Friday, November 23, 2007

Boutros-Boutros Ghali

With Andrea came the game of Boutros-Boutros Ghali. What I love about this game is that the playing field is flattened and all stops are pulled. Elders and youngsters can mix and match as can a post-modern sensibility with a 50s-antiquated intelligence. You can be book-learned or TV learned or street smart or not smart and you can still play Boutros. You simply have to be willing to play foolishly and without a need to win.

Here's the game in brief. Everyone playing gets 10 chits. On these chits, you write the names of people. They can be real (historical, friends, family or the famous) or imaginary, (characters in books, plays, movies, or cartoons). Fold your chit in half and place in the sturdy hat or can that is provided. Next comes partnering. Beans or tokens in pairs are the most playful way to match folks up, but you can also put pairs of numbers on slips of paper. Everyone blindly chooses one of these sets of pairs and your partner is the person who has the thing that matches the one you chose (for instance two pinto beans or two 5s). Partners sit side-by-side around a table or in a circle. Pairs can seem to be oddly matched, i.e. Lee with Adrian or pairs can appear doomed from the start like when Culley and Andrea were once partnered and were bickering from the start. In both of these cases, the unseemly pairs were the ultimate winners. That's the cool thing about Boutros. You never can tell who will win. Sometimes there is simply a brain wave connection between two people that causes one word to give the partner an immediate correct answer like last night when Sidney said to Shayley, "kissing" and she said, "Flogging Molly." (I think that's the name of a band which is not an acceptable chit but when you have made up the game you can also make exceptions which someone did in this case.) How Shayley got to Flogging Molly from kissing, I will never know, but it must be some generational thing that teens could grasp.

So back to how the game works: Each pair gets one minute. One partner takes a chit from the sturdy hat or can and tries to get his/her partner to guess the person listed on the chit. If guessed correctly, the other partner grabs a chit and starts giving clues. When one minute is up, you keep all correctly guessed chits and pass the hat to the next pair who takes a turn. Unless an immediate connection is made as when Lee said, "He was the President" and Adrian said "Bill Clinton," then the clues and/or the guessing becomes a comical scene of errors and silliness, and everyone watching is laughing and there is always someone whose turn it is NOT who knows the answer but can't say and hopes to get that chit when their turn comes around.

Boutros is the perfect accompaniment to turkey and stuffing. Laughter and good company is the best dessert I can think of. Thanks Andrea.



Roscoe Williamson said...

I'm so pleased to find/see this. I am the introducer of BB-G to Andrea (or she to me, my brain, she is feeble) and was delighted to find this whilst searching to see if anyone else calls it Boutros. We think we made that up, but see above brain comment.

Will be playing again next weekend for the first time in a long time. Andrea has done a much better job of keeping the dream alive.

twilightme said...

Thanks for leaving this comment. Here is what Andrea said when I told her what you wrote:

my beloved friend robby. he is an old man, 11 years my senior so he does not remember that he and his college friends made up the name. and i totally learned it from them. the internet is neat.