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This past week has been rather… Surprising? Unique? Crazy? I’m going to go with all of the above.
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a shy person. You’re my friend? I’ll blabber on about whatever comes into my head. You’re alone and I’m alone and we’re complete strangers? No problem striking up a conversation. You’re wearing something geeky? I will talk to you whether you’re in a group or not. Put me in front of a group? No way. I will blush (no pun intended), stammer, forget the thread of conversation (or presentation), and generally be very uncomfortable and awkward.
And this past week has been pushing my boundaries. I’ve had two “print” interviews, one by phone for an article for Apt 613, and one in person for an article for the Metro. And I was interviewed on CBC Radio with my dad for the segment All in a Day. You have no idea how grateful I was that my dad was there. As much as I was able to convince myself that it was simply another one-on-one conversation with Alan Neal (who was super awesome, and a great interviewer), I still had problems getting my words out in the order I wanted them, and forming sentences that actually made sense. My dad, on the other hand, was brilliant. Not only did he get the conversation around to the game (the whole point, really), but he was funny and intelligent the entire time. So glad he was invited, and agreed to join me.
One thing that I have noticed, throughout these three interviews, is that I am asked a variation of the same main questions, although the written words are extremely varied. So I thought I would write down some of the most frequently asked questions, and answer them.
What was the reason behind this game? How did it come to be?
The game started out as a project for my Adolescence class at the University of Ottawa. The project was very open-ended; we had to research a topic that was related to adolescents. After a very brief brainstorming session, and a class on Human Sexuality later that week, I realized that the most obvious choice for my topic was adolescent sexuality. You can read my paper here. This was possibly the easiest paper I have ever written in my entire life (to date). The words came easily, I would get to a point that needed proof, the studies that provided the proof were easily found, and I was done in a matter of days.
As my research found that parents and their kids had a better relationship, built on trust and mutual respect, if they spent time playing games together, I decided to expand my project (with the professor’s permission) into a physical game that taught the facts of sexuality, sexual health, and identity. The original concept was very Trivial Pursuit-esque, with a board game and pieces, dice, and collecting parts to win. It was a huge undertaking, and would be very expensive to produce. I also didn’t particularly like how similar it was to Trivial Pursuit, but I couldn’t think of another way of formatting it. (I got 100% on the project, and my professor made me promise to develop it.)
Fast forward 8 years, and I was having a conversation with one of the founders of Renaissance Press about projects that we were particularly proud of in school. Blush was obviously one of those, and they asked to borrow the prototype. When they brought it back with a contract, and an idea of how to make the rules different, I was in shock. Definitely changed my life! I started the anonymous question box and this portion of the blog at that point.
What are the rules for playing the game?
Each player takes a turn asking a question and reading the four possible answers out loud. Other players then vote for the answer they think is the right one, their voting cards face down. They flip the card over al at the same time once everyone has voted. Correct answers get a point token. Next player clockwise reads the next question, and so on. First player to get to ‘x’ points (decided at the beginning of the game) wins.
How old would you recommend the kids to be to play this game?
The redesigned questions complement the new Ontario sex education curriculum, so you could play portions of the game with your kids as early as Grade 1. As parents, you are allowed to take out the cards that are too advanced for them (recommended), and reinsert them as your child grows up. To play the game as a whole, without removing cards, age 12-13 is an approximate. If you feel they’re ready earlier, that’s fine too!
I read something the other day that fits in well here. “What age do you think kids should know about sex? Remove two years, and that’s much more likely.”
If you’re a parent with an infant, and you’re not sure whether you’ll use the game, I can see where you’re coming from. My first child is due in September, and Grade 1 feels INCREDIBLY far away. However, Blush doesn’t expire! And in the meantime, you can play it with your friends, even as a drinking game. (Be prepared to get drunk very quickly if you do, though. The questions can be harder than you think!) This goes for people without children as well. How well do you remember your own sex ed classes? Do you think you know everything?
There were lots of other questions that I was asked multiple times, but this post is getting a little long, so I will leave you with a question that I wish I HAD been asked, because I think it’s a rather important one:
What qualifies YOU to write this game? Why should we trust your facts?
My educational background has provided me with thorough researching skills (1), an understanding of human sexuality (2), and the knowledge of how to teach through different methods (3).
- BSc in Biochemistry and Chemistry
- BA Soc[ial Science] Major Psychology (with a focus on Human Sexuality) Minor Biology
- BEd I/S Chemistry and Math
I have been extremely thorough with my research into this game, and will go over the questions again with a fine-tooth comb before it is published. My publisher, Renaissance Press, has already edited the questions, as well as sent them off to UofT’s Sexual Health Centre, to have a second pair of eyes look at the questions.
I feel as though all of my educational and personal background has led to this game. It is a major part of me, and with your help, will come into this world before my first-born child!