My kids are gamers. Not the electronic kind. More the board game kind. Most of the time they are playing something that involves strategy, conquests, and "guns vs. butter" analysis. Currently a favorite is The Settlers of Catan. I usually leave them to it. I enjoy games as well but I lean more towards word games like Scrabble or Boggle or card games like Hearts or Gin. I absolutely love crossword puzzles. Last night my kids introduced my husband and me to a game that was perfect for all of us, Dixit.
This is a very simple game played with a deck of 84 cards. Each card has a charming whimsical illustration by Marie Cardouat. The active player looks at his hand of 6 cards and chooses one. Without revealing his choice to the other players, he offers a caption--word, phrase, sound-- that describes the card. Each of the other players then looks at his own hand and chooses a card that could fit this caption. The choices are all secretly submitted, shuffled, then displayed. Players try to guess which card is the actual card chosen by the active player. The catch is that the active player scores points if some, but not all of the other players guess his choice. So the strategy is to offer a caption specific enough that some in the group will understand, but vague enough that other cards could be a correct answer. This means that your knowledge of the other players in the group will be key.
For example, on my turn I selected a card that showed a giant snail shell with a rope of knotted sheets hanging down from the upper window. My daughter is an engineer without much of a life-science background. My son-in-law studied wildlife conservation so I knew he had an animal biology background. My husband and son who were playing had a fair knowledge of biology. I offered "cochlear" as my caption. The other cards offered by the group included an illustration of a musical instrument as well as a musical conductor. My son, husband, and son-in-law all got the connection between "cochlear" and the snail shell. The cochlea is the spiral shaped bony structure in the inner ear that allows for hearing. My daughter missed the connection and chose a different card. Therefore, I scored points.
In another round, someone used the caption Joss Whedon to describe the picture of a dollhouse. If you are familiar with Joss Whedon, (as all of my kids are) you would know that he created the television series The Dollhouse. For those of us out of the loop, the Dollhouse meant nothing.
We had so much fun playing this game. I began to see the captions as crossword puzzle clues since the definitions and connections were not necessarily straightforward. It involved a lot of non-linear thinking. The illustrations are beautiful and surprising in their complexity which added to the enjoyment.
I thought of all my friends who are writers, book-lovers, and crossword puzzle aficionados, and thought how much fun we would have if we could all play this together. In any case, it might be something to add to your Christmas list.
KITCHEN TABLE CHATS
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I have worn many labels (Not in any particular order): Catholic, Wife, Mom,Gramma, Doctor, Major, Soccer Mom, Military Wife, Professor, Fellow.
All of these filter my views of the world. I hope that like St. Monica, I can through prayer, words and example, lead my children and others to Faith.