The game of GHOST

You know how to play GHOST? The word game?

Let's say it's you, me and Tom over there. Tom starts. He says: C

So now it's my turn. I have to think of some word that starts with C. And add a letter. So I say A

Now it's your turn. You better not say T, or, come to think of it, N or R or P or M or B or D... 'cause then you'll have spelled a word. Which you don't want to do. Because then, depending on how you play, you'll be one-third of a ghost. Or something else you don't want to be.

So you say L. Clever. Very clever. There's at least one word that I can think of that starts CAL.

So now it's up to Tom. Tom says I.

My turn.

I. Hmmm. CALI. Oh, I see, like in CALIfornia. Except everybody knows you can't use proper nouns. Hmmm again. Why, I think I just might challenge old Tom there. So I say: "I challenge you, old Tom there." And he says CALIPERS. Calipers. Darn. I shoulda thought. So, OK. I'm one-third of a ghost. Couldn't happen to a nicer Funsmith.

So you start the next round. And on and on we go, letter by letter. Until someone actually spells an actual word. Which can happen. Or someone challenges the player before them. And then another round starts. And so on. Until someone is a whole ghost (having lost three times). And then that person gets to start the next round.

Some people play five rounds instead of three, so instead of being one-third of a ghost, you become a G or a GH or a GHO. You could play as many rounds as you want before anyone has to lose. But it's a good idea to decide how many before you start the game.

Then there are the variations. You need variations, see, because after a while, especially if you're playing with the same people over and over - on a car trip, for example, or right after dinner or something - you start being able to predict what people are going to say. Like, for example, if you start with G and the next player starts with H you can pretty much predict that the word's going to either be GHOST or GHASTLY. So if you just count ahead, you'll know who's going to lose way before the round is over.

So there's SUPERGHOST - at least, that's what we called it. And in SUPERGHOST you can put letters before or after the letters that you already have. You can't change the order of the letters. So if you have, say, LAUG, and it seems pretty clear to you that you're going to have to spell LAUGH, you can say, SLAUG. The only thing you can't do is put a letter in between any of the letters you already have. Unless, of course, you're playing SUPERDUPERGHOST.

And then you could play themes, like THINGS YOU FIND IN A GROCERY STORE or LIVING THINGS. Or you can play that you have to say TWO letters at a time. Or you can say that only proper nouns are allowed. And by that time, you should have arrived at grandmother's house.

- for Chris, Heather, Rachel, and Will - who asked


from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Wordr

It's like Twitter, one word at a time. It tends to induce playfulness, monodictally-speaking. As well as rampant word-coinage. Don't spend it all in one place.

Everyone

majorfun: wordsforfun

Posted less than a minute ago . This is the first usage of 'wordsforfun'.

majorfun: lexifunnicon

Posted 1 minute ago . This is the first usage of 'lexifunnicon'.

mrs_dableju: thenwhat?

Posted 9 minutes ago . This is the first usage of 'thenwhat'.

sugarhigh: nomnom

Posted 21 minutes ago . This is the first usage of 'nomnom'.

jv_t: dedmarazmipridurochka

Posted 21 minutes ago . This is the first usage of 'dedmarazmipridurochka'.

mrs_dableju: pingsan

Posted 22 minutes ago . This is the first usage of 'pingsan'.

barauswald: booboo

Posted 35 minutes ago . This is the first usage of 'booboo'.

barauswald: voiceofsteel

Posted 40 minutes ago . This is the first usage of 'voiceofsteel'.

heckymeal: thissux

Posted about 1 hour ago . This is the first usage of 'thissux'.




from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Clabbers, Dense Escalating Clabbers and Volost

Surfing my way, somehow, to a collection of Scrabble Variants, I learned about Clabbers which is a game of Scrabble, all right, but the letters can be in any order you want, as long as they are an anagram of a Scrabble-acceptable word. The author notes that "the board usually ends up tightly packed in places, and necessarily quite empty in others. Game scores will often be much higher than in standard Scrabble, due to the relative ease of making high-scoring overlap plays and easier access to premium squares."

That's all I needed to know: higher game scores, each word a puzzle in its own right. My kind of Scrabble.

