From the game-inventor's perspective, one of the main reasons you try to get reviews and other media exposure is to get delicious quotes that you can put on the product's packaging or in advertisements. For example:
"The feel-good board-game of the summer. It's
-- the 60-second game review
However, over the years, MooT has not had much luck in this area. Even though people usually like -- even love -- the game, I have yet to get that perfect plug. Instead, up to now I've been forced to resort to subterfuge: making up my own quotes and putting them in the mouths of deceased celebrities; for example:
I laughed out loud! -- Samuel Johnson
MooT's a hoot!-- Duns Scotus
Of course, I'm sure that everyone who reads these phony plugs immediately gets the joke, so it's not like I'm misleading them, right? Still this situation is a bit unsatisfying, perhaps even unethical.
But what am I to do? By last count, MooT has had about 40 pieces done on it in the media and so far, blurb-wise, I've come up with nothing. For example, in Canada I've been on radio and TV about 10 times, and, in addition, the game has been written up in local and national newspapers another 20 or so times. Yet, even though almost all of the people who have interviewed me have told me how much they love the game, not one of them has managed to publicly emit a perfect, blurbable quote.
Let's play spot the blurb
What follows are some examples of the reviews MooT has gotten -- see if you can find something that I could use in an advertisement.
From Word Ways -- The Journal of Recreational Linguistics
This is a small-circulation magazine that I made a point of contacting. I figured that because this journal (i) is from the US and (ii) has a highfalutin name, a juicy quote from it would give the impression that MooT was being endorsed by some sort of Academic Association. Not a chance: here's the part of their review that had the greatest blurb potential:
"Pop grammarians such as William Safire ... inveigh against misuses of the English Language. But for Joe Citizen, reading a book on the do's and don'ts of grammar is about as exciting as kissing his sister or cleaning the garage. Can grammar be made fun, or at least more palatable? ... [Blair Arts] has answered this by inventing and marketing the game of MooT, a painless way to learn about the meanings and usages of words, not by solitary dictionary lookup, but by discussion among peers..... Colloquy forms the soul of the game: it forces one to refine one's ill-formulated ideas in the face of overlooked evidence."
Best Possible Blurb:
"Colloquy forms the soul of the game!"
"Painless way to learn usage!!"
"Forces one to refine one's ill-formulated ideas!!!"
[Whoa! Gotta get me one of them MooT games!]
Exhibit B: From The Globe and Mail (at the time, Canada's and Toronto's national newspaper)
The Globe's BC reporter did a good-sized piece that appeared in the paper's Arts section under the clever banner: "Word Play when the point is MooT." Here's the juiciest part of it:
"There's a new board game that is taking Vancouver, if not by storm, at least by refreshing breeze.... MooT has elements in common with a couple of other Canadian-born games, Trivial Pursuit and Balderdash. But unlike Trivial Pursuit, it is exclusively concerned with language, and unlike Balderdash, its interest is in everyday words, not the obscure or specialized outreaches of the language."
Best Possible Blurb:
[Extry, Extry, read all about it!]
"Board game takes Vancouver by refreshing breeze!"
"Has elements in common with other Canadian-born games!!"
[For example, it's from Canada.]
Exhibit C: From the Georgia Straight
The Straight is Vancouver's weekly "alternative" magazine; recently, it has followed Rolling Stone magazine's route and become an advertising sponge. The article they wrote about MooT was about 1500-words long and had a big picture of me standing under a rain storm of MooT cards. You'd think I'd be able to grab something out of this chunk of copy. Check this out:
"MooT makes fools of mortals who like to think of themselves as magisterial masters of the English language. Writers, of all people, are especially lackluster at MooT. (In a brief try-out, one Georgia Straight music columnist verged on the pathetic.) Unassuming friends and next-door neighbors, on the other hand, often turn out to be wizards. Playing the game is an exercise in humility. The most unlikely people emerge triumphant."
Best possible blurb:
"MooT makes fools of mortals!"
"Writers are especially lackluster at MooT!!"
[But they're better than roofers.]
"Playing the game is an exercise in humility!"
[Having problems with excessively high self-esteem? Play MooT.]
Exhibit D: The Vancouver Sun
The Sun, at the time Vancouver's major afternoon paper, used to do an annual Christmas piece that rated the new board games. In the early 1990s, when MooT was young, it was reviewed along with several other rookie games. Before we examine the treatment MooT received, let's see how the competition did:
Monty's Maze -- "This action game melds Indiana Jones with Park Place, and the daring of Snakes and Ladders with the gathering strategies of Monopoly."
The Simpsons: Mystery of Life --"Basically, Monopoly with Homer and clan filling in the spaces vacated by Boardwalk and Pennsylvania Avenue...."
Zoundz-like: "Allows players 30
seconds to unscramble words and pick up points."
[Don't get trampled in the rush to buy!]
Loot -- "A cross between Rummy and Old Maid."
Trash -- "Aptly named, indeed."
Though they rated MooT the best game (ta-da! -- it tied with Monty's Maze), try to tell that from the write-up they gave it:
"Involving Trivial Pursuit-type questions and calculated on a cribbage board, this local product proved a fave. A little knowledge is necessary, although for most of the questions common sense will suffice. Also, the real stumpers are generally of the either/or variety, which gives players a 50% chance of scoring. Best of all, MooT can be played either in teams or one-on-one, and the open-ended nature of the rules allows permutations of play that depend only on the aptitude of the players."
Best possible blurb:
"Best of all, MooT can be played either in teams or one-on-one!"
"Common sense will suffice!!"
In conclusion, if you -- the reader of this web page and, perhaps, potential MooT purchaser -- are (i) wondering if the game is worth buying and (ii) were hoping to find some third-party confirmation -- e.g., Consumer Reports, Roger Ebert, the Nobel Committee -- I am afraid I have nothing to offer you.
However, as soon as I do get a decent blurb, I will make a point of sending it to you. All you have to do is make sure you type in your e-mail address just above the place where you type in your credit-card number in the on-line order form.