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Mismo! A clever, original new board game for homesick Pinoys

MISMO!You can't help but laugh at the unexpected outcomes of combining pop culture artifacts.
It seemed simple enough, but I was uncertain about its ability to keep me entertained for more than a few minutes. After a couple of rounds, however, my family and friends were unanimous: Mismo! must be one of the most original and amusing Filipino board games ever. The object of the game is to win three rounds, each one marked by a Mis, Mo and ! chip. Each player receives 10 answer cards, each of which contains a word from Filipino popular culture. Two roulettes, loaded with adjectives, are spun. The adjectives are formed into a question - Ano ang kadiri-to-death na mayabang? – and players attempt to respond with their cards. Hilarity ensues over the incongruous, often absurd answers. Fellow players vote on their favorite answers with Boto Ko! chips, enticing one to be as creative as possible. Our version of the game encouraged players to justify their answers, where the most interesting rationalizations take place. Who knew that the adjective makulay can be interpreted in so many different ways? The game, which came out only in June 2009, is habitual: you will want to play it over and over just for the different responses that can come up. It would seem rather pricey at Php 1,975, but perhaps a barkada is meant to split the cost, as they are intended to share in the fun. I can imagine seamen crossing the Atlantic can make time fly by playing this game, while befuddled sailors from other countries scratch their heads at a game that certainly cannot be played by other nationalities. Mismo! is unashamedly parochial, and not meant to be shared with other races or cultures. Mismo! basically reflects the Filipino personality: light-hearted humor, loose structure, and community-based fun. Our group laughed at anything and everything, as each player’s imagination ran amok. Delighting in the company of others is embedded in the game, setting four players as the minimum.
The name Mismo! can be a play on the phrase miss mo! – consistent with the nature from which the game arose. Most Filipinos living in other countries have a weakness for anything that will simulate their being back home, a penchant I know too well as a former overseas resident. The game allows the rediscovery of quirky and common things Filipino: from Paeng Nepomuceno to Ike Lozada, from tong-its to tuba. As the game's Facebook fan page says: Mismo! is "Malalim na Mababaw. Malabo na Malinaw." The creators of the game admit that Mismo! is “the kind of project that you come up with when you so badly miss the Philippines," but it goes beyond merely keeping an OFW afloat in a syrup of homesickness. More than entertainment, the game enables its participants to bridge the gap between generations, educating the young and the not-so young alike with one another’s way of life. The game exposes the younger ones to their parents’ YC Bikini Briefs, and parents to their children’s Friendster. Mismo!, then, can be interpreted as both miss mo! (things you miss most about the Philippines), and na-mimiss mo! (things you have been missing out on). The developers of the game, all working overseas, had the right idea. As a game “for Filipinos by Filipinos," they not only created a game that we can all finally relate to, but they have also showcased aspects about ourselves that we have grown to devalue. Philippine popular culture is no longer baduy or insignificant, but the opposite -- worth knowing, if only to earn bragging rights for winning at this game. In effect, Mismo! makes us proud of being Filipino, of possessing a popular culture that is infused with so much humor and fun. GMANews.TV