Eve's Quest

Jessica has a fun post about a classic board game for girls which offered its players six career choices—teacher, actress, nurse, model, ballet dancer, or airline hostess—and determined their ability to be a "career girl" by measuring things like "not being 'overweight,' being good at 'hairstyling,' and not wearing makeup that is 'too sloppy'." Ahh, the charm of vintage sexism.

Anyway, it put me in mind of a review I've been meaning to do for ages now, of a board game called Eve's Quest. Its makers generously sent me a free copy so I could play it and see what I thought—and I absolutely loved it. Mr. Shakes, who played it with me (a bit reluctantly, I think it's fair to say), loved it, too. The first afternoon we opened it, we just sat and played game after game after game—and even though it's not really designed for just two people, we made it work with no problems.

Stylistically, it's a cross between Trivial Pursuit and Cranium, as the game incorporates trivia, charades, singing, drawing, and intuition challenges, all of which cover a variety of topics, inclusive of all kinds of women, including women of different races, religious persuasions, and political leanings. One of the things that made the game most fun for Mr. Shakes and me was that it sparked all kinds of interesting conversations, often about some factoid that neither of us knew previously. Here are a few sample questions from four cards I pulled:

— What was the subject of most of the paintings of Frida Kahlo, one of Mexico's greatest female artists? (Herself)

— Dare I Draw Margaret Thatcher

— Who was the first woman to compete in the Indy 500 in 1977 and one of the first women inducted to the Women's Sports Hall of Fame? A) Serena Williams B) Janet Guthrie C) Sylvie Frechette

— What female singer has sold the most records in the history of modern music? (Celine Dion)

— Dare I Sing These Boots are Made for Walking

— What is the abortion rate in Chile, where both contraception and abortion are banned? A) 30% B) 40% C) 50%

— True or False: Most women who develop breast cancer have no strong family history of the disease. (True)

Occasionally, the cards will provide some additional information with the answer. For instance, the answer to the question "After Shirley Chisholm was elected in 1968 as the first African-American woman in Congress, how many other African-American women had served in Congress as of 2004? A) 22 B) 42 C) 82" read not just "A," but "A) 22, all Democrats."

That brief list may not sufficiently imply the breadth of topics Eve's Quest actually covers. Authors, artists, philosophers, archeologists, astronomers, politicians, designers, scientists, teachers, are all, however, in attendance, and then some. Suffice it to say, there's no question that there are more than six options for girls—and that there have been women throughout history carving out spaces for themselves in places where none had been offered.

The game is recommended for players age 14 and up. If there's a teen girl in your life for whom you'll be looking for a birthday present this year, I couldn't think of a better gift than Eve's Quest. I'd also recommend it to dads with teen boys as a gift for Mom on, say, Mother's Day. Giving the gift of Eve's Quest and the promise of a block of uninterrupted time to have some fun celebrating women is a gift I bet Mom wouldn't expect, but would probably be very happy to receive.

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