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Oh wonderful friends list, please give me suggestions for games that… - Sally's Journal
April 17th, 2008
02:46 pm

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Oh wonderful friends list, please give me suggestions for games that do not require much stuff! Serious ones or silly drunken ones.

I can think of:

The hat game:

2 teams. Everyone writes n names and puts them in a hat. Player 1 of team 1 has a minute to pull names out of the hat and describe them (like articulate) You can pass ones you haven't started as much as you like, but cannot pass one you have started. Then Player 1 of team 2, then player 2 of team 1 etc. Once all the names have gone you score, then put them back in the hat and do it with only three words and miming. Then score again, then do it just with miming!

Consequences:

Boys name
Girls name
He said to her
She said to him
And the consequence was...

You are all lovely and I appreciate your help.

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From:naath
Date:April 17th, 2008 01:53 pm (UTC)
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There's the game where everyone writes down a person on a post-it note and sticks the post-it to someone else's forhead; and then you have to guess the name that is stuck to you.

Charades is good.
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From:robert_jones
Date:April 17th, 2008 05:54 pm (UTC)
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I believe that game is called "Botticelli on the forehead".

I second the vote for charades.
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From:r_e_mercia
Date:April 18th, 2008 07:40 am (UTC)
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Chain charades is good fun - you split up into two teams, and one entire team goes out of the room while the other team sets a charade. Then the first person from the team comes back into the room and is told what the charade is. Then the second person comes back in and the first person acts it out. Then without guessing aloud, the second person acts it out to the third, and so on. Usually by this time the charade is totally unrecognisable...and deep hilarity ensues.

Also one to contemplate is bonkbuster consequences - Set the scene; he was wearing...; she was wearing...; he said...; she did...; then they...; and an outcome - all in the style of the very worst romance novels from the likes of Jilly Cooper and co. Can produce serious giggles. I remember one had a reference to a "steamy erotic cup of tea" in it somewhere...
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From:tienelle
Date:April 17th, 2008 01:54 pm (UTC)
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Can't remember what it's called (possibly "Eat poop you cat", after an outcome of the game), but it's kind of like Chinese whispers on paper:

Write something down.
*
Pass the paper left.
Draw what was written on the paper you just received.
Fold down the writing at the top of your paper, so it's hidden.
Pass the paper left.
Write down what was drawn on the paper you just received.
Fold down the drawing at the top of your paper, so it's hidden.
Repeat from * until you get your own paper back, or bored.
Compare pieces of paper to general hilarity.
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From:fluffymark
Date:April 17th, 2008 01:55 pm (UTC)
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That's "Paper Telephone" and I was just going to suggest it. :)
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From:angoel
Date:April 17th, 2008 01:58 pm (UTC)
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Bah. Beat me to it :p
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From:angoel
Date:April 17th, 2008 01:56 pm (UTC)
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I know that one as 'paper telephone'.
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From:alitalf
Date:April 17th, 2008 01:55 pm (UTC)
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There is that game where everyonne drinks far too much, someone leaves the room, and everyone else has to figure out who it was...

More sensibly, are card games useful to you? There are many that can work for different numbers of players.
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From:atreic
Date:April 17th, 2008 02:01 pm (UTC)
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We know lots of cardgames and have lots of books of cardgames. It seems much harder to find a resource / list of these sort of silly games...
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From:cartesiandaemon
Date:April 17th, 2008 06:27 pm (UTC)
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Hm, the way I know it everyone drinks too much _two_ people leave the room, and everyone tries to figure out who :)
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From:atreic
Date:April 17th, 2008 02:02 pm (UTC)
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Can you explain your strange consequences varients? Or is it enough that you will be at Ardgour and we can ask you there?

What do you mean when you say wink murder? (which reminds me - Mafia/Werewolf !)
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From:ext_72852
Date:April 17th, 2008 02:46 pm (UTC)
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One person has to be the guesser, and is sent out of the room while everyone decides on the murderer. The guesser then, er, guesses about the murder when they think they know who it is.

(Quaker variant - wink ministry. Instead of dying when winked at you must stand up and give ministry... ("When I was walking to meeting this morning, I saw a snowdrop... "). Probably mainly amusing to people who have spent too long sitting in meetings spattered with indifferent ministry...)

