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Wendy Hampton shows off the game she and her daughter, Taylor, invented near her home in Lawrenceville, Georgia, Tuesday August 21, 2012. "Befudiom" has since led to an appearance on the "Everyday Einsteins" reality TV show, and the shelves of Toys R Us. (Phil Skinner/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/MCT)
By Jon Waterhouse
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
ATLANTA — Ten-year-old Taylor Hampton of Lawrenceville, Ga., was stuck in a rut of boredom.
In an effort to pull herself out of the sludge, she and her mom, Wendy, joined forces in some mother-daughter bonding. This exercise in playtime found the Hamptons huddled together on the floor creating their very own board game.
Moving across the playing field of life 10 years later, that same game, now known as Befudiom, can be found at Toys “R” Us. It centers around idioms, those nonsensical phrases such as “kick the bucket” that bypass literal meaning with a definition all of their own. Teams act out goofy movements, blare clues at the top of their lungs, do their best impromptu artwork and spell out hints to guess specific idioms. In short, the idea is to have a ball.
Yep, that’s an idiom, too.
Wendy Hampton’s idea has become shrink-wrapped, complete with colorful box art and playing accessories. This means Hampton, a single mom and credit analyst for a commercial refrigeration company in Suwanee, Ga., has yet another line on her résumé. She’s an inventor.
Yet, it all happened by chance back in 2002. The young Taylor Hampton was looking for a project she and her mom could dive into together. She saw some instructions online on how to make a board game, and the pair began mulling ideas. They were heading in one direction when Wendy happened to use an idiom in conversation.
“Taylor looked at me and said, ‘Mom, what did you say?’” Wendy recalled. “And I thought, ‘That’s it.’” So Wendy Hampton set out to create an idiom-themed guessing game.
After burning plenty of midnight oil she culled together 3,000 idioms and their respective clues. The Hamptons created game cards, and they shared their project with family and friends.
“We felt like we were really on to something, because everybody was having so much fun when we would get together for family functions and play the game,” Wendy said.
While driving to work one day three years later, Wendy heard about an open casting call for season one of “Everyday Edisons.” This reality show distributed by American Public Television follows an inventor’s specific idea from concept to completion. So the Hamptons rolled the dice, and made their way to the audition.
Taking the shot paid off, and the Hamptons were chosen. According to Louis Foreman, executive producer of “Everyday Edisons,” the game’s easily understood concept and unique use of idioms made it appealing.
“I think it was a really heartfelt story to begin with,” Foreman said. “She wasn’t thinking how she could get rich quick. She invented the game so she could spend time with her daughter.”
“Everyday Edisons” not only helped the Hamptons take the game to the next physical level, but amped up the game play itself. By adding a pair of dice, a timer and a writing pad, Befudiom became a more interactive experience.
The object of the game is to have your team guess as many idioms as possible. Each turn gives the team a certain idiom. A representative of that team secretly reads the game card and then has to use clues in order for his or her teammates to figure out the respective idiom.
A special die is rolled that features a different image on each side, which denotes a specific challenge. Each Befudiom challenge riffs on old-school party games. Verbal clues, charades, a Hangman-type game and a Pictionary-style drawing challenge all come together.
The team that racks up the most points by scoring correct challenges wins the game.
Once all elements of Befudiom were in place, the Hamptons’ idea became a manufactured game they could hold in their hands.
“I couldn’t believe that we had actually done it,” Wendy said. “It had all seemed so surreal at first.”
Then came the task of getting Befudiom out to the masses. “Everyday Edisons” put the games in MaggieMoo’s Ice Cream and Treatery locations throughout the country. Not only would customers have the opportunity to purchase the game, they could play a round while noshing on dessert.
Befudiom, however, became frozen in its tracks. Although it failed to catch on, the “Everyday Edisons” team kept trudging forward way past the Hamptons’ appearance on season one, looking for the right distribution.
Perseverance won, and a deal was signed earlier this month with Texas-based Goliath Games. Now Befudiom can be found exclusively at the big kahuna of toy retailers, Toys “R” Us for $19.99.
Goliath founder David Norman said he feels Befudiom has the potential to be a blockbuster. The big hint came when he found teenagers in his neighborhood calling his house requesting a Befudiom game night.
“I’ve got to tell you in my 15 years of doing this there’s never been a situation when a neighborhood kid has called me wanting to play a game.” Now more and more kids and adults will have the chance to experience something the Hamptons first created on a whim all those years ago. And to think it all started with a mother and a daughter playing on the living room floor.
“It feels great,” Taylor said. “The last thing on your mind is that thousands and thousands of people are going to be enjoying what you created. And that’s a very amazing feeling.”
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