Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Shabbat Afternoon Youth Group Games

Bnei Akiva...NCSY...Ariel...Ezra...Sinai...Oz...(add your own)

All these youth groups meet up on Shabbat afternoons, and its always a challenge to find interesting activities. The "Our Shiputzim" blog mentions the game “Ein Zahp” (which I admit, I've never heard of) and that got me thinking about the games we used to play back then.

I recalled this one from when I was growing up, which I have successfully conveyed to my kids:

Zoom, Schwartz, Mafigliano, No Dice.

At first, I wondered if this would appear anywhere on the internet, and I wasn't disappointed. While Wikipedia has an entry for a slightly corrupted, similar name with "Profigliano" instead of "Mafigliano"...I was thrilled to see the following sub-entry on the same page:

Counterpoint Melbourne Variant (Zoom-Schwartz-Mefigliano-No Dice)

This was orally transmitted to the Melbourne Australia Modern Orthodox Jewish Community in 1974, by an Jewish Educational Outreach Team from Yeshiva University who ran a programm known as Counterpoint.

The calls are as follows:

Zoom – Can only be done to one of the 2 players immediately adjacent on either side. When a player is Zoomed, the Itness (ie the concept of being It) passes to them.

Schwartz – Can also only be done to one of the 2 players immediately adjacent on either side. But when a person is Schwartzed, the Itness passes to the player to the other side of the caller.

Mefigliano – Can be done to any player, including those adjacent. (A common misconception is that adjacent players can’t be Mefiglianoed)

In contrast to some of the other variants, the player making these calls must simultaneously call, look and point at the intended receiver. (When a player makes the call, but only points after some delay, this is known as the delayed finger reaction, and causes that player to go out.)

No Dice – A player who is Mefiglianoed (but not one who is Zoomed or Schwartzed) has a fourth response option, ie by saying No Dice, in which case the Itness remains with the previous player. One does not have to look, or point while saying No Dice, because it is essentially a blocking move. (Some have the practice of crossing their forearms in front of them to illustrate the blocking nature of the move - this was observed at a game in Caulfield in December 2008- but it is not essential).

A player can No Dice successive Mefliglianos only twice – if they are Mefiglianoed a third time, a full transfer of the Itness is deemed to have then taken place, and they now must respond with one of the 3 other calls.

Players very commonly respond to a Mefigliano with No Dice – so that it is virtually expected. Hence making one of the other 3 responses instead is a strategic move because it can catch other players off guard.

Apart from that restriction, in contrast to some other versions, there are no other restrictions on how many times a person can make the same call in succession. This can also be used strategically eg repeating Zoom many times in succession allows you to catch other players off guard when you unexpectedly change the call. There are also no restrictions in the order of calls including the starting call (though Zoom does tend to be the most commonly used starting call).

Play continues until all but 2 are out, who are then declared the joint winners.

Those counterpoint volunteers who went to Australia in the 70's, were considered the best of the best in Jewish Outreach. Back then, it was revolutionary -- which paved the way for today's Counterpoint programs which are all around the world.

Of course, today's kids can get by with more than just circle games. While Trivial Pursuit and Risk were around the in late 70's and 80's...today's kids also have options including Killer Bunnies and the quest for the Magic Carrot and The Settlers of the Shomron Catan (available in Israel in Hebrew as well)

Of course other games included Clue, Mille Bornes, Stratego, Monopoly, Life, and Othello.

Scrabble? Feh :-)

What games did you play on Shabbat afternoon....?

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד


amyrpk said...

Where I grew up it was Zoom, Schwartz, Configliano, No Dice.


yonah said...

I distinctly remember that you can also "No Dice" a "Zoom" in our neighborhood, but never a "Schwartz." The "Schwartz" was really the killer, because the giver was always looking away from the one who had to respond, so if you weren't alert, you're a goner.

We also played "Nasi, Nasi," which was the knee-slap, hand-clap, finger-snap game. It was also a pass-around game, with everyone on chairs in a circle and each person assigned as Nasi, Sgan, then numbers from one-to-however many players, and also one person in the middle, who was called something else, I don't remember. You "passed" by following the rhythm of the "slap, clap, snap, snap" and for the snap the sender said their own position twice, and then "sent" it by saying their position and then the recipient's on the final snap.