"Honey if you love me"? (... won't you please smile)
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From:simont
Date:April 17th, 2008 02:04 pm (UTC)
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Ghost has always been one of my favourite casual games. You start each round with a (notional) empty sequence of letters; players take turns to add a letter to the end of the sequence, and the loser is the first one to make the sequence into a complete word. A constraint is that this should never become impossible; so every player should be able to think of a valid word which could still be reached by valid play from the sequence they leave at the end of their turn. If someone thinks this constraint has been violated, they can challenge the previous person to play, who must produce their candidate word; at this point the round ends, someone checks a dictionary, and either the challenger or challengee loses, as appropriate. The full game, as described on Wikipedia, involves people accumulating a penalty point every time they lose a round and eventually being knocked out of the game, with the last person standing the overall winner; but of course you can easily discard that level of the game and just play round by round with informal scorekeeping or none at all.

Props required: one dictionary. Can be played readily with relatively large numbers of people (becoming progressively less strategic and more random the more people you have). If you don't do the full scorekeeping, it has very short and independent rounds of which you can have as many or as few as you like, so people can easily drop in or out without spoiling the game for anyone else. Also – nearly forgot in the middle of all those practical virtues – it's fun! Bonus points for playing it as a bluffing game, by constructing sequences which sound as if they might be valid words but actually aren't, so that opponents are discouraged from challenging even if unconvinced, because you sound confident and they don't like the odds. Extra bonus points for letting an opponent add the obvious next letter to your made-up word and then turning round and successfully challenging them (I've had this done to me).

Once Ghost gets boring, Superghost (exactly the same except that in your turn you have the option to add a letter on the start instead of the end of the sequence) is more of a challenge. There are a number of further possible extensions, but they get progressively more silly.
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From:simont
Date:April 17th, 2008 02:05 pm (UTC)
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Oh, and usually words of 3 letters or fewer aren't counted, so playing "A" or "I" as your first move isn't an immediate loss.
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From:gerald_duck
Date:April 17th, 2008 02:08 pm (UTC)
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There are a huge number of games that can be played just with pencil and paper — one of the deepest and most under-appreciated being Sprouts. Boxes is also much more subtle than people think (Ian Stewart's Math Hysteria goes into more detail than the Wikipedia article).

But I think you're wanting games for more than two players?

Zendo requires pieces you have to buy, but is still much more compact than many games.

Having a couple of decks of cards lying around opens up lots of possibilities, of course. For serious games, I'd suggest German Whist for two players, Hearts for three, Bridge or Solo for four, Contract Whist for more players. (I have my own rules refinements for Hearts and Contract Whist.) For silly games there's The Chairman's Game, of course. Dead Dog and Cheat are also both very good for lots of players.

A Fluxx deck is a great thing to have: you can introduce new players to the game in literally less than a minute because almost everything is self-explanatory.

Mafia/Werewolf is a good game that only needs a way of choosing mafiosi/werewolves. If you have lots of space, Murder In The Dark is a whole-house variant of what is otherwise a parlour game (people mill around between several darkened rooms; the murderer approaches a victim and grasps them by the shoulder; the victim counts to ten then goes "argh!"; proceed as for Mafia).

Consequences is fun. Categories is also good.
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From:simont
Date:April 17th, 2008 02:54 pm (UTC)
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I have my own rules refinements for Hearts

I'd be interested to hear them. A group of us used to play Hearts at secondary school, and gradually dreamed up rules variations to make the game more interesting. I'd guess yours are nothing like ours, but I'd be interested to find out.

