Monday, April 19, 2010

Personalised Pairs Game

It's abundantly clear from my blog that I love making things. If I could, I would spend all day, every day, making things. I'd love to learn how to do woodwork and make my own furniture. I love bespoke craft.

I decided before Christmas to make a Pairs Game for our friends and their children. We have so many photos of us all having adventures - exploring castles and at the beach, etc, that there were plenty to choose from.

Above is the entire game.
I overshot my Christmas deadline but managed to finish the game in time for their visit at Easter. First of all I printed out 15 pairs of mini-photos at Boots. Then I designed the backs, as above. 

The trickiest part of the whole enterprise was deciding how to protect the photo and back so they wouldn't get grubby from fingers turning them over. That's why I decided to laminate them all. The laminates can be bought from Ryman's. I'm glad this is the route I chose, however the laminates are pricy.  
It was as I was writing the rules (last pic) that I decided to add this element of deciding who starts the game. Who goes first is very important to children (and adults). I didn't want it to be done with dice so made up these cards that are particular and personal to the Burnses. For example, Some cards are obvious, like The Person Who Has A Cat Called Yeow could only relate to Nathan. And, The Person Who Has A Ukulele, could only be JJ. But I also wanted to add a bit of fun, so The Person With The Darkest Pants On, and The Smelliest Person, will be open to interpretation!
I played a sample game myself. The cards are laid out in a 6 x 5 grid. I think there are enough cards to carry a game, but not too many that it is overwhelming and impossible. However, for younger children it is easy enough to reduce the amount of cards.
Two Darth Vaders!

The lovely thing about the game is it allows you to remember the fun, good times while you're playing. The Burnses and The Haggartys all like adventures. 
I tried to keep the rules as simple as possible. I particularly like the last instruction, "Everyone must then say something really nice about the winner."

I'd love to make the game again for my nephews' children. My idea to make this game originated when I gave a shop-bought pairs game to my great nephew Keigan for his birthday one year. I thought how nice it would be to personalise it. When he's at my parents' house he's always naming people in the photographs on the wall. Anyway, it took me about 8 months to get this game together, so maybe I'll wait until my other great nephew is a bit older and do a game for them both.

One bit of advice I would give to anyone considering making this game for themselves is: it's crucial to make the backs of the photos exactly the same. It must be impossible to tell from the back which photo it is, otherwise players could use this knowledge to their advantage. When I was putting the photo and back into the laminate I had a template drawn onto paper, so I could place them in exactly the right place in the laminate. I also used the sticky side of the laminate for the photo, so that the backs would all be indistinguishable from one another. (Laminates have one sticky and one non-sticky side.)

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