Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bubble Talk

A while back, I was looking at a list of games for review opportunities.  Seeing one called Bubble Talk, I skipped right past it. It didn't look like something I was interested in. The PR rep who'd sent me the list, however, noticed that I have a child with autism and made the decision to go ahead and send it anyway, telling me that she'd heard of people using it for therapeutic purposes.

I'm so glad she did.

It took me a little while to break out this game, but we've played it multiple times since I first opened it. The premise of the game is that players match funny captions to funny pictures. A player acting as "judge" (this position rotates every round) decides which caption is the funniest. The winner gets to take the picture, and once you have a certain number of pictures, you win.

For example:

 I won a round with that caption.

The pictures themselves are hysterical. Especially if you're a kid. I've played with my kids and neighbor kids and all of them laughed and laughed and laughed.

There are photos on both sides of each card.
I don't know what they're looking at here.

Back to the autism thing. The reason this game is so great for Jack, my son with autism—and I commend the PR rep I was working with for seeing this—is that it lets Jack work on the nuances of language. We're working on figuring out the meanings of phrases and matching them to pictures. We're using the game to teach him humor, which can be difficult for literal-minded children with autism. We're using it to teach him some of the more abstract meanings of phrases and we're using it to teach him about best possible options.

Honestly, it's a very cool home speech therapy tool.

The thing I like most about the game is that you can change it up however it works for your family.

For instance, my 5-year-old doesn't read yet. So when we played with him, instead of having the role of judge rotate around the players, we just made the little guy the judge for the whole game and had one person read all the captions to him. He would pick each picture, then we would put our captions down. The best part was that, because he doesn't read, he didn't know who chose what, so he was totally impartial.

Here he is choosing a photo:

Here he is choosing a winner:

And here he is with my kids' favorite photo of the whole game, which, on front cover of the box, is matched with "tastes like bacon," which has turned into a new catchphrase at my house.

We've used this game in other ways as well. I've played alone with Jack by picking photos and having Jack choose from captions I've selected for him.

I've also picked photos and had him make up his own captions.

Top: "Doh!"
Bottom: "I hate this disguise."

There are so many ways to use this game and ways to alter the length of the game or the method of play. With 150 photos and 300 captions, the combinations seem endless. You can pretty much take this box and make what you want out of it.

Bubble Talk is for 3-8 players, ages 8 and up. Obviously, I found a way to play it with my kids, only one of whom is older than 8. However, there are some caption cards in the deck that are more appropriate for older kids or adults. Younger kids may not get some of the jokes, or they just may not be appropriate.

 I don't know that I would ever choose that caption as funniest.

It would be pretty easy to remove inappropriate captions from the deck, however.

Do you want to hear something else way weird about this game? Evidently Quinn snuck away to model for it.

We all laughed really hard at this.

Although this isn't a game that I would have chosen off the shelf, I give it a big ol' thumbs up. Since it's come to my home, we've played it a lot, and had a lot of fun with it. The best part of the game is that the goal is to make the players laugh. Is there a better Object of Game than that?

Honesty Clause: I received a review sample of the game at no charge. Bubble Talk sells for $19.99 and is available at specialty retailers, including Learning Express and Barnes & Noble. You can find it online at several retailers, including Amazon.com and Target.com.