how to play contact?
February 24, 2009 9:54 AM   Subscribe

Has anyone ever played this word-guessing game? It's called Contact, and it's a little like Botticelli. I have some questions about gameplay, if anyone's played it and is pretty familiar with the rules.
posted by pipti to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yes indeed! You should probably ask them.
posted by stresstwig at 10:19 AM on February 24, 2009

Response by poster: Okay, question 1: do you play that the Wordmaster cannot win? That doesn't seem terribly fun.
2) If two players have "contact," and the Wordmaster challenges them, and they don't say the same word at the same time, is there any penalty?
3) If the Wordmaster says "No, it is not [guessed word]," but it's the wrong guessed word (but still fits the clue) what happens? is there a penalty?
4) How many people have to have "contact"? We played with a majority, but that seems too easy--the clue has to be too easy if three or four people have to get it.

thanks! We played this weekend and it was kind of a stilted affair--we kept bumping up against these questions.
posted by pipti at 10:24 AM on February 24, 2009

Problematically, there is no real way the Wordmaster can win. Really, he can only lengthen the amount of time it takes the collective team to win. Because if he keeps guessing the clues, more clues just keep getting provided. At no point is there a Wordmaster win.
2) When we play, if the word is not said at the same time we throw it out. Makes it easy, because who knows if the players actually had it all correctly.
3) No extra penalty as far as I know. Simply, they didn't get it, therefore the team has the chance to get another letter (if the versions we are playing are the same).
4) Everybody! Everybody must get it. That is part of the trick and fun.

Again, these are just the rules I was taught.
posted by stresstwig at 10:51 AM on February 24, 2009

1) There isn't an official way for the wordmaster to win, but there have been times where everyone was stumped so we gave up and pronounced him/her the winner.
2) There is no penalty for an incorrect guess, although the wordmaster does not have to reveal another letter.
3) As long as they say a word that we decide fits the clue then it is as if they guessed the right solution and another clue is offered with no penalty.
4) We play that only one other person needs to have a contact no matter how large the group is.
posted by andoatnp at 11:47 AM on February 24, 2009

By the way, if it wasn't clear from my answer, these are just the rules we have been playing with, and I would encourage you to play the game in whatever way you find most enjoyable.
posted by andoatnp at 11:49 AM on February 24, 2009

A distinction in the way we play from the Wikipedia directions: When a guesser gives a description and someone else says "contact," they both start counting down from 10. after "one," they both say the word they were thinking of at the same time. The wordmaster can guess as many words as she likes ("it's not X" "it's not Y") during the countdown. If the wordmaster gets the word right, the countdown stops.

1. We play that the wordmaster wins when the guessers give up or the wordmaster gives the last letter.
2. In that case, there's no penalty for anyone.
3. Again, no penalty for anyone. The guessers keep counting down.
4. We play this part like andoatnp. The cluegiver and one other person saying "contact" are all it takes.

This game is so much fun! Good choice!
posted by thewestinggame at 12:30 PM on February 24, 2009

Pretty much what everyone else has said.

This is my favorite game ever, hands down!
In my experience,

1. The wordmaster wins if the guessers can't guess the word and the wordmaster must completely spell the word.
2. The word is thrown out and cannot be used again for a clue if it is guessed incorrectly.
3. No penalty.
4. I have always played that a majority must have contact, especially within a larger group. If it's just a few people, all of them need to have contact.

Hope this helps, and happy contacting!
posted by derogatorysphinx at 1:40 PM on February 24, 2009

Oooh, Contact! Here's how we play:

1) Wordmaster wins if the others can't find out the wordmaster's word. If they manage to get enough letters to completely spell it, the others win.

2) This hasn't really come up. The people with contact usually go "3 2 1" to establish a cadence, and then say their word when "0" would come up. We're usually lenient if it's not at exactly the same time. If there's too much of a gap, we'd probably just not count the contact as a success (i.e. same as if they had said different words).

3) Nothing.

4) We play where just two people need contact. If more than two have contact, it's a success if the person who proposes the clue agrees with one of the others, but not if the others agree with each other. e.g. Person A gives a clue, and People B and C have contact. After the wordmaster challenges, we deem the contact a success if A says the same thing as either B or C, but not if B and C are the same but different from A.
posted by losvedir at 1:41 PM on February 24, 2009

1) Wordmaster wins when everyone gives up.
2) One of the contactees says the word. This counts even if it's not the word the clue giver was thinking of (as long as it fits the clue).
3) As long as the wordmaster's guess fits the clue, it counts as a correct answer.
4) Just the clue giver and one other person.

A few other things that have come up (because we like to overthink and argue)
a) If the clue is the target word, the wordmaster can change the target word as long as it hasn't previously been ruled out. Simple example. Target word is line. Given letters are L-I. Is it the shortest distance between two points? No, it's not a line (it's now a lion). The guy who taught us the game pointed out that there's no real way to enforce NOT changing the target word, so you might as well make that allowable.

b) As long as the wordmaster's guess fits the clue, he can keep guessing the same word, until you phrase the clue in such a way as to rule out that word. So, if your clue word is lion, and you say, "Is it a cat?", he can say, "No, it's not a lynx." Then, you say, "Is it a large wild cat?" and he can still say, "No, it's not a lynx." You'd have to ask, "Is it a large cat with a mane?"
posted by natabat at 3:20 PM on February 24, 2009

I LOVE THIS GAME. It is great to play with mates while riding around on the NYC subway and PATH trains.

I more or less agree with everyone else's rules. I play no proper names.

1) wordmaster only wins if the others cannot further figure a word out that fits the clue. In other words they give up.

2) Usually one person will give a clue to everyone or direct it at one person. When its a general knowledge i will just tell everyone. However, for a very specific question i will call someone out. example: John (works in IT & a forum nerd)

Me - "John, someone who reads threads but does not write. 1 2 3"
John & me - "troll"

Works a lot better then saying fantasy creature living under a bridge, 1 2 3.

3) wordmaster can burn any word if it fits the clues.

4) I play that only the clue giver and one guesser have to say the word

As you have figured out inside jokes / knowledge etc. are really great for this game
posted by Black_Umbrella at 3:47 PM on February 24, 2009

We do a countdown, and only 2 people need to guess. Keeps the game moving.
Words are thrown out if people said 2 (or 3 or however many) different words.
posted by olya at 8:45 PM on February 24, 2009

Response by poster: thanks everyone!
posted by pipti at 1:15 PM on February 25, 2009

The rules are really confusing (OK - I'm really stupid). Could somebody take me through an example game?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:52 AM on February 26, 2009

Response by poster: Obiwan: check your mail!
posted by pipti at 11:46 AM on February 26, 2009

Response by poster: p.s. if anyone's still reading this: do you play, like Black_Umbrella does, that inside jokes are okay?
posted by pipti at 11:48 AM on February 26, 2009

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