Writing Practice 1/30/2019

Hippos

Hippos is a new playground game that is sweeping the nation. Somewhat like freeze tag, somewhat like blob tag, the idea of Hippos is to have one person who is “it”. This is a baby hippo, and when she runs around to catch someone else, they now join arms and become a teenage hippo. These two go around again, and once one of them tags a third, they’re an adult hippo. And they’re ready for more. The difference here is that once this group of three tags another child playing the game, that one does not join the Hippo. They become the new “baby” hippo and they can go around making new “young adult” and “mature” hippos.

The object of the game is to get everyone into a hippo group – to make everyone mature hippos. This way, the society will survive better. Because, the strange thing is, when you get down to just one or two people left who are not part of an adult hippo, they can become hunters. if they tag a pair of juveniles, then those juveniles will split apart again. They now are no longer hippos, but hunters. They then can search out other adults, split them up, and then soon all the adult hippos are gone. Eventually there is only one adult hippo. When that group is tagged by the hunters, the round is over. If they manage to last until the end of the game (to the end of recess, say, or to the end of daylight), then the next day they can play Hippos again, and all start over with a new population. If they do not, if the hunters end up killing all of the hippos, then they have nothing to do, and so they must all lay down on the ground, like they, too, died, so that they can experience the destitution which comes from overhunting.

It’s terribly fun for them and it produces an incredible response. The children quickly learn things like how to control the hippo population so it does not grow too quickly, too fast; how to manage the subsequent hunting actions, so that they do not drop levels below sustainability.

There are other layers that could be added in, such as resources, etc. These could be “reeds” that stand in the “river” that the hippos will eat. And, maybe, if the hippos, after they become an adult, have to “eat” a reed before they can go make another baby hippo. This could incite towards learning about resource management on top of population management.

I wonder if these should be an additional level add in, maybe some kinds of natural disasters (maybe the teacher / guide blows a whistle randomly and the hippos lose half their population or something, but the hunters don’t go away, not get offer fast {huh?} or maybe there is always a hunter, always waiting to see if they can keep the hippo population from growing too large. Maybe there’s a point for this. Or, maybe, kids can just play a game for fun, and have that be the reason, that they’re playing. I like that. I think I’ll stick with that one.

It’s just a game. Just for fun. But it would be fund to watch, amirite?

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