Wednesday, February 8, 2006

My Team, Your Team: Crayons at Dusk

Last weekend, I got about an hour into a longish post about creativity tools that I use at work and in my personal writing. And then I hit the wrong key combo and lost all that work. Pissed me off. So I don't want to re-write that post just yet.

Instead, I'm going to tell you about another creativity tool. One that I use with my 6-year-old son, Dan. Often on the back of paper placemats at Bob Evans restaurants. I'm not sure how it started, but I do know that I made it up myself at one point when Dan wanted to draw, but wasn't sure what he wanted to draw.

The game is called "My Team, Your Team" (MTYT). Its rules are very simple.

1. You draw a character with a power.
2. I draw a character whose power cancels your guy's power.
3. Repeat.

You do this until your chicken tenders and smiley fries arrive, or until you run out of paper, or until you are hysterical laughing. You can intensimify the game if you like by only allowing:

  • robots and cyborgs
  • bugs
  • dinosaurs
  • robot bugs
  • cyborg dinosoar bugs
  • aliens
  • alien robot bugs
  • fire and water powers
  • underwater creatures
  • things with wheels
  • things without wheels
  • blah blah blah

You get the point. You're really better off playing free-for-all your first few times, especially with kids, as they go bananas on you. Really. The stuff Dan comes up with blows my mind. Here's our most recent game as an example for you. We've started numbering the drawings as it helps us explain what the heck was going on to Chris (Mom) later.

1. Giant Ice-Crystal Guy. (Dan) He is made of one giant ice-crystal. He can blow super-cold freezing wind at you.

2. Waffle Iron Clam (Andy/Dad) He's a giant clam (yeah, I know he looks like a hamburger... so sue me) with waffle irons for feet. They are hot all the time, and so when he walks on cold things (like giant ice-crystals) they melt. Ha ha!

3. The Whistling Chef (Dan) With a humungamoid pot of boiling water, this fellow is ready to make some sea-food chowder for everybody. But his real power is his musical ability. He can whistle a tune that no clam can resist (that's what's coming out of his mouth... the irresistable clam tune)! Drat! And the clams just walk up and hop right into the boiling pot. Ouch!

4. The La-Z-Bot (Andy/Dad) A hard day's cookin' sure must make that chef tired, eh? So the La-Z-Bot just wheeeels up behind him all quiet like, and waits for the chef to sit down and get comfy. Then, when the chef is asleep, the chair rolls him to the edge of a clif and flings him off! Spoing! Please note the gratuitous antennae and radar dish, a feature of many MTYT bots.

5. The Chair Store (Dan) Simplicity itself. This is the best chair store in the world. And so the salespeople (that's them, the little black, stick-figure dudes) go out and round up all the chairs everywhere and bring them back to the store, where they are watched by the other salespeople (see them in the windows?). Trapped inside, the La-Z-Bot can't get to the chef. Cursik!

6. The Caution Cone Ninja (Andy/Dad) Moves in front of the rest-room doors whenever anyone in the chair store tries to use the facilities. Can hop, run, glide, jump, swing, etc., in order to cover any/all bathrooms. Eventually, the salespeople will need to leave the building to go potty, and the La-Z-Bot will be able to escape. Take that, Your Team! My Team rocks!

7. Girl Cone Ninja (Dan) The female of the species. Note the curly hair, lipstick and eyelashes. Distracts the Caution Cone Ninja with her feminine wiles. Nuff said about that.

Dan wins! And just in time for pizza.


Update: check out the recent MTYT spin-off sites The Superest and Bayou Battle.

Also! The Superest is now a book! And they dedicated it to me. Which is only just and right. And just right.