Man vs Wife: Sorry!

Man vs WifeSorry! by Parker Brothers, since 1934, is a cross and circle game. Which is another way to say a racing game, whose object is to move your pieces around the board from start to finish before the other players do the same. It’s also billed as “The game of sweet revenge”, which is a poetic way to say “The game of making the other players furious and hate you”.

The game comes with a board, sixteen game pieces in four groups of four, and a stack of cards. Unlike some other racing games, Sorry! uses cards drawn to do movement rather than dice, which ultimately is probably a good thing since throwing dice around in a game that can anger you so much is not the best idea in the world. (Wife: I love playing Sorry!) I’m pretty sure you don’t. (Wife: You’re wrong.) Okay, don’t say I didn’t warn you.


The game of sweet reven... you know what?! Eat me!

For our 2 player game, we take up Blue and Green for our colors so that we are opposite each other. (Wife: Picking colors next to each other wouldn’t have been fair.) Because if given the choice I’d choose the color behind you. (Wife: Then I’d pick the color behind you.) And I’d switch colors. (Wife: Me too.) And we’d probably start our first argument before a single card had been drawn. (Wife: Oh, this is that game!) Wait, it’ll get worse.

One of the single most annoying rules of Sorry! is that you have to draw either a 1 or a 2 to move a piece out of your Start circle. (Wife: You can also use a Sorry! card to take the place of an opponent’s piece, bumping their piece back to Start.) Right, but in the beginning, it takes a while. We didn’t use the head start rules that puts a single piece outside Start to start, so we spend a lot of time just trying to get pieces out of Start. (Wife: You are exaggerating. It didn’t take that long.) I disagree. It took too long, that’s not a specific amount of time, it’s just too long.

The movement cards in the game are the following:

  • 1 – move a piece out of Start, or move a piece forward one space.
  • 2 – move a piece out of Start, or move a piece forward two spaces. Draw another card.
  • 3 – move a piece forward three spaces.
  • 4 – move a piece backward four spaces.
  • 5 – move a piece forward five spaces.
  • 7 – move a piece forward seven spaces, or split the seven moves between two pieces. You cannot use this to move a piece from Start and must you all seven moves or none of them.
  • 8 – move a piece forward eight spaces.
  • 10 – move a piece forward ten spaces, or move a piece backward one space. If you cannot move forward ten, you must move backward one.
  • 11 – move a piece forward eleven spaces, or swap places with an opponent’s piece. If you cannot move forward eleven, you are not forced to swap places.
  • 12 – move a piece forward twelves space.
  • Sorry! – move a piece from your Start to a space occupied by an opponent’s piece, bumping them back to their Start.

Any time your move ends your piece on the same spot as an opponent’s piece, you bump them back to Start. The board also has slides on it. If you end a movement on the top of a slide, you move to the bottom of the slide, bumping all pieces in the way back to Start. (Wife: That’s a lot of bumping people back to Start.) Indeed. (Wife: I think perhaps I only LIKED playing Sorry!, not loved it.) See, I was right. (Wife: I guess it has to happen from time to time.) Wait, it’ll get worse.

So, we begin drawing cards, finally getting some pieces out on the board and moving them around. She get’s the first Sorry! card. (Wife: Hah!) I get the first eleven, which I use to swap places. (Wife: Why did you move your piece backwards?) Because it moves your piece past the Safe Zone and you have to go all the way around again. (Wife: What?! You suck!) And then we spend the next hour making each other angry by bumping each other back to Start again and again, using Sorry! cards and slides and screwing each other over. (Wife: I’m pretty sure I don’t like this game at all.) See? (Wife: Don’t be smug.)

One of the best strategies in the game is to get a piece out of Start and then get a 4, move that piece backwards past the entry to the Safe Zone, and then move forward into the Safe Zone. It saves you from having to go around the board. (Wife: I did that.) I know. (Wife: Several times.) I know. You essentially want to get your pieces into the Safe Zone as fast as possible because once there you can’t be bumped back to Start.

With as much anger and spite as the game generates during play, it ends with a whimper. Eventually you end up with both people having only one or two pieces still in play, and because you have to move to the Finish on an exact count, and no one has any pieces in Start, and everyone’s remaining pieces are in the Safe Zone anyway, you wind up drawing cards over and over, doing nothing, waiting for the ones, twos and threes that you need to get to that final space. Or maybe you get lucky, get a seven and are able to split it between two pieces and get one or both in. By the time she wins (Wife: I win!) we’ve calmed down, our emotions mostly spent.

Somehow, I have fond memories of playing this game as a kid. (Wife: Me too.) And I think it’s because my parents let me win and never took revenge on me when they could avoid it. (Wife: Me too.) I think it’s important that people get a proper exposure to Sorry! and that includes hating it. (Wife: We may never play this again.) Until we can secretly gang up on another player. (Wife: Woohoo! High five!) You know it!

My recommendation: Never ever EVER play Sorry! with 2 players. Play with 4, always 4. There is so much revenging on other players in a game of Sorry! that if you are forced to always do so to the same person, it just makes for bad feelings. You need to be able to spread the revenge around a bit.


Man, 0. Wife, 6.

(Wife: I’m not.) Not what? (Wife: I’m not “Sorry!” Mwahahaha! I win!) I have created a monster…

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