The Word Game

The Word Game

I don’t remember the exact origins of The Word Game. I just remember that John was involved. The word game is great for passing time on long road trips, seeing how your friends brains work, and enhancing a child’s vocabulary. You can also play it by yourself. It’s an association game, but the rules are subtle.

The rules I can tell you:
Phrases and short sentences are allowed, but words and names are preferred.
All words are legal, especially interesting ones.
You continue until you either can’t come up with an “acceptable” response.
Then you start over.
Any response that no-one complains about is “acceptable”. It should be fairly obvious when a response isn’t satisfactory.
Associations can be based on the sound of the word, the meaning of the word, things associated with the word.
Cooler words are better.

Since the best way to explain the game is by example I just played a very short round with myself and wrote it down for you. If I wasn’t playing solo each line would be a different participant’s response as we went around the group.

Gary Shandling
Gary Gygax
triple thorax
triple goddess
phases of the moon [this would only work if you hung out with pagans]
pile of muck
pig pile
puppy pile
3 mile
3 mile island
nuclear winter
nuclear radiation
I love my mum.

It’s not uncommon when playing to spend a while throwing out different words that all rhyme (imagine all the “…ing” words you could iterate over), but I tried to avoid that here so as to give you a better example of the different types of “acceptable” associations.

I know, it looks kinda silly, but it’s actually a lot of fun, especially in the car. I find that the faster you play the more fun it gets. Also, it’s not just a matter of finding words and phrases that happen to be associated somehow. You want to use the coolest words you can think of. Even though there are lots of “…ing” words, as mentioned above, if you can think of one, but it’s not particularly cool, it’s better to take the game off on some other more interesting association.