Then there's, of course, Dense Escalating Clabbers for the serious Clabbers-player. The Wikkipedist explains: "Dense Escalating Clabbers add 1/3 more tiles. In addition, every bingo increases a player's rack size by one, and the play times are increased from 25 minutes to 33 minutes 33 seconds. There is also a 100 point bonus for playing a fifteen letter word. These modifications also make the game more challenging and interesting, and also increase the likelihood of triple-triple plays." "Bingo" I deduce, having something to do with using all one's tiles.

Then, apparently, there's Volost. A "surreal game" says the Wikipedist, "where the only acceptable words are VOLOST and VOLOSTS." I wasn't really clear about what makes this variation worthy of our collective consideration until I read the last sentence in the article. "It is typically played late at night, and alcohol is usually involved."

Ah. Alcohol. I should've known.

See also this great collection of potential Scrabble variants on Half-Baked.


from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Abie, see the fishes?

You know this one?

ABCD Fishes
LMNO Fishes
OSAR
CMPN


Doug Germann sent me this one:

CM Ducks?
MRNO Ducks!
OSAR--CM Wings?
LIB, MR Ducks!

Know any more?

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Word Making-Up Fun - An Introduction to the LexiFUNnicon

And then there's that flavor of fun you get when you're making up new words, when fun becomes, shall we say, defining.

The LexiFUNnicon is a particularly good sample of this taste of fun, because, as in every taste of fun we have so far defined, we are having fun with fun itself. For example, the following LexiFUNnicon entries:
  • biofunology - the study of the biological origins of fun
  • cofunnication - shared fun
  • defunnication - taking the fun out of something or one or many
  • delightenment - a temporary experience of permanent delight
  • entercation - beyond infotainment, not so much making learning fun as making fun educational
I find myself particularly intrigued, for example, by the notion of, as one might put it, exploring the experience of cofunnication, in far more, shall we say, depth.



from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Escalating Office-isms

Here's a sample:

Player 1: "Were you at this morning’s meeting? I thought John’s action items were highly questionable."

Player 2: "That is so true! I was just telling Nigel the other day that we need to stay focused on our mission statement."

Player 1: "We could all learn from Linda’s example. Her action items are so dynamic!"

Player 2: "She needs to work together with Arthur on the project; we need to bring our resources together to maximize our synergy."

See "Escalating Office-isms" for the rest.


from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Words and Stuff

When my son was in high school, in Palo Alto, amongst the various nascent luminaries that he gathered about him was a fellow named Jed Hartman. Turns out that among his many other activities, Jed is the author of Words and Stuff - a wonderful set of columns about playing with language.

One such exemplary SSS - Standing Out in the Field features bizarre sports cheers. Like this one from Williams:

Progress the ball, progress the ball,
Perambulate over the turf!

...and this pith, purportedly from Princeton:

Integration, derivation,
L'Hospital's rule, fight!
e to the x,
e to the x,
e to the x, dy, dx,
Cosine, secant, tangent, sine,
Three point one four one five nine,
Label the axes y and x,
Hell with football, we want sex!

Hie thee hastily to the Index of all posts, therefore, where a vast and voluptuous vimful of verbal vicissitudes awaits; amongst which, such treasures as Jed's essential post on the true and exact nature of Mondegreens


via Metafilter


from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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The Internet Anagram Server

Like it says, it's Internet Anagram Server, where you can make anagrams of anything. Actually:
Anything
Hag Tinny
Hang Tiny
Yang Thin
Yang Hint
Gay Ninth
An Nighty
Ant Hying
Tan Hying
Nay Night
Nay Thing
Any Night
Any Thing
Nag Thy In
Yang Nth I
Gay Nth In
An Gin Thy
And, while you're there, don't forget to visit the Anagram Hall of Fame.

It s for fun.


via Neatorama

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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First International Collection of Tongue Twisters

Wordplay seems to be something we all do, regardless of language or culture. Wordplay like tongue twisters - as documented so comprehensively by the editors of the First International Collection of Tongue Twisters. What a joy-producing way to rediscover our global community. Need more convincing? Then take a look at this wonderful collection of videos of People fumbling over words that rhyme.

For further, English-speaking explorations of the sheerness of it all, joywise, don't miss S. E. Schlosser's collection of Tongue Twister Tales from American Folklore.

