Dec 27, 2011 - Game Theory    6 Comments

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner: Reverb Broads 2011 #22

Reverb Broads 2011, December 22: If someone made a board game of your life, what would it look like? What pieces would you need to play? (courtesy of ME)

I’m a gamer, married to a game designer, and this is my prompt–it’s pretty unforgivable that I’m late in responding to it. If it were a game based on my life today, though, it would be Attack of the Alien Snot Invaders, and the object of the game would be to string two coherent thoughts together through the stuffed-up haze I’m in.

But I can do better than that. And while I love Niki’s answer of Calvinball, I can think of a few specific design features that capture some of the skills it takes to navigate my life.

• Every color on the board is assigned a different color word. If you call a space by the wrong color word, all the assigned color words change.

• The board looks like the one for Life, but the college portion takes up half the board, and you get nothing (at least in-game) for making it through.

• Every three minutes, you roll a die. If it comes up odd, you answer an extremely random trivia question. If it comes up even, you have to recall the location of a vital object belonging to another player. If you fail either of these tasks, a ninja sneaks up behind you and blows an air horn in your ear.

• Every five minutes, you have to complete a task of mental or physical dexterity. You can’t move forward until you successfully accomplish it. Once you’ve managed to do it, it’s assumed that you can do it again anytime, so dexterity challenges stack every time you’re assigned a new one.

• If you want to choose which space you’re going to move to next, you have to make another player guess a movie title. You may either draw something using only one straight line and one circle, or you may say one, and only one, word, as many times or ways as you like.

• At random intervals, a midget runs up and smashes your fingers with a meat tenderizer, just to keep the pain fresh and unpredictable.

• At a different random interval, other midgets run up. They may smother you with affection, or scream dire imprecations. There’s no way to know which it’s going to be until they’re already in your lap.

• Other players earn points by piling crap in your play space.

• The other player you like best has to play from a different room. You may text all you want, but while you text, more crap piles up.

• Every time you ask for a moment of quiet to think about your next move, someone inserts ten spaces into the board between you and the next designated rest space.

• There’s no compensation structure, but every ten minutes, someone compliments 1) your hair color, 2) your grammar, or 3) the least important thing you’re doing at the time.

I’m sure Hasbro will jump all over this, so buy stock in ProfBanks Games now!




  • I think my wife is playtesting a copy of that game already. She claimed to be familiar with the rules already when I read it just now.

    • Poor dear. It should come with the phone number for a support hotline. 🙂

  • I just belly laughed at “Other players earn points by piling crap in your play space.”

    • It’s the only possible explanation for the behavior of my nearest and dearest. 🙂

  • I’d like to see some concept sketches for the Midgets of Wonder Expansion cover art m’self. And no, “Expansion” isn’t supposed to provide comfort by any stretch of the imagination.

    I’d like to see some more specifics on the expandable board rules. Just adding 10 spaces doesn’t seem to cover the disorientation inherent in the Nyquil Clause (“I believe the underwear on my head is not mine. And why do I taste kitchen floor? “)

    • Sadly, in my life, an expansion set is just a big box of chocolate eclairs; it’s the players who do the expanding. (har har)

      And I like the Nyquil Clause. It gets introduced by Laurence Fishburne and Denis Leary, saying, “You take the red pill, you stay awake and can breathe again. But you take the green pill and it’s ‘Hello Klaus!'”

Got anything to say? Go ahead and leave a comment!