Friday, 9 May 2008

All you ever wanted to know in 30 seconds

I love board games, not least because in our circles they often culminate in stand-up slap-down screaming arguments between siblings, best friends and long-time live-in lovers. There’s nothing like board games to reveal the cracks in relationships, and it’s all so deliciously public.

30 Seconds has become my most coveted (it’s a love/hate relationship). I’m not an entirely calm person at the best of times, and being put under pressure to display my wealth of general knowledge by a common-or-garden egg-timer is just designed to bring out the worst in me. Driven half-crazy by the stress, I flush from the feet up and, after losing my power of speech and knocking over my wine, I eventually start giggling uncontrollably, just when I should be putting in a last effort to win the match. It doesn’t make me a pleasure to play with.

[It reminds me of my one and only attempt at bridge. After having been coached for several hours by a serious player, I was then partnered with him in a game/set/match (I’m sure they have a word for it but I don’t know what it is).

[(I’ve just remembered: rubber! What a strange term for something so astonishingly boring.)

[Anyway, after having done a couple of rounds/hands/shots during which I apparently bid as if I were mainlining crack cocaine, my partner threw his cards furiously onto the table/green/baize and said, ‘This is ridiculous! I’m not playing with her!’

[I don’t exactly blame him – I was completely/utterly/irretrievably useless - but I am still just a tiny bit taken aback by his lack of gamesmanship/swordsmanship/whatever.]

Anyway, I mainly love 30 Seconds because people make such delightful blunders when required to think freely under time pressure. And it’s all made so much interesting by the fact that the asker has to be fairly creative with his/her questions: you can’t say any word in the answer, and you’ve got to find a way to point your partner very very quickly to the solution (you have to get five of these right in 30 seconds – seriously, it’s not as easy as it sounds). It’s that ‘Who was Noah’s wife? Joan of Arc!’ thing, but it happens spontaneously, and everyone involved is required to laugh hysterically and not think any the worse of the person who’s made such a twit of themselves (which is why I hate it).

Here are two of my crackers from this evening:

My partner: ‘The movie with the Orca in it?’
Me: ‘Lord of the Rings!’
[Correct answer, for those who have recently have a prefrontal lobotomy: Free Willy. I think I heard ‘Orca’ and processed ‘Ork’.]

My partner: ‘The shape where planes disappear?’
Me: ‘Trafalgar Square!’
[Correct answer, for Robert McBride and his friends: Bermuda Triangle.]

Fortunately for me, my partner (whose questions were, without fail, fabulously incisive) was my son, and he knew that if he got cross with me I’d dock his pocket money.

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meggie said...

I rather like board games too. I particularly like Pictionary, but our daughter takes it so seriously, we can't play with her.
I loved Scrabble & we always ended up being ridiculous with silly made-up words. They are for fun after all?

Muriel said...

Hi Meggie! So nice to hear from you! Hope you're well.

May said...

My fondest memory of 30-seconds - a game you so-well described as entirely reliant on how quickly, articulately and creatively you can speak - is when we played one holiday evening after a very long, liquid day. My darling husband elected to start. He spent the entire 30 seconds alternating between twisting his mouth and the card clearing in difficulty without managing to utter a single sound to the horror and frustration of his teammates. Turns out he was holding the card upside down!