D’ya hear yer man

Baby Top Trumps

The good thing about games like Connect Four, Guess Who and Rhino Rampage is that you have a choice to play or not to play.

I’m a sucker for a challenge so more often than not I’ll pick up the gauntlet. But despite what my wife would have you believe, there are rare occasions when I’m not in the mood for childish games.

On these seldom seen moments I’ll decline the challenge of a spot of gamesmanship with a polite ‘No, thank you’ or an uber-polite, ‘It is with sincerest regret that I am, on this occasion, unable to match wits with you in a game of Rhino Rampage’.

The point I’m trying to make is, some games are much easier to refuse than others.

Since the arrival of Lucy I have learned that it is impossible to opt out of the game known as Baby Top Trumps.

While many will be unfamiliar with the Baby Top Trumps game, there are few people with children who haven’t played it. The fact people are playing it without realising reinforces my point that this game is impossible to opt out of.

Hopefully most readers will be familiar with the game Top Trumps, otherwise I might as well be writing this week’s column in Dutch.

Baby Top Trumps works in much the same way as conventional Top Trumps in that you nominate a category and give a value in that category that your opponent has to beat.

Unlike normal Top Trumps, the Baby version can start at any point during a conversation rather than require a coin toss or drawing of straws.

I’ll give you a semi-fictional example involving myself and an un-named opponent.

I’m having a conversation during which I mention that Lucy had a great night’s sleep the previous evening. I’m then asked how long she slept for, to which I reply that she slept for 10 hours from 8.30pm to 6.30am. And this is where Baby Top Trumps begins...

“10 hours is pretty good,” my opponent says. “But I’ll go better than that - last night my wee Johnny slept for 12 and a half hours.”

And so you’re 1-0 down before you’ve even realised the game has started and because your opponent has control of the game they get to choose the next category.

“I’m going to go for dental records and my question is, ‘How many teeth does Lucy have?’” they ask.

“Three,” I say.

“Three wee gnashers,” says my opponent, trying to sugar the imminent blow. “My wee Johnny was born with a full set and had to have three fillings by the time he was one month old.”

Just like that I’m 2-0 down in a game I never wanted to play.

“Okay,” says my opponent. “Next category. Food intake. How much would Lucy have for her tea?”

“She’s not really that big an eater,” I say. “Though some nights she’ll eat a full pouch from that Ella’s Kitchen range. Lovely Lamb Roast Dinner With All The Trimmings is her favourite.”

“How cute,” says my opponent, ready to land the killer blow. “Porterhouse steak on the bone beats your Lovely Lamb Roast Dinner, trimmings or not. I make that 3-0.”

“When did this conversation turn into a game?” I ask.

“Nice try,” says my opponent. “This game started long before this conversation did. It started as soon as you decided to become one of us.”

“One of who,” I ask.

“A parent,” explains my opponent. “Now that you’re one of us, like it or not, you’ve made a commitment to join a never-ending game of Top Trumps. The next edition is Toddler Top Trumps where we compare hand-eye co-ordination and number of toys. It eventually progresses to Teenage Top Trumps when we compare exam results and sporting achievements.”

“Fair enough,” I say, “But when we’ve finished this pointless competition would you be up for a wee game of Rhino Rampage?”

Weekly teaser

The answer to last week’s teaser was: the murder the farmer was talking about was the collective noun for a group of crows, hence the police man wasn’t that bothered.

Here’s this week’s teaser: While travelling up the Amazon, an explorer noticed an ostrich egg floating downstream. Where would it have come from?