(We were also optimising for vindictiveness opportunities, because we were nasty little schoolboys and we felt at the time that the sheer sadistic pleasure of dumping the queen of spades on a victim of your choice was a major part of the fun of Hearts; we eventually renamed our modified game "You Bastard" in acknowledgment of this. I understand that after I left the school there were further rules changes and the remnants of the group renamed it again to "You Utter Bastard" :-)
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From:gerald_duck
Date:April 17th, 2008 03:12 pm (UTC)
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They're nothing incredibly special, just a particular path through the myriad options, which I feel gives a very taut, strategic game for three players:
  • Remove 2♣ from the deck and deal 17 cards to each player
  • Each player then passes two cards to their left and two to their right, collecting two from each of the others. Q♠ may be passed. This replaces the left-right-across-none passing sequence in conventional four-player hearts and allows subtlety both in choosing which of the other hands you want to hold particular cards and in hiding/feinting your intentions.
  • No lead restrictions — leading a heart or Q♠ is always legal.
  • Scoring is one point per heart and 13 for Q♠. If someone goes "reverse strategy" and takes all fourteen penalty cards the other two players receive 26 points each.
As for names, schoolboys seem to come up with a rich variety. The two least salubrious ones at my school were "Black Bitch" and "Hunt the …" — you get the idea.
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From:simont
Date:April 17th, 2008 03:36 pm (UTC)
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*nods* That's an unusual passing rule, which I think I'd have to try out myself to get a clear idea of its benefits, but other than that there's no difference between that and the variant of Hearts which three of us originally started out playing. Certainly wussy restrictions on the lead or on passing were something we'd never have adopted even if we'd known about them; I didn't encounter anything like that until seeing MS Hearts some years later, and was thoroughly unimpressed with the idea.

We went rather further with modifying the basic game, though. Like you, we discarded 2♣ to make our three-player deal come out even; but we then had the idea of putting it back in, to deliberately have one extra card at the end of the deal. That extra card went face down in the centre of the table; then the winner of any trick was entitled if they wished to pick up the centre card, add it to their hand, and put a different one down in its place. (They had to keep the CC once they'd looked at it, but were allowed to look at it before deciding what to put down.) The winner of the last trick collected any penalty points attaching to the final CC. This variation had the effect of confusing other people's attempts to track your hand, while making it easier to get a void (by leaving your last card of a suit in the centre) or to dodge having Q♠ forced out (by leaving that in the centre). More to the point, it meant there was more often an advantage in winning a trick, which we thought was a good thing since for most purposes a decent basic strategy for Hearts is to attempt to lose all tricks rather than just the penalty ones. Encouraging trick-winning made the game more double-edged, which we liked.

I think we also added a positive card for the same reason: J♣ worth -3, IIRC. The centre card turned out to be more of an incentive, though.

Then we acquired a fourth player, and now the deal didn't come out with a card left over any more. Rather than discard three of the 2s to allow us to play our centre-card rule, we instead introduced a joker. The rule with the joker was that it can be played at any time (even when you could have followed suit), and it's an automatic trick-winner if played on someone else's lead, but an automatic trick-loser if led (and then the second player to the trick determines the lead suit), which again we thought added a nice level of double-edgedness. It combined particularly well with the strategy of leaving the Q♠ in the centre: with about three or four tricks left to play, people had generally worked out that that was where Q♠ was, and then the player who still had an unplayed joker was really beginning to sweat about whether they'd be able to dispose of it harmlessly and not end up winning the final trick.

(Of course, once we thought up the joker rule we wanted to keep it even in three-player games, so we started taking out 2♣ again.)

I expect we've thoroughly bored atreic by now :-)
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From:simont
Date:April 17th, 2008 03:44 pm (UTC)
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Oh yes, nearly forgot. If picking up the centre card caused you to no longer have a void in a suit, you had to announce that fact and state the suit. I don't recall the rationale for that wrinkle; I think it was suggested by one of the other players and the rest of us went along with it because we didn't have a strong opinion either way.
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From:robert_jones
Date:April 17th, 2008 06:08 pm (UTC)
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MS hearts has, I think, a highly eccentric rule set. I've never eccountered the notion of lead restrictions or restrictions on playing hearts before, both of which strike me as undesirable rules. On the other hand, a prohibition on passing the Queen of Spades is commonplace.

I have played with people (Canadians) who scored the 10 of diamonds as positive (I forget by how many). That also strikes me as an undesirable rule, since it's rather contrary to the spirit of the game.

We (my family) always play four-handed and with the whist order of trumps. While the "always no-trumps" variants have a certain purity, I think the various strategies needed to play the hearts-as-trumps, non-hearts-as-trumps and no-trumps rounds are quite interesting. I agree, however, that the three-handed variant is more interesting (because less random).

