Saturday, November 24, 2012

Chatter Matters . . . especially for Jenna

          In 2000 Mattel distributed a game called Chatter Matters.  I don’t know how the game happened to fall into the hands of Sunny’s family, or if it had been given to a specific child.  But they didn’t seem to enjoy it.

          They left it at my mom’s house without directions.  It’s pretty self explanatory, but I printed the directions anyway.  Jenna absolutely LOVES this game.  We started playing it just this year.

          We must have started in summer when Jenna was off from school.  The game continued to live at Grandma’s house, and that is where we would play it.  Jenna wanted to take the game home.  I told her that it wasn’t ours to take.  But Corey said he thought it would be okay if we did.  But I know Jenna and her lack of ability to clean up after herself and how many game pieces turn up missing.  I fully believed we could make better use of it at my mom’s.
          And after Thanksgiving we brought the game home to live with us.  Not intentionally. But I haven’t bothered to return it – which has been intentional.

          Jenna has always liked answeringquestions and listening to the answers of others.  We would play the ungame  – which isn’t a game but a pocket sized case containing questions.  Questions such as:  “what was your favorite subject in school? and why?”  “Where would you like to go on vacation?”  “What is one quality you admire about each family member?”    

          Each case came with two sets of questions.  The generic easy ones and the more thought provoking ones like: “name an experience involving death”
          I remember asking my dad that one before he passed away.  His Uncle Reese was seventeen when he passed away.  I think my dad was six.  He choked as he answered.  Kayla and I set the cards aside and decided to play something else.

          I don’t know how many years fell between the card packet to the board game (I would guess 14) – though it was still not a “game”.  There were no winners, no losers . . . no definite end. 

          Chatter Matter’s seemed to have many similar questions that were asked in Ungame’s level one – but with a twist.  The board game was designed with four rooms and a deck of cards for each room that would ask questions not necessarily geared toward the room – but may be where you are when you ask yourself the questions that come with the card.

          For example, the bedroom has questions especially geared to the player about his or her personal self like:
“What’s one of the strangest foods I’ve ever eaten?” 
or “If I could travel anywhere, where would I go? For how long? Who would go with me?

          The other players write down answers they believe the card holder will say and for each one that matches, both (or all) receive chips.

The Family room is designed for the player to answer questions about family members:

          “What religion, if any, did one of my parents practice as a child?”
          “What is the name of the first street I lived on?”

          Sometimes the other players will write down their predictions but not always.  The two questions above offers chips for each correct answer.  Helps if you actually have family members playing that can assist with the correct answer.

          Kitchen.  This card will allow you to collect chips for doing chores or will punish you and have you move your game piece to “time out” 
Examples of these are:

          I painted the bathroom.  Go to Chores/Allowance corner and collect

And then the player has an opportunity to talk about a project he or she has done around the house.

            The game room offers a variety of “games” to be played with each card.  Jenna’s favorite is called “Scavenger Hunt”

          It helps if you are familiar with the house of where the game is being played.  You divide into teams and look for whatever is written on the card:

          A receipt
          Something with a player’s name written on it (that could be a monogram or a piece of mail)
          A picture of me and somebody else in my family

          “Verbal Blitz” is the one I like the best.  It is also played in teams.  Three categories are listed on the card.  The player who draws the card selects the category and each team goes back and forth naming off soup flavors, or vegetables, or television shows or whatever happened to be selected, until one team stops or repeats an answer.  Winners get one chip each.

          “Doodles” is a mini version of Pictionary.  Three words are listed on the card (usually household items or chores) and you can draw either a chimney, a kitchen table or a window.  And the first person who guesses correctly gets a chip along with the “artist”

          The last game room play card is called “Home Movies”   Player acts out verbs that are written on the card:

          Riding a bike, skateboarding or skiing for example.

          Each player has a chip holder that will fill with 15 chips.  The first player to have 15 chips wins.  Not a tough game.  But can be long – especially when the players get stuck on a game card.

          I told Jenna that we would play it after our Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday – and we probably would have had it been on top, but Jenna picked another game.  And that was the only one we played as Grandma was getting restless and we needed to remove her from the environment.

          I told her that we could possibly play it after Thursday’s dinner – but everyone else had to agree.  We played Spades instead. 

          So on Friday, when I took her over to Bill and Kayla’s house, we played.  Anna wanted to play with the chip holders and game pieces.  So Bill decided that she would play the game.  So he shook the di for her and asked and answered questions.  Ironically I think Anna won. And Bill declared that it was really a boring game.  I think we could have ended sooner if he hadn’t insisted on taking a turn for Anna (as well as himself) every time (after all she had lost interest long before he did)

          It can get boring.  But so can Monopoly. And given a choice, I’d much rather play Chatter Matters.  And I’m really happy that Jenna really likes it.

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