We are happy to introduce a new series of articles that will highlight games and recreational activities that stimulate the mind. They are a fun way of learning about asteroids in your free time. Simple or elaborate, these games can be a great addition to family gatherings or informal events with colleagues and friends.
Hangman game: asteroid version
The hangman game was already mentioned in 19th-century English books about games but it may have appeared two centuries earlier. In this version, instead of preventing someone from hanging, the player’s objective is to prevent a rocket from destruction by asteroids or meteoroids.
This game will help to explain that outer space is full of small and large space rocks, meteoroids and asteroids. They travel at a speed greater than a gun bullet and can damage probes, telescopes, and space stations and even injure astronauts during extravehicular activities. Space rocks can be dangerous but they also allow us to learn about the origins of the solar system and are a valuable space resource. The asteroid hangman game is a good way to introduce the names of some asteroids or probes that aimed to explore them.
Choose the name of an asteroid or mission that players need to guess. This lesson on how asteroids are named and the event tips on building paper models of the probes that explored asteroids will give you some ideas.
Draw the lines corresponding to the number of letters of the asteroid or mission you have chosen on a board or sheet of paper. Then draw a rocket with parts that represent the stages and correspond to the number of chances the wrong letters the players can say before losing. The rocket should have a triangle on the tip that represents the nose cone of the payload and will be reserved for the player’s last chance.
Let’s make a simulation where players try to guess the word DART, the probe that impacted the asteroid Dimorphos. You should draw as many dashes as there are letters in the word, 4 in this example.:
Next, you should establish how many times players can guess wrong before getting the word right. Let’s consider that the player has 6 chances to miss. So, you make a rocket with 6 parts, including the nose cone at one end and the fins at the opposite end to make the rocket look more realistic:
As soon as the game starts, suppose one of the players mentioned the letter E. It is not part of the word DART, so you should put this letter in the part of the rocket near the fins.
Another player says the letter A. This letter belongs to the word DART, so you should mark it in the line corresponding to its position in the word. The game continues until the word is found or the rocket is completely destroyed by the wrong letters representing asteroids and meteoroids.
Organise a small meeting or tournament among your friends or students. Register your activity on our webpage and let us know if the game rounds were exciting by reporting back.