21 September, 2011

Scrabble, Bananagrams, and Exquisite Corpse

Scrabble, you deserve a cupcake. Bananagrams, you too. And Exquisite Corpse (which I will explain eventually, as it is not as well known), well, you and me have a little thing going on. WHICH I LOVE.

I am not a great scrabble player. I might be better, right now, than I have ever been before in my life! But I do not play to win, and I do not want to practice all the strategies you ought to use to play to win. Because playing to win is not that much fun, for me.

I have finally learned some of these strategies. And one of them I like! Instead of crossing words, go ahead and stack words, making not just the long word you came up with, but also a bunch of other short words across both. WAY more points! I feel pretty clever every time I manage to do this well, which is not often.

Another strategy which I would not mind getting better at is remembering short (or long) unusual words. Zoa is great! I kind of remember what it means. Nota I picked up from other scrabble players online, and it must be a word because it won't let you make up words online. And I'd kind of like to know what it means, but not enough, so far, to go and look it up.

Because it doesn't come with any context, and what I really care about, as far as words go, is context and the attempt to actually communicate.

And since I don't care enough about the word nota to go and look it up, I will probably not really remember it when I can play it and make a jillion points with it. Except now that I've used it in a sentence five times, it does have context, and I probably will go look it up, because I might as well know what it is that I'm going to be remembering.

But there are TONS of words just like it that pass across the transom of my awareness, and, frankly, I don't care about a lot of them as well.

And there is a strategy that will help you win in scrabble that I know about and can't enjoy. And that is being careful with your words. In an attempt to minimize the other players' opportunities to make points.

I do love to win at scrabble, really. But I love words and am so excited that with my crappy seven tiles that I can finally make a fantastic word on the board that I adore, that I HATE any strategy which kills that joy.

And I am totally fine with losing on these terms.

Bananagrams is another great game, and a lot of fun! I played some of this on my nannycation earlier in the month, and I was SMOKING. And, frankly, hilariously revealing of some of my inner dialogue.

I kind of like Bananagrams better, but though scrabble is more directly competitive, Banangrams is sort of more solitary. Which I don't prefer. And frankly, they're both competitive.

Exquisite corpse, on the other hand, is a fabulously collaborative game. And there are words. And pictures too!

I was introduced to this game from some friends, who were calling it sentence-picture. It's kind of like the game of telephone, but on paper. You start a piece of paper with a sentence (or song lyric or something). You pass it to the next person, and from the person on your other side, you get a piece of paper with a sentence.

And you must draw a picture to try and convey that sentence to the next person, who will only get to see your picture, after you fold down the original words.

And then you get a picture to try to interpret back into words. And this is where it gets funny. This is where "liar liar pants on fire" turns into "cricket cricket I'm on fire". Or I can't even remember what, but something innocuous, I think about home improvement, turns into "you can't play chainsaw hockey without breaking a few eggs".

And just try to draw a picture of that. Because it's your turn, and you make the best of what you see.

Some people who don't draw much are extremely unwilling to play this game. And it is a pity. And not because we won't laugh at their pictures. Because we will.

It's a pity because we will hopefully laugh at ALL the pictures. And a well-executed pictoral representation of a phrase is not that funny. The person who sees it will often write down the same phrase again. If you are a confident artist, feel free to take confusing liberties with your drawing! Please, it's a much funner game that way.

And an unexplained bow tie can really throw people off.

This game is called a million different things. Exquisite corpse. Sentence Picture. Cricket Cricket. Eat Poop You Cat.

Seriously. And it is hilariously collaborative. And it can kind of be exhausting, because you laugh SO HARD after you've all done your part on however many little pieces of paper you've got.

I feel like I was going somewhere with this, but I really can't figure out where. I'll just close on this awkward and abrupt note.

nota: plural of no·tum
Noun: The dorsal exoskeleton of the thorax of an insect.

1 comment:

  1. It's fun, fast, easy to learn but challenging for all, portable and inexpensive - the perfect game. We have thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend!!