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.

1 comment:

  1. [Note... I had comments from older posts stored in an off-line version of the old, WordPress site. Before spambots took over. I'm pasting them below, as this is one of my favorite posts ever, as are the responses.]

    Michelle Golden says:
    February 8, 2006 at 11:51 pm
    Andy, this is awesome! Thanks for sharing the game you and Dan use. He’s an excellent artist, by the way. Sorry about the post you lost. That stinks. Happens to me once in awhile and really bums me out, too.

    PS – hmmm, so how does such a young man know about feminine wiles? Are we that obvious??

    Gabe says:
    February 13, 2006 at 10:54 pm
    Wow. Genius. The Chair Store? This kid has stolen my brain. A brounter if I have ever seen one. Be careful when he starts beating you at tic-tac-toe with one move.

    Jen says:
    February 18, 2006 at 1:45 pm
    I suppose, since you already fulfilled my earlier request for a post about poetry, it would be unfair to ask that it be retro-amended to “Hey, man, could you write some more posts about games — your posts about games totally rock.”?

    Or, better yet, just write more about your adventures with Dan. And games.

    Anastasia says:
    March 4, 2006 at 7:10 pm
    Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant. I love the way kids’ minds work. Who could possibly resist the charms of the Girl Cone Ninja?

    bearskinrug says:
    November 23, 2006 at 8:16 am
    Wow – that sounds incredibly fun – I gotta find someone to play this with!

    sandy says:
    November 28, 2006 at 3:36 am
    that… is a genius game. o___o

    Stuntmom says:
    August 3, 2007 at 7:07 am
    I know it’s been said, but I too must call you a genius. What a great method to inspire creativity when kids are asking for suggestions on what to draw. Why not draw a game with them? Thanks for the great idea. I will be borrowing it for our road trip games with the kids.

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    Thomas J. Kiehn says:
    November 1, 2007 at 2:34 am
    Brilliant game. Can’t wait to play it with some friends.

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    Kirk says:
    December 8, 2007 at 6:18 pm
    Great idea. I think a lot of people are finding out about it on The Superest…

    I played a variation of it called “Mr. Snowman” — one person draws a snowman and is the appointed defender, drawing counters for all the attacks the enemy doodler comes with. Here’s an annotated edition of one game:

    Andy says:
    December 9, 2007 at 5:53 pm
    Kirk: Neat idea! Thanks for the variation suggestion. I’ll blog that for sure.

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    Lori Ann says:
    June 17, 2008 at 1:18 am
    Blogging this! What a great idea – and I don’t even have kids – but my husband and I love this sort of thing, and he’s sick, and it’s been rainy for days… so this is perfect.

    Hayz says:
    October 15, 2008 at 6:53 am
    This is the best thing i’ve ever seen today :) Thankyou for making me smile!