October 12, 2018
Writer: Bryanna Willis

Creating a Family Game

Bringing families around the table to talk is the main inspiration for a Rexburg native to create a get-to-know-you board game.

Doug Ladle is a retired religion and communication teacher from BYU-Idaho. The idea for creating the game came after he retired.

“I did not want to lose the chance to keep teaching even though I was no longer in the classroom, and I love the idea of families talking around a kitchen table,” Ladle said. “And I thought what better way to get the around a table then to play a game?”

He said he then worked on the questions and the idea of the game board came to him at 2 a.m. one night.

“It was just all the sudden there,” Ladle said. “I could see it clearly how I wanted to have the branches and the roots of the tree and disks going up the branches and down the roots.”

They are currently on version four of the game and Ladle said they have it exactly the way they want it now.

Ladle has a second game that was developed by communication students at BYU-Idaho.

The game is called “Did You Know” and it is to be played just as a card game.

Learning About the Family

“I just love to see people talk and get to know people,” Ladle said.

There isn’t a time in daily life where a family member get to talk about how they feel about each other, or what their favorite adventure is.

Ladle said they have found that in a game people will say things they normally wouldn’t.

He shared a story of a 14-year-old granddaughter who was very shy and quiet. When it was her turn, she had the question, “What is something you would like to learn?”

“We thought she would probably say, ‘how to bake’ or ‘how to dress in a stylish way,’ but she all-of-the-sudden said, ‘I want to learn how to communicate with people better,” Ladle said. “We realized she was reaching out.”

They had a family reunion coming up and decided to have a mini-session on how to talk to people.

“She was a part of the class and she learned how to communicate… and [she] became more confident, so the game opened up a whole new world for this granddaughter,” Ladle said.

Bringing Families Closer

The game isn’t just about winning. The game is about bringing families together.

On one occasion Ladle’s daughter’s family was playing the game and one of the teenage granddaughters got the question, “If you could brag about your mother for 15 seconds what would you say?”

“And she pauses for maybe 5-15 seconds and then she began to share some tender things about her mother,” Ladle said, “and a little tear began to come down my daughter’s cheek as she heard her daughter share those things about her as a mother."