Blurb Wars

I have been spending some evenings in the company of various very cool people (VCPs – you know who you are!). With two particular VCPs I have been spending happy hours in the Indooroopilly McCafe, drinking lattes (we are nothing if not classy) and dissecting the notes one of them takes in Kim Wilkins’ writing lectures.

One of the tutorial activities involved writing blurbs for hypothetical books, and my friend thought her classmates took the task far, far too seriously. To assuage her disappointment, we invented Blurb Wars.

To play Blurb Wars:

  1. Each player takes a sheet of paper, draws a rectangle and writes an imaginary book title in it. The pages are then passed along one player.
  2. Each player then draws the cover art for the title they have received. Again, the pages are passed along.
  3. The third player then has to write a thrilling blurb.

Some variations:

  1. Themes – for example, we played a round of sequels. They were invented sequels to invented novels (Son of the Cousin of the Bride of the Swamp-Thing, and so forth), but you could also do: sequels to known, sadly sequelless books; titles with a certain word in them; genre-themed rounds (eg romance, science fiction), and so on.
  2. Add extra steps, such as writing the opening paragraph or doing the movie poster and casting, or writing a review. These steps could be in any order – you could, for example, start with the casting, then the poster, then the title of the book of the movie.
  3. Randomly generate elements, e.g. titles could be chosen by choosing one noun and one adjective out of hats.
  4. Play it off the back of a particular fairytale or storytelling game.


None. I prefer games which are played with no or minimal scoring (or, indeed, strategy), but simply for the purposes of invention and hilarity. You may invent your own scoring to suit your purposes. Or put the pages on display and let people vote on which they’d read.

This is my favourite of my covers:

Illustration Friday: Time


This week’s Illustration Friday picture is an scratchboard illustration (with colour added in Photoshop) for a game, and also a reference back to my “contained” illustration in January.

We used to play “What’s the time, Mister Wolf?” a great deal when we were little – more than “Red Rover” or “Branding” (although I have a story about that) or “Crack the Whip” (popular but dangerous) or “Sharks and Islands” (invented and evolving) or “Eggs Bacon Chips or Cheese” (convoluted). It may have been because it has a low entry threshold and shallow learning curve. (Wikipedia gives some information on the game – we tended to play the simplest version).

Time (black and white)

An Encyclopaedia of Improbable Games

I agonised for longer than necessary over the theme of my moleskine for the 42nd International Moleskine exchange, but I’m glad I did because I really like the theme I settled on: An Encyclopaedia of Improbable Games. I’ve cross-posted my entry from the exchange blog below.

I am tempted to make the actual game, because it was so much fun doing this part. But I also like just imagining the bits of the board beyond the edges, and what might happen in the game, and how much fun it would be to say, “Okay, bar fight! Isabella wins!”, or throw a Bad Luck Monkey at someone. I was laughing to myself most of the way home on Friday night, when I thought of it.

Crosspost: An Encyclopaedia of Improbable Games

I’m here! Late, but here! My moly is themed “An Encyclopaedia of Improbable Games”, and can be any sort of game: board games, card games, skipping games, dangerous games, bizarre, twisted, excessively complicated games – as long as they’re improbable!

Mine is a proposal for a board game called “Heroine Content – Remix!”, played with dice and turntables and cards and spinners and volcanoes. The title is more than a nod to the Heroine Content blog, and the game takes some of my favourite heroines and throws them into each others’ universes, because I do want to know how Isabella Bird would react if she met Han Solo, or how Anne of Green Gables would cope in a bar brawl in Tibet.

My moly

There is more detail if you go through to Flickr and click on “all sizes”, but here are some close-ups of the three visible figures and my favourite cards:


Now I want to make this game! Or at least some Bad Luck Monkey cards…