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Games devotee Gyles Brandreth, his writer daughter, Saethryd, and her son, Rory, are on a mission to bring back the traditional games that all the family can play, says Bethany Park. They brought fun to the Festival on Saturday – previewing some of the 286 games in their book, The Lost Art of Having Fun. 

“The purpose of the book was that [each game] had to be fun, free, and you had to be able to play it with things you could find around the house,” explains Saethryd. “So you could be at home with nothing, and you could still create your own fun!”

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So which games are their personal favourites?

“The ones that we like the most tend to be the word games and spoken games. However we have nine sections, including car games and rainy day games. We also have a section called ‘analogue fun in a digital world’ – or what some may call, ‘things to do with your kids in the pub before you give them your iPhone’!” jokes Saethryd.

Rory has two favourites. “One is the Parson’s Cat, which is a word spoken game. And the other is the chocolate game. I’m sure you all like chocolate, so that’s the game for you!”

Children played a variety of crazy games on stage, including the aforementioned Parson’s Cat. To play, the first person simply begins with the letter a to describe the cat: for example, ‘Parson’s cat is an angry cat’; the next person chooses an adjective beginning with b, and so on. Beginning the game with “Parson’s cat is an apple cat” caused lots of giggles.

“There is nothing better”, boomed Giles, “than having inter-generational amusement between older people, younger people and smaller people whilst playing these games.”


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