Funny, how much fun nonsense can be. And how much we can learn from it.



from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Words of a Feather

Words of a Feather - A Humorous Puzzlement of Etymological Pairs, in case you were wondering, is for people who like to play with words. Or who like the play of words. Pairs of words. Pairs of words you wouldn't think belong paired up. Like, for example, computer, and reputation. I extract:
"It's deliciously apt that the tarnishing of his reputation (HAL, the computer in 2001) is what pushes the computer over the edge, for both reputation and computer trace back to the Latin phrase putare, "to reckon," a word that encompasses solving mathematical and moral problems, implied in the phrase 'day of reckoning.'"
"Ah," you probably are saying to yourself, "how apt, how deliciously apt."

If in fact you find such aptness delicious, Words of a Feather will prove to be a conceptual banquet of conversation-worthy tidbits. "Which reminds me," you might say in answer to the question "why are you late for dinner," "did you know that senate and senile are etymologically related, and that it wasn't until the mid-nineteenth century that senile acquired the meaning of 'weak or infirm from age.'"

Written by Murray Suid, author of over 25 books, including Demonic Mnemonics - Eight Hundred Spelling Tricks for Eight Hundred Tricky Words, and an old friend of mine when I was working in Philadelphia some 35 years ago, the book reflects a deep love of language and learning, and, most significantly, a thorough appreciation for the incongruous.

Page after page of entertaining reflections on connections between words that simply shouldn't belong together - coronation and coroner, mercenary and mercy, stupendous and stupid - Words of a Feather is playful enough to make you want to flock to your local bookseller.

Should you need more incentive, wing your way to the Words of a Feather website.



from
Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Pips Plus

With their collection of Pips: Original Card and Dice Games, Samuel and Jacob H. Stoddard have gifted us with, among many other delights, a collection of, as advertised, original playing card, dice and domino games. Original, well-documented, and apparently most worthy of some significant segment of your playtime.

No, no, there's nothing to buy, unless you don't have a deck of cards or a couple dice or a set of dominoes. I know that's going to make you feel that these games are not, like, "real" games. And, if these guys wanted to make them into genuine, commercial, K-mart-worthy games, well, they'd probably make some significant money. But they most apparently have a very different goal. They want to make some significant fun.

Which becomes even more apparent if you look at the stuff on the rest of their site (called "Rinkworks"). I, following a suggestion from the noble Presurfer, wound up in a subsection of a subsection called "Fun with Words," where I learned about... Wait, let me give you some examples. Can you guess what the following words have in common?

BOLT, FAST, GRADE, HANDICAP

No, silly, it's not that they're all written in upper case. It's that they're all "Contronyms" - words that are also their own opposites. Like BOLT, as in bolt the door, or bolt away; or FAST, as in moving fast or something made unmoving.

Mark well this site, for is much fun to be had therein and by.




from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Telephone Pictionary

I received an unsolicited phone call from someone named "Elise." She was trying to figure out how to play a game called "It Could Be Worse." It's one of those funny, pointless games that I find myself playing more and more often. And, being pointless, it's hard, sometimes, to convey the actual point of playing it.

While we were talking, she asked me if I had ever heard of one of her favorite games, called "Telephone Pictionary." I hadn't. So I immediately Googled it, finding clarity once again in this Wikipedia article:
The first player begins by writing any sentence or phrase they wish, though bizarre or surreal offerings are generally preferred. The next player attempts to come up with an illustration that represents the sentence. The paper is folded over so that only the picture can be seen, then passed to the next player, who attempts to formulate a caption for the illustration. Usually there are some restrictions on what can appear in the illustration — alphanumerics are commonly forbidden — to ensure that the third player cannot easily replicate the original sentence. Once the third player has captioned the illustration, the paper is folded over so that only the caption can be seen, and is passed to the next player.
Oddly familiar. Reminding me, as a matter of fact, of the game of Redondo, and a host of related "Surrealist" games, oddly enough, as "Exquisite Corpse."

Well, talk about oddly, it seems that Telephone Pictionary is also known as Eat Poop you Cat. And if you visit the aforementioned, you will be able to play it online. As you will yet another remarkably related game, called "The Sentence Game."

It's odd, but typical of the games world, that a game gets reborn like this, into another name, another identity. It's a sign that the game is larger than its history. That the fun it encapsulates is greater than any attempt to capture it into any single form.

