A Spell Of Good Fortune


Today, June 17th, marks my 6-month anniversary as a Londoner already. Half a year living in this great city has flown by, and it only continues to get more interesting and exciting as time goes on, so I haven’t regretted it one little bit. Things here have been keeping me happily occupied for a variety of reasons, which is why I haven’t been writing here frequently. But I wanted to catch-up on some of the things I’ve been doing, and that’s going to need a few posts to get through.

So here I want to talk about a couple of the gaming nights I’ve been on most recently, essentially as a follow-up to the Name Of The Game post I wrote back in April.

London Spelling Bee

This is the second event by Smudged Lipstick that I’ve attended. I had intended to go to their Spelling Bee earlier in the year, but through illness couldn’t make it. Jordi, however, kindly carried my ticket over to the next date, as their events tend to repeat on a regular cycle. You can see footage from one of their previous nights here.

It is, as the name suggests, a spelling quiz. People are called up to the microphone one by one and asked to spell a word. Get it right, and you’re into the next round. Get it wrong, and you’re out. The rules are as a simple as that.

That might sound an odd thing for a group of adults to go to. You hear about children doing spelling bees, but why would a group of adults get together to do such a thing? Because it’s great fun, that’s why, especially with drinks and comedy involved, as you can see from this promo clip of a previous event:

The event was held at Drink, Shop & Do in Kings Cross again, as I had previously been there for the Dirty Scrabble event, also by Smudged Lipstick. They do use a variety of venues, it must be said – it just happens that I’ve been to two in a row at this particular establishment. Thankfully, though, we weren’t in their domed room, where the acoustics aren’t conducive to conversation when loads of people are gathered together. Instead, this was in the room by the bar, which is very handy of course.

Everyone was given a number, and each person in turn was called up to the front and given a word to spell. You could ask for the definition and its origin, in case they were helpful. And you could ask for it to be used in a sentence, which was often worth doing even if you didn’t need it, because they were always funny.

It was strange getting up in front of a big group of people just to spell words, and I did feel a bit nervous initially. But the atmosphere in there was great – everyone was having fun and supporting each other, Jordi the host is a great guy, and of course having drinks on hand helps too, so you relax into it instantly. It was also fun on a social level too – which is the whole point of the event – and I enjoyed chatting to the lady I was sat next to, just as everyone else was interacting with their neighbouring contestants.

I didn’t win, but I managed to get through a few rounds unscathed, spelling Bethlehem, cajole and malapropism correctly. I fell down on funambulist though (a tightrope walker apparently – it was an educational night as well!). But I’m happy I got eliminated then, as the rounds got really hard after that, to the point where no single person won outright in the end. The words in the last few rounds got so ridiculously difficult that nobody could get them, so the prize was divided up between the two last contestants, which was very fair.

So it was a fun night, and I’d definitely recommend giving it a go if you like the sound of it. The video below is from that night – you don’t see me in it, but it accurately reflects the atmosphere and the enjoyment of the evening, I can assure you.

Bobily Fortunes

This was another Thinking Bob event – their quizzes and games are definitely my favourites with them, they’re always a good laugh and they do a good variety of them. I was going to attend their version of The Chase very recently, for example, but that was scuppered by the weather, for me at least, though in fairness I was also working on something important (which I will be posting about very shortly – though this video on my Youtube channel will show what it is), so the extra free evening allowed time to play around with that.

Anyway, Bobily Fortunes is Thinking Bob’s version of Family Fortunes, as you’ve probably guessed (or, if you’re American, Family Feud). If you’ve seen the TV show, you know how it works, and it was exactly the same here. We had the board on a screen, which was being output from a laptop, and we had the correct sound effects for right and wrong answers. The two competing ‘families’ in our case were 2 teams with 10 people in each.

The idea of the game is to guess the most popular answers given to a survey question. So, at the start of each round, one contestant from each family goes up to the front, where they get asked the next survey question. Whoever buzzes in first (or raises their hand in our case), gets to try answering first. If they don’t get the most popular answer, then the other person gets to suggest an answer too. Whoever gets the highest answer then gets to choose if their team plays, to guess the rest of the answers on the board, or whether they pass it to the other team to have a go instead, which can be a good tactical move if you suspect the other team will struggle.

Whichever team is put into play then has to guess the other answers remaining on the board. In all of our surveys, there were 5 answers to get. The higher the answer, the more points it’s worth. So the team confers and gives an answer, and the host sees if it’s on the board. If it’s not, you lose a life. If you get 2 wrong answers (as opposed to 3 on the TV show), the other team get a chance to steal the points earned up to that point by naming just one of the missing responses. So you have to think hard to get all the answers on the board. It’s surprisingly tricky sometimes. And some of the answers can seem a bit random. But if you know the show, you know how fun it is when people give silly answers! That’s part of the charm of the game.

It was a really good laugh, and my team actually won! Only by a slim margin of 15 points too, so it was close. Especially when you consider that 10 points of that was actually a bonus I had earned – and it was the only bonus handed out during the night. So without it, we’d only have won by 5. The bonus came about at the beginning of one round, when I had gone up to the front to face a contestant from the other team. The question was “Things that you can see and not touch”, and typical of my sense of humour, I gave the answer “other girls that aren’t your partner.” Well, it’s true, right?!

It got a big laugh from everyone in the room, 10 bonus points for our team, and one of our team members bought me a drink. So, even though the answer wasn’t on the board, it was worth it! The other person gave a more sensible answer, but it was also wrong, so I got another go – and this time I got the top answer! So it all paid off. I had been able to confer well with my team during all the rounds too, suggesting answers that were indeed on the board, so I felt involved and enjoyed it. It was a great way to spend a Friday night.

And this past week I’ve been to another quiz called The Question Bobbers, very loosely based on a Channel 4 show I’ve never heard of called The Question Jury. But for our night, your team basically had to agree on every answer – so just a normal pub quiz really. The twist, if you can call it that, was that your team wrote each answer on a board with a marker, with all teams holding up their answers at the same time. Scores were taken, then you would wipe the board clean and repeat for the next question. Every so often, there was a round where each team was asked a question just for them – and if they got it wrong, the other teams could try and steal the points. It didn’t get any more complicated than that, and it didn’t need to either. It was just an enjoyable pub quiz, which is what we’d all gone for – a good variety of questions and topics of varying degrees of difficulty, and lots of laughs along the way.

So those games all made for great fun evenings. Organised social Quiz and game nights like these are a great way to bond and have fun with people you don’t know, which in turn makes small talk much easier. So that’s why I enjoy them so much, as they’re so easy to get into. So I recommend looking for things like this if you want something to do with other people outside your regular social circle.

And to finish, if you’re still not familiar with Family Fortunes, these are some of the silliest answers given by the contestants. Enjoy. 🙂

Author: Glen

Vsually impaired, with Aniridia & Nystagmus. I'm a fan of Doctor Who, classic sitcoms, Queen and 60s-80s rock & pop. I like to blog about my experiences as a disabled person, and about the things I enjoy in general.

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