I have been writing the rules of the game about the power play that sometimes happens between father and son. It is my attempt to highlight the lighter side of fathering.

A Game For Any Boy Who Has Ever Had A Father

Male Order is a game of skill played between teams selected from two groups of players. The first team, called Sons, may comprise any male person. The second team is formally entitled Fathers but also referred to as "Dad" for short or "MOM" (standing for My Old Man) for confusion. It is often, but not always, selected from the older male section of society. The game is played on a four-dimensional board, called "Parenthood" (which is to be purchased separately) and involves the second team trying to get from one end of the board to the other. Progress across the board will be subject to a number of handicaps (from now on called "Expenses") suitably provided by the first team.

Play is initiated at the start by an external agency called "Mother", sometimes assisted by a range of other external agencies, such as "Midwife", "Doctor", "Nurse", "Ambulance Man", "Passer By"... etc. Sons' job is to surprise Fathers by presenting them with the most difficult and unlikely Expenses when they are least expected and on the most inconvenient occasions, something which comes quite naturally to the Sons' team. Timing is important and experienced players will wait for Fathers to have just bought a house, married off the last of "Daughters" (usually an avid "Spectator" agency), or made some other major payment. Holidays are another high scoring opportunity.

Following the signal of "Play", each team endeavours to score as many points off the other side as possible until Fathers have reached the end, Sons leave home or either Team decides to call in the Third Party Umpires by "Declaring Bankruptcy".

Points are awarded at each development of play as follows:

  • Sons get 1 point for every pound they can borrow from Fathers without returning any money which they have borrowed previously. They get a bonus of 20 points if they can persuade the external agency called "Sister" to give them the money to pay Father back, a difficult but quite rewarding play.
  • Fathers are awarded 2 points for every bit of advice that they can get Sons to accept, and a bonus of 100 points if their Son is four years or older at the time. This eventuality is of course quite exceptional.
  • Sons get 20 points for every large purchase they make using Fathers' money. Fathers may nevertheless claim 50 points if they tell Sons that the purchase is only worth half of what they paid for it. Their score is tripled if this is in fact true.
  • Fathers are credited an automatic 100 points if Sons are distracted by a particular form of the external agency, "Girlfriend". This version is often called "She's Loaded". However, Sons are usually more interested in winning the game and make sure they are ditched, which means that Father automatically loses any points gained.
  • Sons can increase their score in a number of ways:
    • 20 points if they borrow any of Fathers' clothes,
    • 40 points if Fathers don't notice, and
    • 60 points if anyone compliments them on their dress sense.
  • These unlikely point credits are matched by corresponding losses of 80 points if they are seen by their friends with these clothes on, and 100 points if they fit!
  • Fathers are awarded 150 points for every year below the age of 20 that they are able to get Sons to leave the home. Fathers are unlikely to gain any points with this move although it is a geographically affected play - for instance in Australia the average age for leaving home is 28 and increasing!
  • However, Sons usually make a bluff move at about 10 years of age, packing their bags, insisting on leaving and saying something like the words of Captain John Oates, who died with Scott of the Antarctica, "I am just going outside, and may be some time" for 200/x points, where x is the actual number of words used. Fathers are quick to spot the chance to gain a stack of points; however, this move can be guaranteed to be blocked by Mother.
  • Sons lose 10 points if they remember Fathers' birthday, and 50 points if they do anything about it. Experienced Fathers will realize that the move, when played, is only a tactical move to gain a high scoring opportunity later.
  • Fathers can make a quick 25 points by reciting quotes in general support of their team such as Charles Wadsworth's quote, "By the time a man realises that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he's wrong" or Mark Twain's quote: "When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years". However, Sons can finesse this move for 40 points by walking off at the word "father". Very experienced players will score 80 points by leaving on the word "a".
  • Sons may make a common scoring play for 10 points by leaving an expense unresolved for so long that it becomes an emergency and the external agency, "Creditors", tries to contact Fathers directly. However, skilled Fathers will trump this move by being away at lunch... (irrespective of the time of day). It is at this stage of play that Creditors may use their special move and call in the player "Private Detective". If Private Detective finds the team player then Sons are deducted 200 points and their player may have to be retired from the game prematurely.
  • Fathers earn 50 points every time they reprimand Sons for putting their elbows on the dining room table, saying, "don't put your elbows on the table at mealtimes, you can only do that when you're 16". Fathers get 110 points if they have their own elbows on the table while they are saying this, which of course will be a normal play.
  • Sons lose 10 points for gaining the status to join Fathers; however, they gain an extra one point a week for every week before Fathers find out that Sons have in fact joined their team, up to a maximum of 3640 points. Fathers get a bonus score of 1500 points if they tell Sons of Sons' change of status before Sons realize it themselves! This is a particularly tricky play and usually involves moves such as "DNA Testing", "Paternity Suits" and the like.
  • Finally, Fathers receive 10 000 points for reaching the square "three score years and ten".