FunEmployed

Help Wanted.

PRACTICE:

  • clauses of purpose
  • linking and organising ideas
  • negative inversion for emphasis
  • cleft sentences
  • UPDATED: gerunds and infinitives

WHO IS IT FOR?

  • Higher levels (CEFR C1-C2)
  • Ages 15+

THE RUNTHROUGH:

Funemployed sells itself as a satirical party game.  It is not wrong. It’s a lot of fun both in the classroom and over a few drinks with some less prudish friends.  Players need to be able to both think on their feet and spin a good yarn.  In short, this is a game for bullsh*tters.  With the right group, FunEmployed is absolutely splendid.

The game consists of 2 decks of cards.  One deck, the Help Wanted deck, contains various jobs and occupations.  Be warned however, you are just as likely to find Dominatrix  and Proctologist among them as you are to find more mundane vocations. I strongly recommend thoroughly vetting the cards you want to use with your group or you might find yourself with some awkward explaining to do.  This also holds for the second deck, which comprises some nouns and verbs, many of which can be interpreted in numerous ways.  Don’t expect to find an assortment of degrees and work experience, however.  That’s not what FunEmployed is about.  FunEmployed demands a lot of creativity and thinking outside the box.  How else are you going to get that job as a Competitive Eater with nothing but a Fancy Hat, a French Accent and Night Vision Goggles?  Therein lies the game.

Source: https://boardgamegeek.com/image/2311804/funemployed (IronWall/Urban Island Games
Source: https://boardgamegeek.com/image/2311804/funemployed (IronWall/Urban Island Games

For classroom use, I have taken a few liberties with the official rules on this one, for no other reason than to reduce the down-time and the overall load on learners.  Having selected which cards you want to use, separate the class into groups of 4.  You can use larger groups than this, but I’ve found the pace starts to suffer when you have more than 3 people interviewing for a position.  Players will take it in turns to be The Employer, drawing a card from the Help Wanted deck.  All other players then draw 6 cards, of which they will have to choose 3 that can qualify them as the best candidate.  One by one, they will do their best to sell their skills and abilities in order to be the one who gets hired.  At the end of the game, the player who got hired the most times wins!  It’s that simple.

BEAR IN MIND:

  • You might need to double check some of the cards on Urban Dictionary before deciding to use them.  I thought Magic Wand was perfectly innocent until one of my more worldly students (an ex-sex therapist – really!) told me otherwise.  I’m blushing just writing this …
  • Even with careful vetting, there is a lot of vocab to cover.  Bear this in mind when using it, because even if you plan on pre-teaching some language then a) there’s a LOT of it, and b) it kind of spoils the surprise when the cards come up.
  • This game works in a very similar way to Snake Oil, which can be both a good and a bad thing.  If the class find it difficult to learn rules, then having some familiarity will help them.  On the other hand, if your class craves variety, then FunEmployed may disappoint.  That said, I frequently use both and feel that it’s perfectly justified, because they practice completely different language.

SUMMARY:

I’ve used FunEmployed successfully in a lot of different contexts. It works really well with Cambridge: Advanced and IELTS students as they get to use lots of language for organising ideas, which is helpful in essay writing.  Likewise, you can use it with an emphasis on negative inversion or cleft sentences, although if students have covered both structures, then they’ll get a bit more out of it.

It would seem that younger students enjoy it more than older students, although there are a bunch of exceptions to this.  It does have a whiff of “Uni Student Drinking Game” about it; while I don’t mean that in a bad way at all, it can put off more mature learners.

All told, FunEmployed works really niceley.  That said, compared to the many other games I use, this one causes me the most uncertainty when I pick it up to take to class.  Should I?  Will they ‘get’ it?  Mostly they do.  Mostly.

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