POETRY_WORKBOOK


Invention : Amazing Animals

When we came to reduce Egg to basics, the result was Amazing Animals.

Despite a certain amount of flummery with numbers to restrict the players choice, this game proposes only a simple mix of known animals. and asking players to choose three creatures to mix can be a simple oral proposition. Such simple speculations are always fun, which probably accounts for the popularity of the game.

Players acquire three numbers, which in turn select three from nine dice, which when cast reveal a name for an imaginary creature. Ways of acquiring the three numbers include taking the initials of the first and last names of the player and converting them to numbers using the given code, then adding the numbers together to give the third (n.b. if the total is 10 or over, add the individual numbers again : 8+3=11=2); or by simply choosing any three numbers under ten. The dice can be replaced by part- names written on card, or players could invent their own. Nor do they need to throw the dice, these could be turned until an acceptable combination is reached.

The game, after all, is only a way of approaching the subject, and the actual conditions of play and the length of time you wish to allow for play before writing will affect the choice of method. But agreeing on a name first, speedily and at the same time as other players when in groups, does help progress and concentration.

Once the name is chosen, there are two key questions: first, how does the animal behave - is it greedy, sleepy, grumpy, etc.? Second, where does it live - in a teacup, a pillow, a sink, etc.? It's best if these are everyday places, washing machines, kitchen cupboads, drains; not zoos, jungles or even conventional habitats like fields or caves.
Players can then be encouraged to think about what the animal would be doing, given its character, in the chosen environment.

The poem can then develop without undue emphasis on shape, colour, number of eyes or legs, letting these physical curiousities emerge through actions or to suit the demands of a developing plot - if it's got ten feet what does it do with them? Players should be encouraged to think about what it does, what it gets up to, what it eats, what it smells like, rather than how it looks - after all, they can draw it later!

For further information on this sort of game click on games listed under
INVENTION in the INDEX side bar.

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