Monday, November 21, 2011

The Game

We had run out of time to finish the wedding favors at home, and our chances of assembling everything onsite didn't seem so good: we had loads to do, and only a few hours before everything for the reception--including the favors--had to be handed over to the restaurant. This called for minions.

I call you a minion lovingly, Mom.

I rounded up a small posse comprised of family members, wedding party representatives, and my bride-to-be, and set them to work on putting together the favors. In the meantime, I sat at a desk and...sliced.

As much fun as it would be to say that we stuffed our wedding favors with deli-style turkey and ham (which would have delighted my vegetarian future-wife, no doubt), I found myself slicing up mass quantities of paper. After much deliberation over what, exactly, to put into a hundred little blue plastic containers as wedding favors, I decided a sort of board game would work quite well. After a fair amount of playing around with the concept and format, I had settled on a game (with some input and inspiration from my gal) that could easily be mass-produced, cut out, and rolled up to fit inside the containers.

The original plan was to have a board game with a title such as, "Race to the Wedding," in which players would progress along a set path toward the goal of their wedding, landing on spaces along the way that sent them forward for being good wedding planners and backwards for being total schluffoffs. Practicality put the kibosh on that plan, however, because what I had in mind would require a much larger playing area than we could reasonably mass-produce and fit into our fist-sized containers.

The final product ended up being an untitled game that fit onto two quarter-page strips of paper, with instructions on the back, and a game board on the front of one and a scorecard on the front of the other. Accompanying the two strips of paper in each favor container were a tiny 6-sided die and two rolls of Smarties candy, which make excellent edible game pieces (and were my favorite candy growing up).

That about covers the contents of the favor containers (plus whatever factory-sealed air remained), but my favorite part was and is, hands-down, the exterior:

This would not be my wedding if there weren't at least one reference to Mega Man. I was also ecstatic to throw in a subtle Crystalis reference on the reverse of the container:

Oh, yeah. We had a wicked-efficient assembly line going for these babies.

Now, back to the game. Here's it is in its entirety, with the directions reprinted below. Feel free to use or adapt all this for your own wedding:

INTRODUCTION: You’ve got ten months to plan your wedding! Can you make all the arrangements you want and keep up with your everyday responsibilities without losing your sanity? Probably not, but let’s try anyhow.

PLAYERS: One or more. Ideally, players (couples) will form teams of two and advance jointly on the same scorecard.

SETUP: Place one token (Smarties will do nicely) on the game board for each player—guys start on HIS; girls start on HERS. Place a score marker (again, Smarties) on the first circle of each category on the score card, for a total of nine score markers.

GAMEPLAY: Players take turns rolling a die and advancing that many spaces around the game board. Players may move up, down, left, or right to any adjacent space, but may not backtrack over any space they have moved through this turn. HIS and HERS spaces are off-limits after leaving them. If you enter the WEDDING! space, you must remain until death do you part.

When you land on an activity space (Road Trip, Play Stuff, etc.), advance the corresponding score marker (Road, Play, etc.) by one circle. If landing on an activity space would advance your score marker onto a “?” circle, instead leave your marker where it is and advance a different score marker in any other non-Wedding category. [See other sheet for further instructions.]

ENDGAME: Game ends after ten turns or when all players have entered the WEDDING! space.
SCORING: At the end of the game, add up the numbers in each of the circles on your scorecard that are currently occupied by a score marker. This number is your Grand Total. Cherish these points forever and always. Now, put them aside for a moment.

Compare your number of Wedding points against the total points from all other categories. If the difference between them is 3 or less, you’ve successfully kept your life in balance while planning your wedding, and may add 5 bonus points to your Grand Total.

Then, add the number of turns remaining when you entered the WEDDING! space (got married). If you did not enter the WEDDING! space before the end of the game, lose 10 points—you missed your own wedding, you goober! The person with the most points (biggest Grand Total) wins.

ADDENDUM: All players must then tell made-up stories about their wedding planning process and how their wedding turned out based on their points in each category. Note the wonky progression (and regression) of point values—I’m sure you can find a good non-gameplay-related explanation for everything. I’d love to tell you my rationale, but I’ve run out of space here, so…bye.


I playtested the game once and am relieved to report that it actually works, which is impressive considering I came up with the idea and cranked out a finished product in a single evening. Whether or not it's fun is a different question entirely, but I'm hopeful that somebody enjoyed or will eventually enjoy it.

Slicing up the game boards and scorecards took some time, but the next bit of slicing is where I completely miscalculated how much work would be required, and had to hand things off to someone else.

My wife-to-be and I had collaborated on a list of icebreaker questions that would appear on individual strips of paper (good, hearty card stock, specifically), and each table at the reception was to have a cup filled with these question strips. I figured there'd be a fair number of total strangers sitting together, and this would also be another fun thing for people to bring home with them if they didn't care for the favors or the centerpieces.

Ten tables. Four pages of questions per table. Twenty-one questions per page. Mr. Calculator tells me that's 840 strips to cut out, and I don't care to do any further math to estimate exactly how long it would have taken if we had gotten through the whole process. Eventually we had to give up on four pages of questions per cup, and just threw together handfuls of however much we were able to slice.

For the complete list of questions, come back tomorrow for Part 4.


CuntrySongAndMegaman said...

*gasp*!!! E-tank save the dates? AWESOME!

Flashman85 said...

Favors, actually! The save-the-dates/invitations were a few posts back. :)