Games to play amid the dust and rubble

19:37, Oct 19 2012
Beck Eleven

Some days it really rips your nightie to be living in Christchurch, but some days it's a cracker and you feel some kind of pride for sticking it out.

When friends or family come from out-of-town, I want to show off the city and I'd be a crap tour operator if I avoided the sad ruins. However, the weather's picking up and there's no need to be completely miserable about it (we're stoic and resilient remember, or at least that's what everyone tells us).

Anyway, there are people out there making money from the rebuild and I plan to be one of them. Here are some games you can play when on your next quake tour.

Spot the Chimney. A car game for all the family

You've played I Spy on long journeys, now try I Don't Spy (Spot the Chimney version). While in the car, players must remain vigilant, their eyes darting wildly from house to house. Every time a player spies a brick chimney, they yell "Chimney" and earn 5 points. Chimneys east of Hagley Park are worth 10. Blue tarpaulins across the spot where a chimney once sat earn 2 points, with an extra point if the tarp is loose and flapping in the wind.

Loser recites a portion of the Clean Air Act.


Name that Dust. Ages, 18+

Each player takes turns standing directly in a nor'wester with their mouth firmly closed and eyes positively open until dust forces a blink. Rinse with the bottle of Clear Eyes (included) and make your guess.

Is it liquefaction? Concrete dust from a demolition? Pollen? Or plain old dirt dust?

Players who can't make a guess on the first round will then be asked to stand in the brisk wind with their eyes now closed and their mouths open. A third round includes both eyes and mouth open.

Winner gets a pair of sunglasses, second place-getter, a free consultation with an ear-nose-throat specialist and third earns a milkshake and a tissue.

What's What. A game for two players, 18+.

A soon-to-be-licensed rip-off version of Who's Who. Instead of faces on the flip-down cards, you'll see vacant lots. Players try to narrow down which building once stood on the site by asking yes or no questions such as "Was it heritage listed?" "Was there a legal battle during its demolition?" "Was there a protest of more than 10 people to see it saved?" "Was it a church?" "Was it a retail store?" "Has it rebuilt and relocated?" and so on.

The winner gets to design a housing development.

Memory (Tagger version). All ages

A game for the eagle-eyed budding artists out there. Grab paper and a pencil or pit your iPhone camera against a Samsung Galaxy. Drive through the lower socio-economic areas of the city and see the graffiti. Read the tag and as soon as you see a matching tag in another location yell "Tagger".

Any players claiming cool graffiti or art murals as tagging are dubbed The Old Fogey for the remainder of the game.

Boulder Battleship. Ages, 6+

Take a drive through the Port Hills area or anywhere with prior rockfall, such as Heathcote, Sumner, or Redcliffs. Find a sizeable boulder in a field or at the bottom of any hill or cliff. Can you still see the path it took? Look for clues like a lighter colour of rock or a bald patch in the scrub.

Use the technologically advanced equipment included to scan the boulder and surrounding geography. Each player then guesses co-ordinates on the grid by placing their finger on the screen.

Guess The Insurance Company. All ages

Ostensibly a game of skill but the makers created an uncompetitive game when the answer kept turning out to be IAG or a company underwritten by IAG or recently purchased by IAG. Within 18 months of hitting shelves, Guess The Insurance Company (TM) was removed from the market.

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