Want to Play a Game, Mother?

Have a strained relationship with your mother? Here’s some therapy: ad veteran Audrey DeVries’ new board game, simply titled Mother.

Players answer questions about the habits, tics and neuroses of four basic types of mom: passive-aggressive, doting, overbearing and best friend. (Q: According to your overbearing mother, why are you superior? A: Because you have her genes. Q: In what physical activity should a doting mother never take part? A: Sex.) DeVries, 46, survived an overbearing/passive-aggressive mother to go on to work as a creative at DeVito/Verdi and BBDO (she has no connection to the London agency Mother). She encountered the various types of mom while living all over the country—the north shore of Chicago (“Waspy, don’t-show-any-emotion kind of people”), Florida (“all those best-friend-type mothers who just like to have fun and get drunk and have wet-T-shirt contests”), Atlanta and Texas (“passive-aggressive stuff”) and New York (“a lot of overbearing mothers”).

DeVries has left the ad world, but her experience helped her package the idea into a finished product in a mere 18 months. The game has been sold at Bendel’s in New York and Fred Segal in Los Angeles, and DeVries is looking at getting it into maternity waiting rooms and therapists’ offices, too. She’s also hosting Mother parties in New York (with drag queens dressed as moms) and developing other products, including a calendar and a cookbook.

She insists the Mother franchise isn’t mean-spirited: “It’s not about not liking mothers. It’s about being amused by their tactics.”