If we’d had any doubts about how the Spilman family would blend with the Paladini family they would have been banished in our first moments of conversation! Soon after our arrival we all set about planning which nights of our stay would be best for playing games! Yippee!
And play games we did! In the week we spent with the Spilmans, I think at least eight hours were devoted to playing games with the whole family.
We love games! They’re the best ice-breakers. When you play games you can get to know people far beyond what the first careful conversations might show. John says, “The ham comes out.” And that’s true, but it’s more than that. Interests and personalities come to the surface, and we forget to be self-conscious.
The Spilmans introduced us to a great board game called Buzzwords, and we taught them the old Paladini standby, Celebrities.
At this point I need to thank Mark and Tracy for bringing Celebrities into the family more than a dozen years ago. It’s been, by far, the most played game in our house! (except, of course, for Scrabble)
It’s a game our kids grew up with. At every family gathering, birthday party, or evening when we had a houseful of kids, Celebrities was the game of choice. (I’d be very interested to know how many people reading this post, are tracking with me right now, and laughing at some Celebrity memory.)
Each player has about ten slips of paper and he writes a name on each slip. It should be the name of somebody that most…or many…or some…of the other players are familiar with. It can be a famous living person or a famous historical figure. It can be someone from the bible, or a character from a book or a movie or the comics…and so on.
There are always duplicates and that’s okay.
In our games with the Spilmans, just for the fun of it, some of the players gave a nod to Dan, an architect, by putting in the name of Frank Lloyd Wright. Florence Nightingale and Clara Barker also appeared, in honor of Dan’s mom, who is an R.N. Dan’s brother David, a cooking and food aficionado, immediately knew Wolfgang Puck and Julia Child. And there were even a number of famous CPA’s and accountants, to the gratification of Dan’s dad, a CPA.
All the names of all the “celebrities” are piled together in one big bowl and mixed thoroughly.
We played the game twice while we were with the Spilmans – one afternoon, on their screened-in back porch; and one evening in their big homey living room.
The Spilmans have a wonderful place – large welcoming rooms in a big rambling house. John and I had a huge bedroom that looked out onto about three acres of lawn, edged with woods. I thought I had died and gone to heaven! They have family antiques in daily use throughout the house, and just about everything has a story!
We divided into two teams. And as we usually do when we play games with a large group, we divided the teams into “girls VS boys” – the G team and the B team.
The fun thing about intergenerational Celebrities, is that someone on the team is likely to know any name that comes up. The younger generation girls had no idea who Patsy Cline and Jack Parr were, but Mrs. Spilman and I knew. And the younger generation introduced us to famous celebrities I have since forgotten.
The game is played in three rounds.
In round one, a member of Team G stands up and pulls a small handful of names from the bowl. A player for Team B has a timer. (In the case of our Spiladini Celebrities, the timer was Monica’s i-phone, set to make the quacking of a duck when the time was up.)
The team G player has one minute to get her fellow players to name the person on the slip in her hand. She can say anything she wants. She can sing, or act it out – whatever it takes to get her fellow players to call out the name on the paper.
The only thing she can’t do, is say any part of the celebrity’s name that is written.
When the correct name is called out she drops the slip of paper on the floor, and goes to the next. The idea is to get through a lot of slips of paper in one turn. You have one minute to get through as many slips of paper as you can.
And then Team B sends in their player to start the guessing while Team G times him.
And then they are all returned to the bowl. Yes, all the same names again.
Round Two continues in much the same way, but in round two players are only allowed to say TWO WORDS. They can act. They can hum the two words in a tune reminiscent of the celebrity. (Think “Batman Theme Song”) They can repeat the two words as many times as they need to. But they can only utter Two Words.
There is no passing. If you don’t know who the celebrity is, you just have to do your best to get your teammates to come up with the name. Point to something brown in the room, for example, if the celebrity is John Brown, (whose body lay a moldin’ in the grave) …and point to Mr. Spilman if the celebrity is Josiah Wedgewood (CPA “father” of cost-accounting).
Again, when the bowl is empty, the slips of paper are tallied and returned to the mix. By now the players are familiar with the names in the bowl. And that’s a good thing…
…because in round three there is no talking or singing or humming at all. We’re into pure charades. (In the picture above you see Dan illustrating a Lion, as he tries t0 get his team to come up with the name of C.S. Lewis.)