Hone Your Visual Sensuality and Eloquence with the Game of Kakiemon

Photo by Coolmitch

[This game takes its name from the 17th-century Japanese potter who,   inspired one evening by persimmons hanging from the tree and bathed in the glow of the setting sun, spent years obsessed with reproducing that exact shade of orange in porcelain. When he finally succeeded, he changed his name to Kakiemon (loosely translated as "Persimmon-guy").]

Assembling the game apparatus: At the hardware or paint store, pick up a collection of paint chips. How many and in what colors is up to you. The more shades you choose and the more subtle the distinctions between them, the more challenging the game. Get two identical copies of each.

Clip out the color part(s) of each chip. In particular, be sure to cut off and discard the name of each shade (although you may optionally make a note of it for later). To keep track of all these colored rectangles, you write codes on the back of each. Two copies of each shade: one copy gets an even code number on the back; the second copy gets a random unrelated odd code number. Each code number should be unique, so you can use them to identify the color. Make a list which shows the even code numbers in sequence and the corresponding odd code number for the same shade for each.

How to play:
You need three players. On each turn, one player is sender, one is receiver, and one is checker. Separate the cards into a pile with even code numbers and a pile with odd code numbers (thus each pile will have one copy of each color). The sender and receiver face opposite directions so they cannot see each other. The sender gets the pile with even code numbers, the receiver gets the pile with odd code numbers, and the checker gets the list of what matches with what.

Set a timer for a fixed interval, say 3 minutes. During this time, the sender draws cards at random from the even-numbered pile and shows it to the checker, who looks up the even code number on the list (and thus the corresponding odd number, but don't tell what it is). For each card, it is the sender's task to describe the color verbally so that the receiver can locate the same color. The sender can specify the color by name (if remembered, but there's no guarantee that the receiver will also remember), or use any kind of description (the color of persimmons in the glow of the setting sun; the watery green of a pane of glass seen edge-on, etc.). The receiver gets one guess as to which color is being described, but can ask for more information or even specific questions. The checker's only job is to verify using the code numbers whether the receiver has selected correctly. For each correct identification during the fixed time interval, both sender and receiver get one point.

At the end of the time interval, roles rotate: the sender becomes the receiver, the receiver becomes the checker, and the checker becomes the sender. After three turns, reverse the sender and receiver and continue by rotating for the next three turns. This way each sender gets to work with each receiver.

In other words if the first turn has Sender=A, Receiver=B, Checker=C:

Then the second turn has Sender=C, Receiver=A, Checker=B;

The third turn has Sender=B, Receiver=C, Checker=A;

The fourth turn has Sender=C, Receiver=B, Checker=A;

The fifth turn has Sender=A, Receiver=C, Checker=B;

The sixth turn has Sender=B, Receiver=A, Checker=C; This completes one round.

And then the seventh turn repeats with Sender=A, Receiver=B, Checker=C, etc.

Continue rounds until you can stand it no longer, and total up the points for each player.

So who will be good at this game? I expect that, like most things, skill will improve with practice. Some people just pay more attention to colors than others. The (Anglophone) world is divided into to groups: people who know what "taupe" is and people who don't. My hypothesis is that people in the worlds of fashion (or even those who work the cosmetics counter of a department store) would have an advantage at this game.

Difficulty can be adjusted easily. For very small children

This game is not unlike the face-matching game that I described earlier.

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