How was school? >Yeah, okay. What did you do? >Things. Who did you meet? >Some people. How do you feel? >Okay. Did anything nice happen? >Mwah. Do you want something to eat? >Yes.
This is about the maximum I get out of my son on a normal day. And he’s not even in puberty yet!
Maybe that is why I am so excited about the game I bought in Germany this holiday.
In the game Farben, players associate a colour with a word and the stories arise naturally.
The concept of the game Farben (translated: colours) is very simple: each player gets a set with a number of colours. In a turn of play, a word is turned over and everyone thinks about which colour best suits that card for him/her. It may be a feeling or you as a player may have a concrete story to go with it. Anything goes.
Have you told your story? Then put your card closed under the word. At the end of the turn, you put the pile of cards to one side. So that also means you lose the colour you played. So a player cannot associate everything with blue ‘…because that’s my favourite colour!’
Each player also has a card that has all the colours on it. You can use that for a word that you associate with several colours or that you have both positive and negative experiences with. For me, for example, internet.
By talking about colours, you are having a much deeper conversation.
When a word has been turned over, the players simultaneously choose a card and place it closed in front of them. Then the first player turns over her card and tells her story, then the second player does the same and so you complete the round. In total, you can play this game with five players.
Each player has a set with a unique symbol on the back. This way, you always know exactly which card belongs to whom.
When someone has told her story, she places the card closed under the card with the word. Then the next player does the same, creating a pile of cards for each word. You put these stacks separately.
An exercise in memorising
At Farben, every story matters. And everything is good. You don’t get points for originality or style. Only after 10 words have been turned over and the stories have been told, comes the points round. This is because you can earn points if, for a word, you have correctly remembered which colour your fellow players have put down.
So it comes down to how well you listened, how well you looked and how well you remembered the story. Incidentally, you also get a point if someone has correctly remembered/guessed your colour. So an extra reason to impress with your story.
So in Farben, not only do the best storytellers win, but also the best listeners earn points!
Concrete or abstract
The game material comes with 59 double-sided word cards. They contain both concrete words (internet, grandma, school, friend, food) and abstract ones (security, experience, trust, risk). Per game you use 10 cards, the player whose turn it is decides which side of the card to put on the table.
The words are in English and German. For younger children, perhaps a bit more difficult. When we played it, son found it no problem at all. He knew most of the English words and where he struggled we translated.
If you find English/German too difficult anyway, you can make your own cards and are of course free to use other words. For example, to repeat a theme.
Let them chat about it
We played the game in a restaurant somewhere. It gave us tons of conversation. I finally heard from my son how he felt when he switched schools after group 4. It was also fun to recognise emotions in each other: all three of us had chosen red for shame (I’m sure it happens more often) but I could so recognise myself in my son’s story! He had my story. And so it was also between father and son at certain moments.
Farben is a playful occasion to talk further
Whether at home, in class or, for example, in a coaching practice, this is an approachable game to hear more about feelings and experiences. If you want, ask questions and talk further. Don’t want to? Fine too. Then at the end you count your points and have played a fun game.
General information about Farben:
- number of players: 3 – 5
- time: half an hour or longer, depending on the stories (for long-winded types, use an hourglass 🙂
- from: 6 years (or as soon as children can read / tell a short story)
- Price: I bought it for €8 (original price was €9.95). Available online in the Netherlands only at SpelSpul.nl. The price is higher there.
- quick rules can be found here (in Dutch)