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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A Magical Dictionary

Craig Conley, the brilliant lexicographer who has given the game playing world a veritable library of quintessential dictionaries, including one-letter words, all-vowel words and all-consonant words has recently published a truly, well, magical piece of scholarship called "The Magician's Hidden Library." Currently composed of two volumes, both available in on-line and print versions, the Magician's Hidden Library is a fascinating piece of scholarship, and an invitation to wonder.

Here, courtesy of Mr. Conley, as found on the on-line version of Magic Words: A Dictionary, a sampler of some of the etymological delights of half-belief:

Even the youngest of children are deeply moved by magic words: writing teacher Deena Metzger describes a three-year-old pupil who "knew the magic of words; she knew that words could create magic, that they were magic. She knew that they could create worlds, could describe worlds, explore worlds, and also be the bridge between one world and another" (quoted in Awakening at Midlife by Kathleen A. Brehony [1997]).

Childhood words are interesting to contemplate. "The first words of a baby are not words at all," suggests professor Selma H. Fraiberg, "but magic incantations, sounds uttered for pleasure and employed indiscriminately to bring about a desired event." A one-year-old baby will discover that "the syllable 'mama,' repeated several times if necessary, will magically cause the appearance of the invaluable woman who ministers to all needs and guards him against all evil. He doesn't know just how this happens, but he attributes this to his own magic powers." This is why Fraiberg contends that "language originates in magic." A baby's earliest incantations are characterized by surprise and excitement, two crucial qualities for magic words.

"Gotcha" is "the magic word that only works for older brothers on their young siblings, as when playing cops and robbers." --William J. Webbe, "My Brother and Me," Making Our Own Fun (2004)

"Once upon a time" are the magic words that open the floodgates of a child's imagination." --Dale Carnegie, The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking (1990)

There is a musical quality to fee-fie-foe-fum that echoes oral ballads and rhymes associated with childhood, such as "Old MacDonald's" chorus of "e-i-e-i-o" (the final "e-i-o" matching the vowel sounds of "fee-fie-foe") and "Eenie Meenie Miney Mo" (the final words "Meenie Miney Mo" again matching the vowel sounds of "fee-fie-foe"). "The sonorous part of spells and incantations can be taken just as rows of syllables that the intellect refuses to understand. In fact, [it] is a sacred language, sometimes spoken only by the performer. Nevertheless, an enormous psychological power is attributed to these incomprehensible and magic words. . . . [T]heir musicality can capture everyone" (Mirela Vlaica, "Forms of Magic in Traditional Mentality" [2003]).

"Wiggle Your Fingers, Wiggle Your Thumbs, That's the Way the Magic Comes" is a traditional magic phrase used by magican and storyteller Uncle Michael.

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Catch Phrase, Refreshed

Hasbro's Electronic Catch Phrase is probably one of the best electronic party games ever. A cross between password and hot potato, this exciting, engaging team word game can engage as many people as you want to play with in a good hour of competition and laughter. And now it's getting a second Major Fun award. The first was presented two-and-a-half years ago. Today, we have an improved Electronic Catch Phrase, just released, with new categories and words, making something like 10,000 in total.

This award goes primarily to Hasbro for having the intelligence and integrity that led to improving an already excellent game. This is all too rare an occurrence in the game industry. A successful game tends to get repackaged, and perhaps even rethemed, but rarely if ever fundamentally improved. The new version is simply easier to use. A back-lit LED screen is much easier to read. The digital score readout (replacing the cumbersome electronic voice), and the button size and placement all make for a friendlier, easier-to-control, more pleasant to play with device.

Most of the people at our Tasting who tried the game weren't familiar with Catch Phrase in any of its earlier incarnations - even the original mechanical and paper version released in the 90s. The main obstacle to their understanding the joys that awaited them was their other experiences of password-like games. See, that part, the guess-what-word-I'm-trying-to-make-you-say part, is so easy to understand that the other part, the hot potato part, completely escaped most people. Until we finally got to play the game. People kept on thinking that they should get a point when their team guessed the word. But that's not it at all. When your team guesses your word, you get to pass the device to a player on the other team. And points are kind of negative - awarded to your team when the timer goes off (hot potato-like) in the other team's hands. Despite the brevity and succinctness of the rules, this was the one real source of confusion that nothing short of a reworking of the rules (perhaps as a comic book) could have avoided.

