Idea No.


X Marks the Spot



March 2003


Shelley in New South Wales, Australia

Honorable Mention


X' MARKS THE SPOT!  Here is a Birthday Party game that costs pretty much nothing but the small prize that the winner receives at the end of it.  I live in a 'complex' of townhouses but this game can be adapted to your environment.  Cut out large X's (about the size of your hand) out of cardboard (you can use muesli or cereal boxes if you wish).  You will have apx. 9 (less or more) X's.  There are 4 corners of each X, with a space in the middle.  On the first X, to give you an idea, I wrote: 'The children once - swam around but - now they simply - walk on the ground'.  Now, this rhyming sentence, as you see, has been broken up into 4 parts; one part of the sentence is written onto each corner of the X.  In the middle of the X, it is written: 'X Marks The Spot!'       Hand the first cardboard 'X' to your group of party-goers.  They will read it aloud together, turning the X around as they do so. (These written clues on the cardboard 'X's are clues as to where the 'X's are found.)  Once the party group have read and heard the 'clue', they then head toward wherever that clue has directed them.  The group race to the area hinted of and each party guest begins to seek out the 'X' (that has already been chalked onto something in that area by you, beforehand).  As soon as one of your guests has seen the 'X' (chalked out on a brick, tree, wall etc.) that guest then points to the 'X' and calls out 'X Marks The Spot!'  That guest then gets that cardboard 'X' as evidence of being the finder of that 'X'.  The second cardboard 'X' clue is then handed to the group by you, the host.  These were the clues that I came up with:  1.  The children once swam around, but now they simply walk on the ground:  'X Marks The Spot!' (This referred to an area where once there was a pool, but the pool was taken out and the ground filled in.  It is now grassland.)  2.  Where once we ran through the garden of Mimiteh: 'X Marks The Spot!'  (This refers to a garden, a short distance up from our home.  We once named it 'Mimiteh' because it was such a beautiful native American name.)  3.  Though I can be quite deep, you can probably see right through me: 'X Marks The Spot!'   (This refers to the indoor pool close by which several residents use.)  4.  Where the birds sing, and a type of pendulum swings:  'X Marks The Spot!'  (This referred to a small grassy area where there are a couple of swings.)  5.  Where the white rabbit jumped and secrets are told:  'X Marks The Spot!'  (This referred to another small, but secluded little grass area in our complex which we named, quite a while back as 'the secret garden' because not many people seemed to know about it.  I also, in passing through it one day, amazingly saw a white rabbit jumping around in it.)  6.  Am I a decagon, a nonagon, a pentagon or an octagon? 'X Marks The Spot!'  (Here I am referring to a gazebo close by to where the swings are.  I could have been a little more poetic, but I ran out of time and actually couldn't remember which shape it was.)  7.  To read messages, first a key must unlock:  'X Marks The Spot!'  (This refers to our letter box.)  8.  As the water flows, I keep the score:  'X Marks The Spot!'  (This refers to the outside water meter.  Here I am actually leading the guests back to the house.)  9.  Though the tree is loyal, the fruit, uneaten:  'X Marks The Spot!'  (This referred to a grapefruit tree out the back of our townhouse.  Though it is a beautiful tree with healthy leaves, we have never liked grapefruit unfortunately.  This brought the guests back to the townhouse.)  By the way, you must go with the guests and hand out the cardboard 'X's along the way.  As they rush from one area to the other, go with them.  You'll certainly be witness to who actually sees the chalked up 'X's first.  Remember, the first person to see your 'hidden' chalked up 'X', gets the cardboard 'X' clue.  The guest with the most cardboard 'X's at the end of the game, wins 'X Marks The Spot!'  The prize could be a glow light stick or anything else that you wish.  The chalked up 'X's will easily come off with rain.

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