If you’re looking for a fun new game for family night, try ours! We’ve gotten loads of laughs and bonding from a raucous romp we call ‘How is Mom Poisoning Us NOW?’
It’s akin in many ways to the classic Clue – with some timely twists and uproarious updates.
The two games share the same element of intrigue – and showcase your whiz-kids’ superior sleuthing skills and finnicky dispositions.
The variation is that the villain is known from the start – and doesn’t change. The toxic scoundrel is always, unfailingly … You guessed it – Mom!
Now, you might think that knowing the culprit in advance would spoil the mystery and amusement. Au contraire, happy families!
Just like with Clue, the possible combinations and complexities are limitless.
At our home, the game has evolved over the years, right in step with shifting preferences and dietary trends.
At first Mom tries to poison with concoctions that are simply distasteful: eggplant and artichokes, mushrooms and meatloaf. Theatrical gagging ensues, but everyone endures the disgust and loathing, so the ante is upped.
She tries to do them in with processed foods, pasta, non-organic peanut butter. Red meat doesn’t work. Salmon doesn’t produce salmonella.
And then, as with any good game worth its folding board and fake money – major plot twist! The family goes vegan! So many ways to off the offspring: Eggs, cheese, yogurt – a errant shrimp in the stir-fry. The possibilities are endless – and side-splittingly silly:
• Mom in the freezer with spiral baked ham!
• Mom in Costco with a cartful of spinach ravioli and brownie bites!
• Mom in the kitchen with a shakerful of parmesan!
There are seasonal versions as well:
• Mom in bunny ears with jellybeans!
• Mom in the chimney with Christmas cookies!
• Mom in pink with a heart-shaped Whitman’s sampler!
She’s a wily one, that Mom, and she’s figured out that the path to victory isn’t just via the proverbial stomach. So, there’s this too:
• Mom in the medicine cabinet with Zyrtec!
• Mom in the bathroom with Scrubbing Bubbles!
• Mom in the laundry room with dryer sheets!
I’m telling you, you’ve got to try it! It’s good, clean fun for all ages – a barrelful of belly laughs and dysentery.
And even though Mom is the obvious guilty party with every cast of the dice – single-handedly wielding candlestick, revolver and Fry master basket – there are eye-rolling, forehead-thumping surprises every time: ‘She just doesn’t get it!’ ‘When will she learn?’ ‘Why do we even bother?’
She uses vegetable stock from a carton – instead of seeping and sieving a broth of her own. She brings home canned tomatoes … curry sauce in a jar … coffee that’s not free trade. Prunes that aren’t organic. Chocolate that’s less than the desired 72 percent cacao.
Like the loveable idiot trope that shows up in Shakespeare and sitcoms, Mom is witless and dim – cheerfully ineffectual in both abiding the rules and breaking them with impunity. She can’t cook healthy. And she can’t take anyone out. She is bumbling, affable blend of Mrs. Peacock, Typhoid Mary and Velma Barfield.
There’s a retro element to the game, too. Mom is clearly not clued into the malignancy of mercury – because her children have long and unforgiving memories:
• Mom in the pediatrician’s office with vaccines!
• Mom in the station wagon with happy meals!
• Mom in the park with juice boxes!
Trust me, you’re going to love this new game. It’s got everything you look for in family entertainment: Conspiracy … suspense … guffaws … and gastric hilarity.
And the best part? Everyone’s a winner! Dad and the kids live – defying the odds and casseroles of condensed soup and tuna.
And, since there are no bodies to autopsy and no toxicology reports to file, Mom survives too! Because try as she might, she can’t seem to successfully snuff the ones she’s charged with nourishing and nurturing.
And so, the evening ends as do all victorious family nights:
• Mom in the tub with Chardonnay!
Lucinda Trew is an award-winning speechwriter and essayist. She lives in a suburb of Charlotte, NC, with her musician husband, son, daughter, two dogs and a cat – all of whom turn up their noses at her cooking. Correction: the black lab will eat anything, absolutely anything, and lavishes the hand that feeds her with sloppy, eternal gratitude.