I don't really like rules which value the Queen of Spades so comparatively highly, since it leads to strategies rather excessively focussed on that one card. We play face values for hearts, ten for court cards, 15 for the ace, 40 for QS. I think different values for the heart cards also adds an additional interest.

For completeness, we played the usual "shooting the moon" rule of halfing your own score or doubling everyone else's. It seems suitably random.
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From:whatifoundthere
Date:April 17th, 2008 02:09 pm (UTC)
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Someone's already mentioned Eat Poop You Cat, so let me recommend 1000 Blank White Cards. I've played it a bunch of times and it's always fantastic.
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From:peredur_glyn
Date:April 17th, 2008 02:20 pm (UTC)
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Mafia? We played it loads when I was an undergraduate. We had the optional rule of a Guardian Angel who could ask to find out if someone was a Mafia during the night phase. You don't need any special material, just some playing cards (one dealt to each player to indicate what role they take: black makes them Mafia, red makes them innocents; ace makes them the Angel).

The drinking game 21 can also be easily made non-drinking if you want: everyone sits in a circle, and says a number in turn, counting up from 1. A person can utter one, two or three numbers. If he utters one number, play passes to the next person in the circle. If he says two numbers, play reverses direction and goes to the person who just spoke. If he says three numbers, play continues in the same direction but skips the person who would have taken the turn and goes to the person sitting next to them. The person who says "21" loses. However, upon losing, they then nominate any number to be changed to something: a word, a phrase or even an action. So they can change "4" to "Megatron". Play then begins again, but the new changes have to be implemented, so it's "1, 2, 3, Megatron". It gets more complex the more changes are made. Clever players can construct elaborate (and often offensive) sentences by changing concurrent words. The drinking aspect is introduced by penalising everyone who makes a mistake with having to take a drink, but as I said, this is optional.
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From:simont
Date:April 17th, 2008 03:41 pm (UTC)
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The only time I ever played 21, the "losing" player had more discretion: they could state any reasonable rules change ("reasonable", in particular, included still keeping it as recognisably an evolution of the same game and not e.g. saying "all previous rules are revoked including the basic game structure and we'll just play chess instead").

As a long-time Mao player I thought it was downright wussy to actually tell people what the new rule was, so when I got to introduce a rule I said that henceforth new rules would be secret; you'd be told – and have to drink – when you got one wrong, and would gradually infer the rule. Unfortunately I was in the minority in my opinion that this would be a good idea: it caused everyone else to decide the game was over.
From:cjp39
Date:April 17th, 2008 02:38 pm (UTC)
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There's the game where 100 people all wear red or blue hats, and are then lined up so the first guy can see everyone else's hat and the last guy can see nobody's, then the boss of the company goes down the line from first to last shooting anyone who doesn't guess their hat colour right, and as many have to survive as possible.

Wait, was that a game or a logic puzzle? I know we had to play it at the last headcount reduction meeting...
From:cjp39
Date:April 17th, 2008 02:39 pm (UTC)
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(You can get an average 99.5% survival ratio, by the way.)
From:ext_72852
Date:April 17th, 2008 02:42 pm (UTC)
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Ratchet screwdriver http://jriddell.org/ratchet-screwdriver.html
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From:emperor
Date:April 17th, 2008 02:42 pm (UTC)
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Werewolf?

I Have Never

Mao
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From:gerald_duck
Date:April 17th, 2008 03:14 pm (UTC)
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From anecdotal evidence, I Have Never and Truth Or Dare can both go badly wrong once players start getting creative…
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From:ewx
Date:April 17th, 2008 03:36 pm (UTC)
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It's possible to set people up in advance - perhaps long in advance - of a game of I Have Never...
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From:king_of_wrong
Date:April 17th, 2008 06:21 pm (UTC)
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Isn't that when it gets fun?
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From:neoanjou
Date:April 17th, 2008 02:54 pm (UTC)
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Mafia needs only some means of indicating which players are which roles (for which you could use a set of normal cards (e.g. black =villager, red=mafia, king = doctor, etc.)

