One last deviation from video games before the new year begins. Since I’ve been reviewing books these last couple Sundays and games on Saturdays, I thought we could merge the two for one last idea for families and friends. This one is totally unusual because it’s not really a game, or a book, but a conversation piece. Let me explain…
My nephew, Nicky, is a genius. He’s 10 now, but was busy asking us about who we might go to war with based on his knowledge of politics just a few short years ago. (Don’t worry, like all geniuses, he makes some gloriously funny blunders too, like hearing a newscaster say, “That man is our new pope” and thinking he actually said “Batman is our new pope”! Well, stranger things… right?) Seriously, though, he knows everything there is to know about his chosen hobbies. Given half a chance to talk about sports, he can tell you any player’s batting averages right off the top of his head. Sure, he could be making it up knowing how little I know about it but others who seem to be in the know don’t argue with him, so he must be right! But set his mind to a thing and he takes off with it. It’s impressive. He’s also really good with history and geography. So when we gave my mother a game book for her travels, Nicky was all over the trivia section. Before long he turned that section into a game for all of us. Alas, 30 questions only go so far when there are 10 players. So Nicky wanted another book of questions that he could use to test our intellect. Partly in jest, I handed him “The Book of Questions” thinking it would bore him. Imagine my surprise when he started asking the family a variety of questions and getting people involved in outright debates! Not heated, but lively discussions about what if scenarios!
The Book of Questions is a book my mom bought back around its original publication in 1987 and we’ve had loads of fun with since but when I say “we”, I mean adult crowd, not kids of 10 years of age. When I spotted a new version in stores a couple of years ago, it was a no-brainer; I snatched it up. The book asks some interesting questions that have no answer. Imagine sitting around asking everyone from pre-teens to grandparents some serious questions and getting into some deep territory.
Let me give an example, from the book, so you have a frame of reference.
You are leading 100 people whose lives are in danger and you must pick one of two paths. One will save 95 people but 5 will die; the other has an even chance of saving everyone, but if it fails everyone will die. Which would you choose?
You can’t imagine how involved we all became with this debate. As it progressed, we changed parts of it. What if it were 100 members of the family (including cousins, this is no stretch)? This lead to the interesting realization that when a family is involved, it seems everyone agrees with going with the 50/50 choice; we will either live or die with one another. WOW! What a decision. How about this: What can someone figure out about you by the friends you have chosen? Well, I’d say that’s like looking in someone’s personal library! I imagine it’s obvious that, based on our friends here at the Junkyard, I’d be considered a genius, right? (Remember, it’s a double edged question…!)
The Book of Questions was written by Gregory Stock, PhD. It’s a small book featuring about 300 questions. And it’s great fun! New Year’s Eve is a nice time to sit around with family and friends waiting for the ball to signal in the new year. Why not have some fun while waiting for it. Learn something about the way your friends and family think! Here’s an added idea: ply the ones you can with a few drinks and you may decide you don’t want them leading you and those other 99 people… But no matter what, you are sure to have an interesting debate. Or two. Or two dozen.
Have a healthy, happy new year to all our friends at the Junkyard! I have one more post for coming tomorrow… ML