For this post’s game, I’m delving even further into the area of hobby gaming to discuss a game that is less directly applicable to speech therapy, but still a valuable resource: Get Bit from Mayday Games, designed by Dave Chalker.
Variants/Expansions: Get Bit! has two expansions. One adds a pink robot so that one additional player can play, and the Sharkspansion adds rules for an additional player to play as the shark (which is a really useful role for the speech therapist to play). It looks like there’s an upcoming French release, Croc!, that has painted faces and clothes on the robots and updated artwork.
General Overview: Get Bit! is a bluffing card game for 4-8 players in which “you don’t have to faster than the shark, you just have to be faster than your friends”. Each turn, the players play a card numbered one through seven face-down in front of them, reveal the cards at the same time, and re-order their robots based on the numbers played. The players with the lower numbers move to the front of the line, but any players who reveal the same number as any other players don’t get to move at all, ending up behind all the players who played a unique number. After re-ordering, the shark eats a limb off the player in the back of the line; if this leaves you with no limbs, you’re out of the game. Play continues until only two robots are left; at this point, the player with the most limbs left wins.
If you’re using the Sharkspansion, play is much the same except that the Shark player also plays a card indicating which limb is eaten. If the robot in the back row doesn’t have that limb, the shark “misses” and no limb is lost. If the shark misses six times, the shark loses and the player with the most limbs left at that point wins.
- Following Directions – This game is all about following the same directions multiple times. The designer describes it as a “thought optional” game – if you can follow the game’s 1-step and 2-step directions, you can play it.
- Sequencing – The game’s specific rules regarding ordering of robots makes a good repetitive sequencing task for younger students.
- Fun Theme: A speech game with a shark attacking the students? Awesome! Nature’s perfectly evolved killer is also perfectly evolved to engage young children.
- Manipulatives: Being able to move the robots around in the play space and removing limbs from the robots themselves (don’t worry; they’re very hard to break) keeps the children engaged through the whole game.
- Limited Expressive Application: This is a party game that doesn’t engage expressive skills very well, so it will need modification to be usable with many students.
- Player Elimination: I think this is the first “player elimination” game I’ve reviewed. If you’ve got a student who isn’t very good at the game (or, worse, fixated on the number seven), he or she runs the risk of watching the other students if you play directly by the rules. This tends to limit engagement and single out a student who may already be singled out too often by classmates.
- Punishment: As a game that punishes an unsuccessful player with limb loss rather than rewarding a successful player, this game can be demotivating in the wrong group.
- Therapist Participation: The Sharkspansion is an excellent way to get the therapist involved. Not only does it give the children a face to their adversary, but you can also anticipate which student might end up in the back and deliberately guess a limb they don’t have in order to facilitate a “group win” and reduce player elimination.
- Robot Regeneration: Instead of having the shark remove a limb from the player at the back, have all the robots start with no limbs and let players regrow them or put them back on as a reward for escaping the shark. This modification adds positive reinforcement to the game – instead of being punished for being in the back of the line, they’re receiving a benefit from being closer to the front of the line.
- The robots can be used as a manipulative scoring system in any activity. You can have students add pieces to the robots as they successfully complete tasks or even have students remove limbs for incorrect answers as the shark attacks them like in the game rules as written.
- The robots, faceless and nameless, can be used as “actors” in a social story. They’re nonthreatening, poseable, and students can get attached to “their” robot as they use it as a proxy for themselves or a character in a story.
- The robots can be used to add visual and kinesthetic references to a story. As various characters are introduced to a read or created story, a particular robot can be assigned to that character, and the students move and repose the robots to imitate the actions of that story’s characters.
This game is one that I was really excited to add to my collection. It’s always fun to bring in a “goofy” game, especially one that both your students and you find fun. I’ve used it as a game on its own as well as a scoring system or reinforcement tool for other games I’ve already discussed. It also fits in a pretty small box, which makes it easier to take along than leave behind.
Has anyone else had experience using this game in therapy? How useful has it been? What other uses and modifications have you used?