Silly word game include the sleazy slogan game - take a slogan; e.g. McDonalds: I'm loving it!, if it mentions the name of the product replace it with 'mum-hum', and then add 'in my pants' to the end - e.g. 'I'm loving it in my pants'. Especially works well with Supermarket slogans for some reason.

I hope that your guests won't read this, as it would give the game away for some of the following:

The 'psychologists' game - one person has to leave the room, during which time everyone agrees on some condition that they all have, for instance the classic is 'you are the person to your right[or left]', and the returning person has to guess said condition by asking questions. If someone gets an answer wrong everyone can cough to indicate so. You're also allowed to answer a question like 'what is your name' correctly to avoid giving the game away, but should probably avoid it with things like 'how old are you', 'what sex are you'.

Then there are the frustration games.
* The Scissors - hand a pair of scissors from person to person, opening or closing them at whim. Each time you need to say 'the scissors are crossed', or 'the scissors are uncrossed.' Players who are unfamiliar with the game have to work out what each phrase means. The answer is that it has nothing to do with scissors, but in fact is based on whether one has crossed or uncrossed legs.
* The Line Game - point at various locations and determine whether there is a line there - for instance two edges of a table. The trick is that there is a line where yourself (or the person asking a question says 'OK') - typical phrases go something like: 'Okay - now there is a line from here to here, but not a line from there to there...'
* How Many Elephants? : Pretty much as above. You have a prop and ask the question to your guests 'how many elephants are [in, under, etc] this [bottle, glass, case, etc]?' - then tell them the answer if they get it wrong. The trick here being that the number is determined by the number of words in the question. Its fun to alter the number of fingers or hands you are holding the object with and do and a simple follow up question - e.g. 'How many Elephants in this Bottle?' [6 - change hand position] 'and now?' [2 - change position again] 'how many now?' [3], 'now?' [1]
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From:the_alchemist
Date:April 17th, 2008 04:03 pm (UTC)
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Holly invented a game which was originally called Readthrough! but which is now called something else and which apparently Kevan invented independently (and under a different name, possibly the current one) ages ago.

It had potential when we tested it in-house, but also a few problems. I thought of some ways of solving them, but I think Holly did too and might have tested it again last night.

Anyway. I think we should play that. And I will teach people how.

Also, the other night we tried something that might be a bit like Elly's variations on Consequences.

You each get an A4 piece of paper and write a prose genre on the bottom right hand corner. You write a sentence or so of that genre at the top, and fold it over leaving only two words visible (it works better with certain kinds of word combination). Someone else continues it...
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From:androidkiller
Date:April 17th, 2008 04:27 pm (UTC)
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Questions only : Choose a location (eg. "In the supermarket", "On the moon".) The first two players then hold a conversation they might have in that location, but are only allowed to speak using questions. Anyone who fails to ask a question or to respond within a sensible amount of time is out and someone new swaps in.

Of course you could also try stuff like "Just a Minute"
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From:teleute
Date:April 17th, 2008 04:33 pm (UTC)
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I have no game, merely an anecdote about what you called the Hat Game (which I know as the Name Game). We were playing it with Adrians friends once. Adrian's friends in this instance were from two main sources - people he'd gone to school with, and people he sailed with. The teams were split along those lines (that was our first mistake). The team of school mates all wrote names of scientists, philosophers etc. The team of sailors all wrote pop stars, soap opera actors etc. When picking names, if we picked a name from the alternate team we were completely stumped. In the end we gave up, with both teams feeling superior and pitying of the other. Amusing in retrospect, embarrassing at the time ;-)
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From:atreic
Date:April 17th, 2008 04:45 pm (UTC)
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*giggle*

Oh dear, that's mortifying. Something similar happened to me when I went on my cousin's hen weekend - every time someone from London bought a round it was a bottle of wine, every time someone from Manchester did it was blue Wickeds.
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From:robert_jones
Date:April 17th, 2008 06:14 pm (UTC)
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Is that how rounds work?
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From:atreic
Date:April 17th, 2008 09:44 pm (UTC)
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No, that's not how rounds are supposed to work at all. But the first round, it was much cheaper to buy a bottle of wine than two glasses, and it all went downhill from there.
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