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
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!