening a new box and seeing components in their own colour, the player knows that those are theirs – their own special piece of the game.
With player colours clearly defined, individual devotion to a hue can easily seep into other aspects of family life. I will always select yellow pens, pencils and notebooks, and I’m strangely drawn to yellow cardigans, because that is my colour. The contents of my boys’ stockings are usually carefully colour-aligned (clever Father Christmas). I only wish my husband would choose a player colour, then it might be easier for him to identify his own socks.
For colour psychology believers, the choice of player-colour might offer a window into the personality. For me, I just get pleasure from identifying with a colour that is my own, though I don’t mind if others assume me to be creative, independent and cheerful.