A game of group silliness from Emperor Matt, of PlayFair

1. Stand in a circle

2. Close your eyes -- unless you're  the one person who doesn't want to

3. With your eyes still closed, "look" at someone more or less across the circle from you

4. After a few seconds of blissful eye-closedness, the person who wanted to keep his or her eyes open says some eye-opening bit of clever repartee, like, "open your eyes."

5. When you open your eyes, if you find yourself looking at anyone who is looking at you, scream.

6. Repeat.

7. The game ends when no one screams.


A variation we developed at Esalen:

1. Stand in a circle.

2. Silently attempt to establish eye contact with someone in the circle, creating a non-verbal agreement that if s/he will point at you, you will point at him/her.

3. Now, everyone, except for the referee, closes their eyes, and points.

4. When the referee tells everyone to open their eyes, the people who are indeed pointing at each other get to scream. Repeat.

5. The game ends when everyone screams.



n.b.: I was playing with a group of  eight-year-olds about, well, 30 years ago. We made up a finger-pointing variation of Screamless. It all started because about a minute after I had asked them to close their eyes, someone said "Johnny (name changed to protect my memory)'s peeking." I thought this was profoundly humorous (how could anyone know anyone else is peeking unless she or he was also?), but the kids didn't. So, the next round I suggested that if anyone sees anyone peeking, then they should point at the peeker. Then, if anyone was pointing at anyone who was also pointing at him or her, they'd change places or laugh or something. This game became inexplicably popular. --- BDK