Prui?

by Bernie DeKoven on June 13, 2002

prui?

I introduced this game to the New Games Foundation back in the 70s. It rapidly became part of the New Games repertoire and was featured in the first New Games Book. I thought I found it in a book on children’s games around the world. I haven’t been able to find it since. It might have been transmitted to me by the great Prui, him- or herself.

Here’s how to play:

Clear the dance floor (living room, kitchen, back yard). Get more or less everyone together. (For any game to be fun, participation has to be optional).

When the mass is about as critical as it will get, choose someone to start the game. Everyone closes their eyes and starts milling around. In the mean time, the game starter secretly appoints someone to be Prui.

When people bump into each other, they shake hands, while saying “prui” (pronounced “proo-ee”). If the person they encounter is not Prui, they each go off to find someone else. On the other hand (as it were) when someone bumps into the actual, pre-appointed Prui, shakes hands and says prui, the Prui shakes hands, doesn’t say anything, and doesn’t let go.

Now both people are Prui, remaining Prui until the end of the game. If either of them is encountered by anyone else, more people are added to the collective Prui. The game continues until more or less everyone has become Prui. Then, at a signal from the pre-selected Prui appointer (who has her eyes open during the game so she can help steer people away from miscellaneous environmental hazards) lets people know that they can at last open their eyes.

There are some exceptionally fun moments as more and more people feel their way towards pruiness. It gets quieter and quieter. The plaintive sounds of the unpruied few mingling with the invisibly giggling many.

This is a light-hearted, and loving game that you can play several times during the evening, and it will get better each time.

May we each find the Prui!


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