“You were caught picking a booger (and eating it!!!) at the local mall. Go back one space.”

It’s just before Christmas and I’m playing a new-to-me board game, Scabs and Guts, described by its manufacturer thusly:

“. . . a totally new and exciting ‘meducational’ board game
that’s packed with interesting and occasionally disgusting medical facts
about how your body works.”

Now, I’d like to take the position that medical facts about how my body works can’t be disgusting, but I’m too busy picking my avatar. As Ms Lilly Liver, I am immediately drawn into tackling questions in three charmingly illustrated categories:

  • Blood and Guts
  • Scrapes and Scabs
  • Blubber or Buff

I puzzle over true-or-false questions that are, somehow, trickier than they look:

  • You can have dandruff in your eyebrows: True or False?
  • Your hair grows faster than your fingernails: True or False?
  • Half of what your vacuum sucks up is dead skin cells: True or False?

I take my best shot at multiple-guess questions:

  • How fast does snot move while exiting the head?
  • How many nerve sensors are up your nose? (Hint: Think in the billions.)
  • How many miles of blood vessels are in your body? (Hint for Canadians: Don’t forget to convert from the kilometre figure that you usually cite.)
  • How many colours does puke come in?

OK, I made up that last one, but I wouldn’t bet against it being represented somewhere in the five-inch stack of question cards. It is, after all, totally consistent with the slogan on the box:

“Learning has never been such yucky fun!”

And as I play I do learn things:

  • Thinking about food will make me a better spitter.
  • Phlebotomy means sucking blood out with leeches.
  • People have used urine as a mouthwash. (Which people?! Yuck!)

But it’s not all cerebral. This is a game that stretches my kinesthetic quotient, too, offering me the opportunity to act out various likely scenarios:

  • The way I’d walk after eating 23 cheeseburgers
  • How I’d look as a victim of food poisoning
  • The face I’d make if I used urine as a mouthwash

Yuck. Yuck! YUCK!

But I can’t afford to get distracted by the grossness. No, I must stay focused enough to evaluate tactics:

  • When I get a numerically based multiple-guess question, should I go with the middle number or the completely improbable high number?
  • When I land on the “Select a category” space, should I choose the category offering the most points on this card or my best category based on game performance to date? (Hint: Don’t pick Blood and Guts. Ever.).

But even the best tactics can’t counteract the effect of the wild cards.

“You were caught picking a booger (and eating it!!!) at the local mall. Go back one space.”

Eyes crinkling, the Big Guy finishes reading the card for my turn. But his amusement is a candle to the sun of our Edmonton grandson’s hilarity. As I howl in mock outrage (One must, after all, play the game), kiddo almost falls off his chair.

“Now you see why I love this game so much!”

Well, sort of. I can certainly see that this game is part of a genre targeted to a precise demographic. Amazon reports that those who bought Scabs and Guts also bought these games:

  • Doctor Dreadful’s Stomach Churner
  • Doctor Dreadful’s Alien Slime Drink
  • Totally Gross: The Game of Science

Womanfully putting all distractions aside — snot, urine, and pus, oh my — I battle it out tooth and nail to the finish line. A veteran of playing games with the pre-teen crowd, I know better than to give any quarter. I call out answers where I actually, you know, know the answer, and make as informed a guess as I can for the rest.

Yes, I scratch out every space I can get, using whatever advantage I have, and without apology. After all, I never know when I’ll lose a space because I got caught eating a booger at the mall.


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4 Responses to Gross!

  1. John Whitman says:

    Don’t leave me in suspense! Can you or can you not have dandruff in your eyebrows? If so, does it originate there or just fall down from your scalp and get caught in your eyebrows, such being the purpose of your eyebrows in the first place.
    Since I don’t have dandruff in my scalp or in my eyebrows for whatever the reason, I am at a loss to solve this conundrum.
    John W

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      John – I, of course, can have nothing so unladylike or unsenatorial on my scalp or in my eyebrows, but according to Scabs and Guts, unspecified humans can, indeed, have dandruffy eyebrows. Who knew?

  2. Jim Taylor says:

    Dandruff, hell! I can grow dandruff in places I bet the game didn’t mention. What interests me more is the exit speed for snot. Are they talking about a conventional nose-blow, where a tissue intercepts the snot before it does damage? Or the kind of sneeze I once delivered that cleared a Northern Ireland pub — the other patrons apparently thought the IRA had detonated a bomb? And surely the consistency of the snot has an effect on its velocity? Are there viscosity indexes for snot?
    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim T – I’ll let the dandruff remark pass, as I’m a lady I am, just like Eliza. You’re right re the speed of snot – it was in the context of a sneeze. I expect there is an SVI (snot viscosity index), used primarily by the cogsnotenti . . .

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