Board again

For children of the ’80s or earlier, it likely involved a board game like Wahoo, whose origins date back to the Depression era, when a 15-by-15-inch piece of scrap wood could be transformed into the strategy game played with marbles and dice.

While Wahoo (also called Aggravation) went commercial with plastic and paper versions in the 1950s and ’60s, its popularity dimmed once arcades and then home video gaming took over.

Unless you went to Grandma’s house.

Thankfully, one local couple is doing its part to keep family game night alive the old-fashioned way. Piedmont’s David and Susan Hoehner own DJ’s Creations, making high-quality versions of the board games with which they grew up.

DJ’s Creations sells 14 games in all, including Wahoo, Sequence, Joker, Chinese Checkers, Triangle, Round Solitaire and Tic-Tac-Toe. In various stains and large and small sizes, the beautiful sets become a piece of game art in the home.

The boards range in price from $17 to $36 based on size and type. Special team color versions are available, such as orange and
red for a Sooner/Cowboys match-up. The duo primarily sets up shop at
craft fairs and markets such as Mistletoe Market, but the games also are
available for sale online at djscreations.net.

The
Hoehners attend up to six shows a year, with the largest being An
Affair of the Heart in Tulsa, which boasts 450 vendors the weekend
before Thanksgiving.

Making piece
Established
about six years ago, DJ’s Creations is just a husband-and-wife team
splitting the duties of crafting and selling the games. David Hoehner
does the woodworking and sculpting the marble holes, sanding and
varnishing, while Susan stains the boards and adds the colored dots and
backing.

The sets
include the marbles, dice, cards and instructions. Although they both
work full-time at other jobs, they hope to hock their homemade wares at
more shows when they retire.

Currently,
they sell more than 1,000 boards a year to customers of all ages.
Younger patrons often buy the boards for gifts at weddings and
birthdays, whereas older ones purchase the games for the childhood
nostalgia factor and sharing it with their children and grandchildren.

Susan
Hoehner remembers her father making a Wahoo board when she was a child,
using a leftover piece of wood from putting a new countertop and sink
in their house.

“Nothing
was wasted,” she said. In fact, she said their best-selling game is
Wahoo, which involves players maneuvering four marbles around the board
to home base first without being knocked out by their opponents. It
should be noted that the more players and the more marbles, the longer a
game takes.

Object: Communication
Getting
unplugged and off the grid is gaining favor in homes, and
psychologists like Dr. Lisa Marotta of Edmond encourage the practice.

“According
to the American Psychological Association, increased screen time is
associated with decreased attention, sleep, physical activity, social
interaction and grades. Screens cannot substitute for the active social
skill learning and connectedness that takes place during family game
nights,” Marotta said. “Children who come to my office often share
positive memories about playing outside and inside games as a family and
choose game night as a reward for reaching a goal.”

Fortunately,
the appeal of strategy and winning never goes out of style.
Discovering DJ’s Creations not only brought back fond memories for this
writer but did exactly what the Hoehners intended. Within minutes of
me setting the Tic-Tac-Toe game on a glass table in the living room,
my 16- and 8-year-old sons started playing without a single prompt.
When the teenager left the game, his 13-year-old sister jumped in.

On
a warm fall afternoon, a Wahoo match outside on the patio table
between she and I produced something far greater than a win for each
and the declaration by the teen that it was her new favorite game.

The real score? Interaction, real-life communication and sharing the same space.

Malena Lott

This material falls under the archives category because it was imported from our previous website. It will eventually be filtered into the proper category as time allows.

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