A game that landed on my doorstep this spring was a relaunch from the toy/game industry guru, Tim Walsh. Knowing my affinity for games, Tim sent me a copy of his game BLURT! which arrived just in time for one of my many game nights. This particular game night was a little different since I had invited a lot of newbies and instead of making the selections myself I let the group choose. From a table stacked with fifty of my favorite games guests chose a nice mix of the classics and somewhat-unknowns like BLURT! While one party-goer did express concern for the children pictured on the back of the box, I assured them that Tim said it was a entertaining game for all ages, so a group of rowdy 20-30 somethings fit the bill.
One thing that is absolutely essential for a successful game-night offering is easy to communicate directions and it took about a minute to explain how to play BLURT! before we dove in. The premise is so easy – in fact, it almost seems too easy. A player reads a definition and the first person to guess the word moves forward a certain number of spaces. Well, even with quick definitions like “a person living in total solitude by choice” there was a flood of answers – right and wrong – all within a half second of each other. (The correct answer is “hermit.”) The quick, all-play nature of the game really went over well and I can only imagine it plays just as nicely with a group of kids and teens. BLURT! includes directions for a more advanced play but also words for junior players ages 7-9.
Getting back to the inventor for a minute, Tim has been in the game industry for almost twenty years and you may know one of his previous hits, TriBond (love this puzzle game; it provides hours of good brain food.) And a new Will Shortz edition of TriBond is out this fall. He also is the author of Timeless Toys and WHAM-O Super·Book, which was released last year. I’m looking forward to Tim’s upcoming documentary about the inventors and legends that made the toy industry what it is today. It should provide a nice window into the very secretive “inventor community.” And then of course, BLURT! This is the 15th anniversary of the game that, funny enough, he invented with his girlfriend (now wife), a children’s dictionary and a classroom full of third graders. Just goes to prove, you never know when great ideas will roll your way.