March 2008 | Vol. VII - No. 3
Homeschoolers: This T-Shirt Fits
Slogans + Designs = Game Full of Laughter
The T-Shirt Game by BUFFALO GAMES INC.
Age: 10 and Up
Gender: Boys and Girls
Category: Board Games
What It Is: Each player selects a slogan card from his or her hand to pair with the graphics on the T-shirt card for that round. Players take turns being the judge and who selects the best slogan based on any reason — or none whatsoever! The player whose slogan card is chosen is awarded points from a “Hot or Not-” card that also features references to popular culture. The first player to reach 3,000 points wins.
What the Moms Thought: “The T-Shirt Game is fast, fun and easy,” raved Shanahan, noting that it is equally good as “party entertainment” and “family entertainment.” Ledford enjoyed the greater interaction that happens when playing games such as this (with judges and thus changes in ways to win points each round).
Shanahan and Wilson liked the compact box size. “That ‘earth-friendly processes and recycled materials’ are involved is a plus,” added Dawson. Ledford pointed out that the “colorful cards capture your attention.” Wilson appreciated that her whole family could play together, since the game accommodates up to six players.
“It was a good game to show basic marketing skills and how you sometimes have to make the most out of the cards dealt to you,” said Zuidema.
What the Kids Thought: At the Shanahan house, “everyone was enthusiastic, but especially the older girls,” Shanahan reported, adding that the children felt “very witty with their responses.” “Elise (9) found the game funny and liked the humor involved,” said Wilson, whose older boys enjoyed the laughter, too. Alyssa (8) appreciated the T-shirt-shaped cards.
Most of the children in the roundtable enjoyed their turns as judge. Each of Dawson’s children liked selecting the slogan that made the least sense and concocting a “tall-tale-style back story to connect them.”
The Ledford children are eager to play this during sleepovers since “the fun increases with the number of players.” They also liked that Mom and Dad were so willing to play since they had fun, too.
What the Kids Learned from this Toy: “It was fun to see how well the slogans matched or didn’t match the pictures,” commented Zuidema. Wilson said, “By keeping track of points, the children were also using math skills unbeknownst to them!”
“Mama, what does this mean?” asked Dawson’s children. They learned bits of pop trivia from decades past as she explained some of the references made in the “Hot or Not” cards. “They just weren’t familiar with many of the celebrities or events referenced,” Dawson said.
“I love language games and reading in every format for kids,” said Shanahan, who observed “the diplomatic skills” used by a judge in revealing the winner of a round “without crushing the losers,” as well as the strategy involved in disposing of “useless cards on rounds they are unlikely to win anyway.” She said the game “encourages quick thinking.”
The game made Ledford’s children consider how T-shirts are really designed. “Apparently Joe (8) has a future in the T-shirt design industry,” sighed Victoria (12) after her brother won.
How to Improve It: Shanahan would like to see the T-shirt-shaped cards fit in the box better. Timothy (15), along with several moms, suggested raising the winning point total by 1,000 points. Zuidema said a game board to assist with score-keeping “would have given you a better idea of who to take a card from when a BOO YAH card was drawn.”
“After spending years trying to stop bathroom humor, we have no desire to start it up again,” Shanahan said as to why she removed several slogan cards from the deck. Ledford concurred, “Some of the slogan and T-shirt cards created sarcastic combinations, which were funny to adults but not so appropriate for younger children.”
Dawson, whose family plans to expand the game by designing their own T-shirt cards and slogans, suggested including “create-your-own-slogan” cards that would have more durability than homemade ones. Elise (9) and Steven (7) found some of the graphics “too scary,” and Dawson’s children labeled some “gross.”
Dawson would like to see the game fit the target age by removing the pop culture references from the 1980s and 1990s. “As it is, this game is squarely targeted at my generation,” she said, referencing mentions of E.T., MC Hammer, Milli Vanilli, Michael Jordan’s retirement, David Hasselhoff’s popularity in Germany, Michael Jackson’s balcony antics, Paul McCartney’s walrus, Hulk Hogan, Mr. T’s pity and Richard Simmons’ sweat.
Would You Want Another Toy Like This? Steven (7) said, “This is my most favorite game in the whole world.” Wilson summed up, “The game is always changing, so they will not tire of this game soon.”
Roundtable participants are former corporate accountant Robbin Dawson with Ethan (8) and Sara (6); Susan Ledford, editor of the "Homeschool Resources Directory for SC,” with Victoria (12), Joe (8) and Griffin (2); Alison Shanahan with Elizabeth (14), Emily (13) and Katie (7); Teresa Wilson, editor of “HOMES Newsletter,” with Timothy (15), Andrew (12), Elise (9) and Steven (7); and Jill Zuidema, former retail manager, with Alyssa (8).
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Writer's Bio: Susan Ledford is the writer, editor and publisher of the "Homeschool Resources Directory for S.C." She has been evaluating toys and games for TDmonthly's Roundtable reviews since 2005. She also is a homeschool veteran of seven years. Read more articles by this author
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