Friday, January 8, 2010

Parlour Games for Modern Families

So here is a book review. What do you know, still some bookishness going on after all.

This one is Parlour Games for Modern Families by Myfanwy Jones and Spiri Tsintziras. I have seen it about a few times over the past couple of months and thought to myself, 'hmmm, that seems like a good idea' but I didn't buy it because it costs $35.00 and frankly that seemed a bit much for a book that was going to tell me to play charades.

I would like to take a moment to note that this is one of those annoying book reviews that start with a narrative about the reviewer. But hell, this is my blog and not a proper newspaper review and somehow this blog seems to be all about me me me at the moment instead of stuff with actual content or informaiton or insightful analysis, so yah boo sucks to you all I suppose. Moving on.

Now, I can tell you, the $35.00 was most well spent. Thinking back upon other $35.00 spent on family entertainment - movies tickets, zoo entry, museums, trips to Paris - I can say that we have had our money's worth this afternoon alone.

First we played numerology (or numberology as the Noodle preferred). This game involves making up a cateogory (ours included Australian Prime Ministers, flowers, entrees, newspapers and Australian cricketers past and present) and then every player has to choose an example. The tricky part is that then you count how much your example is worth on a scale where A = 1 and Z = 26. So our PMs, Robert Menzies and Gough Whitlam did quite well, with the z and a w and other late-alphabet letters. Sadly, rabbit roulade did not beat spring rolls, and so I lost the game. That's what you get for being pretentious. I blame Masterchef.

We also played 'The Minister's Cat' which is a game that Peter Carey's Ned Kelly would have been a whiz at, because it is all about adjectives. The Minister's Cat, for example, could be an adjectival cat, an angelic cat, an anabaric cat. And in the next round it could be a big cat, a beautiful cat, a bizarre cat or a beatific cat (depending if it belongs to minister of religion or a government minister I suppose). X proved challenging, but we came up with xenophobic and xenobiological. Which is only strictly accurate, I suppose, if we were playing the game on another planet, although I suppose cats are rather xeno in Australia. Z was likewise challening.

The book also explained what crambo is, which was frankly a little disappointing because I always thought that capping rhymes implied a massive arsenal of poetry at your fingertips, rather than just being able to think of rhyming words and clues simultaneously. But now that I know both what tombola and crambo is, I feel I can take my place in English Edwardian society proudly. Obviously I'll need some new frocks.

Anyway, the book is chock full of fun, etc. If I now turn into one of those annoying people who insists on making you play games after dinner, well, it could be worse (which is another parlour game in the, book - the Noodle is such a talented catastrophist that he aces this one every time, because his disasters all end the same way - complete annihilation of the solar system).


mimbles said...


It all sounds like so much fun!

Penthe said...

Come around and play with us!

Roger Parkinson said...

"complete annihilation of the solar system"--he thinks big, and he's thorough, excellent.

Shayne Parkinson said...

That sounds such fun!

The book, that is; not the annihilation of the solar system.

Charles said...

How true - C & A gave me a copy for Chrissie. Great inspiration for games that do not require a power outlet. "Consequences" has been well received here and I especially like the sound of "Eat Poop You Cat"... But I do think that our "Chase the Ace" is far better than their "Crazy Eights" (happy to provide our rules upon request). Look forward to seeing you in 2010! xxxC

Penthe said...

I think you should share the rules of Chase the Ace. It sounds, so to speak, ace.

mimbles said...

Heh, you're not that far away! We maybe we should try and meet up next time we're down your way :-)

Picnic in a park perhaps?

Penthe said...

Sounds like a great idea. Games, food and lashings of ginger beer, I reckon.

Carmen said...

I went to a birthday party last year and after dinner we were encouraged to play a game where you had to speak lyrics and the other guests had to guess the song.

I was so surprised how much fun we had. More discipline! No gossip!

Penthe said...

And no one talking about work, oh please.

Spiri said...

Dear Penthe,

I am one of the authors of Parlour Games for Modern Families. It's great that you (and now your friends) are enjoying our book and that you feel it was $35 well spent! We had a great time writing it, and of course testing all the games. I feel most pleased that we have helped you take your place in English Edwardian society.

Keep enjoying the game!

Best wishes, Spiri.

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