On the other hand, as it were, once this rather inconsequential hurdle was cleared, delight was immediate and continuous. It really is one of the best electronic party games out there. And Catch Phrase, refreshed, is even better than its predecessor. At less than $25 retail, it's well-worth the purchase, even if you have the older version.

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Exquisite Corpse, Fantasy Junkyard Sports, and The After Hours Shopping Mall

It's an idea I've been playing with long enough. I was hoping maybe I could play it with you.

The idea: Fantasy Junkyard Sports.

My interpretation: you know those fantasy sports and leagues and deals where you pick your ideal team based out of all the players in all the teams currently playing the sport you're fantasizing about...? So, I figure, maybe Fantasy Junkyard Sports doesn't have to be anything like that at all. Maybe they should be more like games of Exquisite Corpse where an image (graphic or verbal or both) is built, one part at a time - the idea being that when part B is added, you don't necessarily know what part A actually looks like. I wrote about a related game called "Redondo." The web abounds with links to exquisitely corpse-like games - all being somehow wonderfully junkyardly in their essence.

So how about this for the start of a Fantasy Junkyard Sports fantasy:

Let's call it: The After Hours Shopping Mall Golf Club.

OK. So. I'll start.

"It was 3 a.m. at the Lasthope Mall. Eighty people, ranging in age from 17-62, carrying PVC pipe and tennis balls, have assembled inside the mall, mingling meanderingly in front of the shuttered GAP store."

Your turn.

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Redondo

When I first learned it, I was told it was called "Redondo." One player starts the game by drawing someting on the top part of a piece of paper, then folding the paper so that only the very bottom of the drawing shows, and passing it to the next player, who continues the drawing, folds it so that only the very bottom of the continuation shows, and then passes it to the next player. The result: deep whimsy.

Yes, I know, it's hard to believe that a game with a name like "Redondo" could trace its roots to something called "Exquisite Corpse." And it's even harder to believe that Exquisite Corpse could prove to be worthy of our pristinely playful purport. Fear not. Despite its macabre name, Exquisite Corpse is an invitation to silliness and creativity of the highest order - a game you've probably already played in several many versions.

There's even a text-only version of this game, which, according to this source, is an old parlor game that evolved into one of the "Surrealist techniques exploiting the mystique of accident." There's a website that is designed so that you can not only taste the literary wonders of such collective silliness, but add your personal own.

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Drawing Quotes

This is a variation of telephone game, but done with pen and paper, using quotes and drawing. (see also: Exquisite Corpse)

All this takes is a blank sheet of paper and a pencil, per player.

Each person writes a 3 - 10 word phrase (could be famous saying, book title, or just something quirky you thought up) at the top of a vertically-held sheet of paper. Write your own name at the bottom of the sheet, so you know when it comes back to you. Fold the top over so no one can see the quote and pass it to the left.

The next person looks at the phrase and draws images connoting the the phrase. Then folds the paper down another flap, so the next person can see the drawings but NOT the phrase. Pass the paper to the left.

The next person looks only at the drawings, and right below that writes the phrase that reflects the drawing. Fold the paper down another flap, so the next person can see only the most recent phrase,but nothing preceding it.

Continue until the paper comes back to the first person. Generally 1 sheet of paper suffices for 8 people.

The person who originated the phrase now reads the last phrase, then the original phrase, and then everyone looks at the paper, hooting and hollering hysterically over the pathway the message took.

Jan Nickerson

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Homonyms and other Wordplays

Alan Cooper's Homonyms is the very stuff of car games, waiting-in-line games and restaurant games. As a gamelike experience, try the Hinky Pinky approach: select a homonym, think of a definition for the word pair and see if your playpal can guess the words. You ask for an example? Try: things done with a chopping tool. If you can't figure out the answer, look at the second item in Alan Cooper's Homonym list.

For a compendious list of links to other sources for word play, see, oddly enough, the previously blogged Word Play, where I found, for example, The Daily Arrebus



link via the Presurfer

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Beyond Boiticelli: Bratislava, Vermicelli, and Protozoa

Whilst describing Boiticelli (below), I failed to take note of several significant variations described by a playful few:

Bratislava

Like Botticelli, but played with geographical names (names of natural or political entities). The entity must be larger than a single structure. The longest game on record was "Temescal" (a neighborhood in Oakland, CA) by Richard Kraft.

This game was proposed by David Gedye.

Vermicelli

Like Botticelli, but played with names of foods and beverages. Ingredients are OK.

