Saturday, January 31, 2009

Game Day: Conquering Cootie

Now that Kal-El is three, on Saturdays we are trying to have "Game Day" at our house.  He was fortunate enough to receive several nice games from family members for his birthday.  Lately, his favorite has been Cootie.  We are enjoying Cootie very much (thank you Auntie), but I must say we would be enjoying it much more if they hadn't done such a poor job on the redesign.  This is not the Cootie of my youth.  Also, we would not be enjoying it at all were it not for the adjustments I've made to the game. 

I like that there are different kinds of legs, tongues, and antennae.  That was a great part of the redesign. In the photo at left you can see Kal-El happily putting his legs on his Cootie.  It doesn't always go this well.  The legs are extremely difficult for me, an adult, to put into the holes.  And, at first, so are the tongues, eyes, and antennae.  It was also difficult for four other adults who have checked this out with me...some of whom were unrelated (in case you think my family has genetic difficulty with small motor skills).  My three-year-old is therefore only marginally successful at ever getting the legs in without assistance.   Over time things such as the eyes, have gotten looser and looser in the hole so that some now fall out if you so much as wiggle the table.  Sigh.  You would think that this kind of technology would only improve over time, not regress.

Here is a shot of the useless game board/storage receptacle:

The idea appears to be that you balance the body parts over their corresponding picture and stick the legs in the hole.  If you do this, all of the loose body parts jiggle off the board every time you insert or remove a leg.  UHG2BK!

Okay, now for my personal adaptations to Cootie for those of you who also have toddlers at home to borrow:  

In real Cootie game play, you are supposed to roll the die, each player in his turn, until you roll a one and get a body, or a two and get a head.  Only after you get a body and head are you allowed to start collecting other parts.  This is an excellent rule to completely disregard if you have two toddlers playing this game with you.  In our version, everyone starts out with a body and a head.  The extra numbers (one and two) are re-allocated to the legs.  This speeds up game play not only in that you don't have to wait, possibly forever, to acquire a body and head, but also in acquiring six legs.

I used small baskets for each body part and made labels to stand in the front of each one.  On one side of the label I drew a picture of what the die should look like (this could be replaced with a numeral, or used along side of a numeral).  On the back, I wrote the name of the body part that goes with that number so that I don't have to keep looking it up on the otherwise useless game board.  

Even Me Too can "play" along with us.  He spends most of his time reattaching his head to his body, but always takes his turn to roll the die.

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