And, of course, there was Red Rover. We had an advanced version where the two opposing lines stood less than five feet from a wall behond them, so in case the receivers wanted to let go and not try to block the runner, there was a risk of smashing into the wall. Hey, it was a tough town.

And Ringolevio - that lasted for hours.

SuperRaizy said...

In the summers we played Elimination. The goal was to eliminate every other kid by hitting them with the ball. Last one standing wins.
In the winter when we were stuck at home, we would create an obstacle course using every single thing we owned. The game was called "Don't Step on the Floor". (kinda self-explanatory)

Ezzie said...

Life, Sorry!, Racko, Clue, Monopoly, Stratego, Mille Bornes - great game!!!!, Othello. I beat a current Israeli surgeon you might know when I was 5 and he was 30 after watching him play a game. ;)

And of course, card games - Casino, Spit, Rummy 500, Kent.

We typically didn't play ballgames outdoors, though at shul us kids would play punchball, Elimination, or (not a ballgame) 52 Scatter...

Ah, nostalgia.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

The worst game for kids was "cemetery" -- the objective was to be as quiet as possible, for as long as possible :-)

Yonah: I think in our neighborhood, you could "no dice" everything...up to 3 times.

AmyRPK: Configliano...interesting. Was that in the wikipedia article?

Ezzie: Best card game: SPIT.

SuperRiazy: Isnt that a version of "ga-ga"?

Mrs. S. said...

Thanks for the link!

The best part about playing "Clue" on Shabbat was trying to figure out how to record the clues without writing. (We used bobby pins...)

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Mrs S: I still dont know what "Ein Zahp" is!

(And thanks for the reciprocal link ;)

Erachet said...

We used to play Zoom Schwartz in camp! Also - not on Shabbos, but in camp I DOMINATED in a game called Ship, Shore, Wave.

Anyway - Shabbos games I grew up with/play:

Scrabble, Risk, Sorry, Life, Monopoly, Mille Bornes, 25 Words or Less, President/Capitalism/Whatever you want to call it (my chevra at home went through a phase where we played this eeeevery single Shabbos for hours), Kent, Spit, BS, Hearts, Set, Taboo, Phase 10, Squidge, and some other made up games. :)

Erachet said...

Oh yeah, also Clue! Instead of using bobby pins like Mrs. S., we relied on just remembering the clues.

Erachet said...

Oh, also Mafia. And Mao.

...I've played a lot of games. :)

Other group shabbos games I've played: psychiatrist (love that game), telephone/broken telephone (really fun to play on school shabbatons and things).

Okay, enough games from me. :)

Erachet said...

Sorry for all the comments! Jameel - ga ga is when you have to hit people in the feet. Elimination is when you just have to hit people. I love both those games. :) And spud. And capture the flag. And hide and go seek tag. And sardines.

Siiiiigh, too many games I used to play that I don't play anymore!!!

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Erachet: Capture the flag is a popular game in our yishuv....kids play it all over the place.

Just remembered one called something like "The Bishop takes the first drink" and you had to remember every single part of it and repeat it in perfect detail.

And of course, there's the Beni Akiva classic "Kossot Ovrot", which is best done, when there's water in the cups which have to be poured from cup to cup...

Anonymous said...

one group game is zero zero one one where the new number being called has to keep the rhythm going and go after some one else
but all the other games, thanks for the memories (we pounded monopoly and president probably more than anything until we got a little older and started poker (uch))

RivkA with a capital A said...

my kids play "swish-bang" and "tampa-tampa"

remember "this is a ____. a what? a _____. a what? a _______. oh, a ______!"

yaak said...

Wow! Now that's a blast from the past (Zoom, I mean). Thanks for posting.

Gee a Moron said...

To Play Scrabble on Shabbat we would keep score with large books. Each player gets a book with many hundreds of pages and bookmark the page with the current score. Flip the book over to go from even to odd or odd to even - actual score is the number of the page on top.

The past few weeks my kids have been playing a card game that I never heard of before. Seems to be an Israeli invention called "Yaniv". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yaniv_(card_game)

HolyCityPrayer said...

Jameel, who were those YU shlichim to Australia mentioned in this post?

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