Friday, 16 March 2018

Brändi Dog

In 2010, my then boyfriend (now husband) Curtis and I had an amazing opportunity to go to Fiesch, Switzerland for a two week Hard of Hearing Summercamp. We arrived at the Jugehorig (the Swiss member for the International Federation for Hard of Hearing Young People) Summercamp as strangers, and left the camp with 40 plus new friends. 

The whole group on top of Mt. Eggishorn at Sunrise
It was such a great experience that I'd recommend it to any hard of hearing person interested in it! Whether it's your first time meeting others who have a hearing loss, or simply reconnecting with old friends, the summercamp brings people from all over the world to hike, play games, and learn about each others' cultures.

Many nights, Curtis would be found playing this popular board game called Brändi Dog (or Dog as we call it). I was often fast asleep by 9pm in my dorm after a very long day! I actually didn't get a chance to play the game until 2015, when two of our friends from Switzerland came to stay with us for a week and brought the game for us at Curtis' request.  (Thank you a million times over Laura and Claudio!)

The premise of the game looks similar to another game popular in North America, Sorry! The only difference is that you're using a set of cards to determine how many moves you can make, changing spots, and in order to finish the game you have to have an exact number to fit into the finish circles. Plus, when you finish your 'game' you can help your partner complete their round before the other two players can finish! That sounds confusing, and it's probably better to play than to explain it. Visually, it reminds me of two dogs chasing after each other! Fun fact: the game even has Canadian roots. Laura was kind enough to share this tidbit with me, that its original name is Tock (or Tuck in some English areas of Quebec). The link takes you to Wikipedia for a full overview.

The original game (they have expansion packs!)
Dog is a game manufactured by Stiftung Brändi, a Swiss organization which employs handicapped people and trains them to manufacture high quality products. How amazing is that they are creating meaningful employment? There is an expansion pack, but it will cost a pretty penny to have it shipped over here as it's not even available on Amazon. 

One of the things that I like about this game is that you can't talk to each other, except for glances which can lead to lots of laughter and snorts. (read: LOTS of snorts) For hard of hearing people, games like this can be really nice as it puts everyone on an equal playing field.

To date, I've contacted Stiftung Brändi to ask them if they would be interested to extend the game to North America. They indicated that they have no plans to do so. The next time you know someone who is going to Switzerland, tell them to find this game for you! Or better yet, if my friends from Switzerland are coming out this way anytime, I'd love to get the expansion pack!

Mom note: keep the small little marbles away from the little ones! Our daughters thought they were toys! Play the games Sorry! or Trouble! before teaching them how to play Brändi Dog :)

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