Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday Coffeehouse: Family Games

Playing games is such a wonderful family/friend activity which I think is quite a bit more edifying than movies, which is such a common form of entertainment these days. Playing games allows/sets the tone of social interaction with others, which helps each person get to know the other much better. It can bring out the best and the worst of people, the competitiveness we are all prone to and of course many laughs. I used to be known for really losing it when I'd play Pictionary... )I'm sure many of us are familiar with that game!) I'd get so worked up that I'd bang on the table. People got to know a whole new side of me! I particularly love games that challenge your wit, mind, self-control and such. Strategic games are great, too, but I'm not particularly gifted at such games so I really don't know many beyond Risk and Chess...

If you have older children, it may be fun to start introducing the children to fun games they can play together or with friends. Make a pot of tea, cocoa and sweets or popcorn and enjoy a night of games.

I think we all know the basic card games (too many to list) and board games: Clue, Scrabble, Snakes and Ladders, Monopoly, Checkers and such... These are all fun games fitting for the family. But there are more less-known ones out there, as well, a few of which I'll list below. I've had loads of fun with these and highly reccomend trying them out.

The Name Game: Each player gets a "name" attached to their heads. (A peice of paper small enough to fit on their foreheads, attached with a peice of scotch tape. (*don't attach it to their hair!!) They cannot know what the name is. Players pick names for eachother. The "name" must be a name which everyone must be familiar with. It should ideally be a character or a famous person... For example: Tintin, Snow White, Calvin (from Calvin and Hobbes) John F. Kennedy, Colin Firth (from Pride and Prejudice) orJudy Garland...
The goal is for each person to guess who they are. (To guess the name on their own heads.)Each person gets a turn to ask a yes or no question, to which the rest answer truthfully. The turns continue around in order until everyone, by the questions they ask, figures out who they are. This game is funny because sometimes a person just doesn't ask the right questions and get stuck forever while the rest of the crowd is staring at a completely obvious name, such as "George Bush". Good questions would include: "Am I famous? Am I female? Am I alive? Am I fictional? Am I in a movie? Am I an entertainer? Am I an artist? Am I an animal? Am I a politician?... Do I KNOW this person? Have I MET this person?..." etc. A good name would be that of someone sitting at the table... ie, if I were playing with Hope, the name on my head could be "Hope". This can be, sometimes, surprisingly hard to guess.

Dictionary: All that is needed for this game is creativity, paper and pencils and a dictionary. This game is basically a simpler version of Balderdash, just without the board and in the category of Definition alone. One person chooses a word from the dictionary (preferrably one which most players won't have heard of). This person tells everyone the word itself, but not the definition. Everyone must make up their own definitions of this word, with the goal of getting the rest of the players to think that theirs is the correct definition. While evryone is writing their definitions, the word-chooser writes the real definition on a peice of paper. After everyone is done with their definitions, The word-chooser collects everyone's slips of paper, scrambles them up (the real definition included) and reads them aloud. This is the fun part of the game, as usually it results in good laughs. (If the word chooser was skilled enough in this game, he/she will have chosen a word with such an unbelievable definition that most people will not guess the real definition.) The person who gets the most votes for the best definition "wins", and if no one guesses the real definition, the word-chooser "wins". You can sort of make up your own way of ending the game, doing tournament style or taking it game-to-game, just for fun.

Non Sequitur: A thought that does not logically follow what has just been said: "We had been discussing plumbing, so her remark about astrology was a real non sequitur." Non sequitur is Latin for "It does not follow." (~definition from Bartleby. com)

This "game" sort of came about naturally a long time ago at a dinner table conversation. One person said something that was a complete non sequitur and then we all decided to keep it going. It's harder than you think to keep every single comment unrelated to the last one, as it goes against all common conversational skills, which in general are flowing. For instance, if a person is wise, they will say a statement which will make the next person at the table want to answer or respond. For example, "Hasn't it been a cold day?" (The person will want to respond, "yes!" before their statement." Am even better one would be "You have something in your hair!!" (say this in an alarmed way). To this one will want to respond, "I do?"
The "conversation" goes clockwise around the room ar table, each person saying their own non-sequitur. If a person responds, ie fails to say a statement that is a non-sequitur, they are out. The game continues until 1 person is left (the winner.)

"This is a very sad and serious occassion." This is pretty much a test of self-control. Each player, in turn, says to the person on their left (going clockwise around the table) this phrase. They must keep a straight face and not smile in the least. Even a tiny smilrk and you lose (yYou step out of the game). Last person left wins. The pressure of the silence and everyone watching you say this serious phrase is what makes it challenging.

Smiling Contest. The name says it all. Two people face eachother, looking into eachothers' eyes, and must remain still and straight-faces. The first person who budges any muscle of a smile loses. You can also play "laughing contest" or "blinking contest". I'm incapable of the blinking contest. I don't know how anyone does it!

That's it for now, folks. I'm tired. Happy game-nights, and please, friends and family, if I am missing anything, post it in the comments, will you?

~Sia in Vancouver, WA

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one of us :: 12:15 AM :: 5 Comments

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