Saturday, November 27, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - The Games People Play

Calling all Genea-philes - it's Saturday Night - time for more Genealogy Fun!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1)  Think about the games that your whole family would play when you were a child. 

2)  Tell us about one (or more) of them - what was it called, what were the rules (as you remember them), who played the game, where did you play the game, who usually won?

3)  Write your own blog post, or write a comment on this post, or write a Facebook comment or note.

Here's mine:

The game was called GHOST.  I don't know why!  You went around the table spelling English words one letter at a time, with a minimum of four letters.  If you spelled a complete valid word, then you got a point.  The winner of the game was the one with the fewest points at the end of the game (which was usually when my father wanted to stop to do some work at his desk).  A player could challenge the spelling of the previous player, who had to pronounce and spell the complete word s/he was thinking of.  If they could, then the challenger got the point.  If they couldn't, then the one challenged got the point. 

We (my family of four) played GHOST almost every night after dinner at the dinner table for several years when I was aged 12 to 15 (and my brother was aged 9 to 12).  This was a great game to help us with spelling and it got us reading the dictionary for hours searching for interesting words.  It also gave us some family time in the late 1950s before we all were addicted to the evening television shows. 

My strategy was to find unique words in the dictionary that I could "hang" on one of the other family members.  for instance, if someone started a new word with "b" then I would say "d" and the family had to spell "bdellium."  If they started with "m" then I would say "n" and the word had to be "mnemonic." 

Eventually, we got around to finding and spelling "antidisestablishmentarianism," "pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis" (I remembered the first parts, but had to look it up!) and other long words, but we had to be careful not to spell a complete word within the longer word - like "antidisestablishment."  We experimented in later years with being able to add two letters in order to avoid spelling a valid word.  I loved to try to get my father to spell the valid word, and he would usually try to bluff his way through.  I tried to avoid getting my mother, but didn't mind getting my brother. 

Challenging had a strategy too - if I knew I was going to get hung with a word ending, I would try to bluff everyone by confidently saying a letter and hoping that I wouldn't be challenged.  Of course, this usually broke down into arguments satisfied only by the one challenged looking the word up in the dictionary. 

I searched for the GHOST game and found this Wikipedia entry, which describes the basic game and several variants.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We played a game whenever we were in the car on a journey with our grandparents - it was called "The Minister's Cat". The first person started off describing the cat with an adjective beginning with A (usually Angry), the second person repeated this and added an adjective beginning with B and so it went on until someone failed to repeat the whole thing correctly - then you started again. Needless to say that journeys were much more entertaining when Grandad steered with no hands or honked the horn without touching the button :-)