1. Botticelli

Equipment: Cigarette papers or Post Its or paper with sticky tape. Pens.

Boticelli is named after an Italian Renaissance painter born in 1446 and most famous for his work ‘The birth of Venus’. He is rather an arcane figure after whom to name this game as if you chose him you might find even the oldest and most educated members of the family would would struggle to succeed. Remember: don’t play to win, play to have fun. Nevertheless this is what the game is called and how I know it. It is also known as the Rizla game as cigarette papers are a convenient prop for playing. Post it notes or paper and sticky tape can do just as well.

The rules are simple. Each player thinks of a name. This can be a famous person, either historical e.g. Margaret Thatcher, current e.g. The Queen, family e.g. one of the players names, or fictional, e.g. Harry Potter. It could even be non human, e.g. Laa Laa or an animal e.g. Paddington, or an imaginary being e.g. God. Although I guess many people will disagree God is imaginary so Santa might be a better example, or the tooth fairy. Actually thinking about it I see I am getting in hot water here as of course all the aforementioned beings are possibly real. Anyway the only rule is, you have to choose someone who Everyone knows. So Botticelli is unlikely to be a possibility, unless you have extraordinarily precocious children.

The name of the character you choose becomes the name, and character of one of the other players. Everyone should choose for someone else, so if Dad chooses someone or something for Mum, Mum chooses for Son, Son chooses for Daughter etc. One by one the players write their chosen names on the rizla, post-it or paper and stick it to the forehead of the target player without the target player seeing the name. This results in everyone squinting at each others’ foreheads to ascertain who everyone else might be. So Mum might be Madonna, chosen and written by Dad, Dad might be Santa, chosen by Son, Son might be Mum chosen by daughter etc. Try and write large letters to make it legible. Younger ones may need a hand to write their chosen character’s names.

Once everyone has a name stuck on their forehead the aim is try and work out who you are. Each player in turn has to ask questions, in order to narrow down who they might be. It is best to start with very general questions such as ‘Am I human?’, ‘am I alive?’ ‘am I fictional?’, ‘am I male?’ etc. If the answer to the question is ‘Yes’ the player is allowed another go. If the answer is ‘No’, move on to the next player. It is best to start your go with a quick recap of the Yes answers- ‘so I’m alive, male and I’m not human?’ as this will help you recall all the information you have learned. It gets more difficult to narrow down why the person is famous once you have ascertained the basic categories. Narrowing down the location or nationality of live characters may help. Younger children should be given more obvious names e.g. Granny, their favourite pet or toy.

Also, younger players can be given clues, and if necessary, help with formulating questions. The winner is the first person to guess their identity. When making a guess the player states ‘Am I …Igglepiggle?’ (or whoever they guess). If the answer is ‘No’, play moves on and they are able to guess again in the next round. This game can be continued until all parties have worked out or been told their identities if everyone is having fun.