Protozoa

Like Botticelli, but played with names of living things from any kingdom. Typically only the common names at the species level are used, but if the knowledge of the group permits you can use kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, or genus names, including Latin names.

Guesses can be speculative, and can be corrected by anyone. Dissemination of biological knowledge is encouraged.

This game was proposed by Richard Kraft.

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More Victorian Parlor Games - Crambo and Boiticelli

Searching for a Victorian game called "Crambo," I came across this pleasant repository of Victorian games.

And here, should you be so interested, are the rules of Crambo as found within the abovementioned:

It" leaves the room, and the players chose a word. Let's say the word is "fickle." When "It" returns, one player must give "It" a hint by giving him/her a word that rhymes with fickle, i.e., "pickle."

Now it gets interesting.

"It" will ask one player whether the word is, say, tickle, NOT by asking straight out but by forming a question about the word in mind. "It" will ask, "is it something that someone does by holding one's fingers to another person's side and moving them about quickly?" The player who has had the question put to them must respond, "No, the word is not tickle."

This continues until "It" guesses the word, OR... if "It" is really good, he or she will create question for a word the player can't guess. Then the player winds up being "It."


Which reminds me of a game called "Boiticelli" that we played in college. I found the game described in a rather enlightened collection of car games described as follows:

One player thinks of a famous person and says the first letter of the last name. The other players try to guess the person by "defining" people with that initial. If the first player can think of someone X matching the definition, he says "no, I'm not X". If he can't, then the guesser says who they're defining, and is entitled to ask a yes or no question.

Example:

A: I'm thinking of a person starting with "P".
B: Are you a Greek philosopher?
A: No, I'm not Plato.
B: Are you a French composer?
A: (pause) I give up.
B: Poulenc. Yes or no: are you living?
A: yes
...
(two hours later)
...
B: Are you a somewhat depressing female poet?
A: Yes!! I'm Sylvia Plath.

Some fine points:

Definitions can be as obscure as you like.
You can guess people who don't conform to the information already obtained via yes/no questions.
The "famous person" should be someone all the guessers are reasonably certain to have heard of. The usual penalty for violating this rule is ejection from the car at high speed.
The use of domain-specific guesses (e.g. sports figures) is discouraged, but is OK if you're desperate.
Guesses of the form "Are you another X?" are not allowed. Each guess must supply additional information.
Any response that matches a definition is valid. It doesn't have to be the person the guesser was thinking of.
If you think that a particular guess is right, don't say "yes, I'm ___". Make the guesser say who they're thinking of. Half the time it will be someone else.
High-risk/high-yield yes/no questions of the form "are you a living American male?" are valid.
Yes/no questions can be "banked".
Fictional names can optionally be allowed; players must agree on this beforehand.

Any number can play Botticelli. The longest game on record (spanning the state of Montana, with me guessing and Matt Ginsberg answering) was "Casper Milquetoast".

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"Yes, and...."

Son-in-law and intergenerational theater advocate Tom was pretty much insistent on our playing the game "Yes, and..." during our week at Esalen. The game, which I found on a website called "Sheer Idiocy," goes like this:


Yes, and...

Number of actors: 2 Not usually a performance game, can get a relationship or setting, but usually start with nothing.

How it works: After the first line, every line of this scene must start with "yes, and". This is an exercise in accepting offers, you should never deny anything in improv and always try to further the scene. By saying yes, and you are forced to accept what the other person said and move on from that point. One rule is that you can't ask questions. Also, never say "yes, and" and then turn around and deny it later in the line.

Tips: Always come up with something new in each line, don't just repeat what the last person said or comment on how you feel about it. "Yes, and I saw you do that and I didn't like it" is not as good as "Yes, and that was my mother you actually ran over. The funeral was yesterday."


Apparently, it's not just a game, but a philosophy, and, for improvisational theater, and life itself, a fundamental one, at that. A philosophy of listening and inclusion spelled out in a book called "Truth in Comedy: The Manual of Improvisation"

So central is this concept to the art of improvisation that a website for improvisational actors is called "YESand.com"

Is the idea of "yes, and..." so profound? Yes, and it's as profound for the rest of us as it is for amateur and professional improvisationalists. Yes, and the key is that it always begins where the other person left off. Yes, and that's the key to the heart of any relationship.

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