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Zer gara gu, nor gara gu

Devoted father launches Basque culture card game


Igor Lansorena

When father-of-two, Gotzon Barrueta failed to find a game that would help his sons learn more about Basque culture in their own language, he did the next best thing - he invented his own.

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Gotzon Barrueta, a devoted father of two eight-year-old twins, on Monday launched "Zer gara gu, nor gara gu", a question and answer card game about Basque culture that aims to fill a gap in the market of Basque children''s games.

"Zer gara gu, nor gara gu", which means "What are we, who are we?," targets children, adolescents and Basque language-learners and covers a wide range of subjects such as geography, gastronomy, sports, traditions, painting, music and literature.

Gotzon Barrueta could not understand why his son and daughter knew who Messi and Kun Aguero were but did not know the name of the river that runs in front of their house or who Bernardo Atxaga (a Basque writer whose books have been translated into 20 languages) was.

For that reason, he decided to look in the shops for a question and answer game that would help his twins to learn about Basque culture by playing and having fun which at the same time was in the Basque language. "After spending some time looking for that type game, I realized there wasn''t one, so I decided to make it myself," the creator of the game says.

The game is different from other question and answer games in that it includes two possible answers, one of which is clearly wrong, and includes pictures, which makes learning easier.

"If the possible answers to where Bernardo Atxaga was born are Asteasu or Hernani, the child won''t have a clue and will give a different answer each time he plays. However, if the possible answers are Asteasu or London, it will be easier for the child to get the correct answer and to remember it," explains Gotxon Barrueta.

The game box comes with four sets of 54 cars each, six counters and a board, though it is also possible to play the game using only the cards.

In order to launch the game, Gotxon Berrueta had the support of the Basque telecommunications company Euskaltel and the City Council of Bilbao, as well as the publishing company Elkar.

As well as becoming popular among children, the creator hopes the game will help all Basque language-learners. He also hopes it will reach the Diaspora, especially third or fourth generation Basques with an interest in the Basque Country and its culture.


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