Good car games?
June 14, 2005 7:39 AM   Subscribe

What are the best games to play in a car on a long road trip?
posted by smackfu to Travel & Transportation (29 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
For the whole car or to keep a child busy? When I was a kid we had lots of bingo games (sort of like these) that are good for multiple players. My mother also had me tally the 50 states' license plates as I saw them, which kept me busy on and off for several years' worth of road trips.
posted by werty at 7:47 AM on June 14, 2005

When I was young, my grandma would always make up some car bingo cards to take on long trips. Just like regular Bingo, only instead of numbers, there are items you have to find while driving.
posted by nitsuj at 7:48 AM on June 14, 2005

" I spy with my little eye..." is interesting. But I have to admit that when the kids are at the end of their ropes, I pull out my laptop and put in a disney or simpsons dvd.
posted by 445supermag at 8:01 AM on June 14, 2005

My friends and I always spend long car trips either debating things like five-hundred-dachsunds-vs-a-tiger or trying to outdo each other with heinous choices ("would you rather have to take all of your nourishment for a month by suckling from a miraculously-lactating Andy Rooney, or appear as the anonymous third star in a 3-hour pornographic epic starring Whoopi Goldberg and Randy Quaid?").

You can adjust the shock level of your questions to suit the occupants of the car, of course.
posted by COBRA! at 8:01 AM on June 14, 2005

If you're travelling with an older crowd, something like The Book of Horrible Questions is always good for conversation. My friends and I play something like this whenever we have a lot of time we need to kill, and it always leads to some interesting conversations.

semi-related, as a result of one of these conversations: Once, at work, a friend actually ate a bowl of stuff (I remember we used egg-drop soup, ketchup, salt & pepper, mayo, a pat of butter, Mountain Dew, wasabi, crushed up fortune cookies, someone's SALIVA (ew!), mustard, and a bunch of other stuff). He told us that we can all put whatever we want in the bowl of soup if we gave him $5 per item. He actually ate the whole bowl. I didn't have to put any money in (even though I probably started the conversation!), I just sat back and watched.

on preview: COBRA!, wanna take a road trip with me?
posted by AlisonM at 8:07 AM on June 14, 2005

First person: I went to the [fill in whatever here] and on my way I saw a _____ [something beginning with A].

Next person: I went to the [whatever] and on my way I saw a _____ [begins with B] and a [the same A thing as before].

Subsequent persons in turn: Continue through the alphabet, using the exact same things mentioned for all previously deployed letters, and adding your own at the end. The weirder/sillier the better.
posted by matildaben at 8:10 AM on June 14, 2005

Or, you can just put the word "anal" in front of the name of every car you see [adults only, of course].
posted by matildaben at 8:10 AM on June 14, 2005

on preview: COBRA!, wanna take a road trip with me?

Sure. Wanna hit Andy Rooney's place?
posted by COBRA! at 8:17 AM on June 14, 2005

20 questions! Teaches the kids how to use the process of elimination and can also be very fun. Is it alive? Is it man-made? Is it bigger than the car? One person has something they are thinking of, and everybody else alternates asking questions. If you can't figure it out in 20, the person that is answering the questions wins. Also fun for adults!

Screw-Marry-Kill. Name 3 people. Decide of the three who you would rather screw, marry, or kill. Can be surprisingly fun, and enlightening. The only rule is that each set of 3 must be the same gender. IE Aristotle, Plato, Socrates can be presented to a male or a female. My answer to this one was, screw Socrates, as he'd probably know what he was doing, kill Plato because he'd be more interested in his books than me, and marry Aristotle because he would be the most level headed and reliable, and would raise the kids well. Other entertaining sets include celebrities, world leaders, superheroes, historical figures, or religious leaders.
posted by tweak at 8:30 AM on June 14, 2005

My two favorite car games are Geography and Botticelli.

(Geography: pick a proper noun describing a geographic place. It could be a mountain range, a river, a city, a state, a country, etc. The 2nd person must pick a new place beginning with the letter that your place ended with. The 3rd person must pick a new place beginning with the letter that the 2nd person's place ended with. The first person to give up takes awhile, but eventually certain letter repeat enough that someone gets stumped. For example: Denver-->Raleigh--> Houston-->Namibia-->Australia, etc.)
posted by equipoise at 8:34 AM on June 14, 2005

"I got moo." Whenever someone sees a cow pasture, they say "I got moo!" and get a point. Someone who sees a graveyard can say "I got bones!" and erase everyone elses' moos.

Ok, so it's not a *good* game.
posted by absalom at 8:39 AM on June 14, 2005

*resists temptation to post Screw-Marry-Kill MeFite list*
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:27 AM on June 14, 2005

In the same light as equipoise, someone says the name of a famous person/celebrity, the next to go must say another famous person with the first name starting with the first letter of the last name of the previous player's . Player 1: Marlon Brando. Player 2: Bob Dylan. And so on. If someone says the name of a famous person who's first and last name start with the same letter, play reverses. Player 2: Bob Dylan. Player 3: Danny DeVito. Player 2: Donald Trump..... and now play goes the other direction. Two really good players can battle it out with the double names. This is not nearly as educational as the goegraphy version, by the way.
posted by brheavy at 9:32 AM on June 14, 2005

I like the name game: someone says a famous person's name (Alfred Hitchcock), and the next player has to come up with another famous person's name where the first name starts with the first letter of the previous person's last name (Herb Alpert), and so on around the group. A single word name (Madonna, Cher) passes the same initial on to the next player, while a double initial (Mickey Mouse, Harry Houdini) reverses the direction of play. "Famous person" is defined by the group playing; if at least one other player has heard of the person, it's acceptible.

I've played for literally hours before. It's particularly good in the car, though probably better for older folks with more celebrity names to draw on.
posted by me3dia at 9:36 AM on June 14, 2005

Your explanation is better, brheavy, although you left out one-name celebrities.
posted by me3dia at 9:38 AM on June 14, 2005

I have passed many a mile with friends playing the 'movie game' as derived from the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

First player picks a movie in their mind.
Second player randomly guesses a movie.
First player has to pick an actor from that movie.
Second player then picks another movie that stars said actor.
First player picks a new actor from that movie.

Game continues until you reach the movie originally chosen by player 1.

Rules are no repeat actors or movies, and you switch off from trying to find a movie and trying to find an actor.

[recycled from this thread about road tripping]
posted by karmaville at 9:53 AM on June 14, 2005

With kids, 20 questions (known to my family as the animal game, since we don't bother with vegetables or minerals) is the winner, closely followed by the alphabet game: find the alphabet in order on signs. Are license plates allowed? Bicker about this for hours.

We also once kept a roadkill journal complete with mile marker notes, species, condition - eventually we discovered that there was an average of .34 dead animals per mile on I-95 between Charleston and Baltimore. Or something like that. Anyway it was very popular. Keeping a trip journal in general is fun; if you have a polaroid it's even better. Write down all the weird things - the song that keeps playing on the radio, the number of Stuckey's signs, the cows and the odd in jokes that develop on a road trip. It may be best to burn it at the end.
posted by mygothlaundry at 9:56 AM on June 14, 2005

brheavy+m3dia : this is SO the game my friends and I invented!! :)

Another one I like (and you can do it on your own) is to make words out of car-plates letters (ie "159 KG 92" would give "KING"). Shortest word for a chosen plate wins. Ideally, the word has to begin with the left letter and end with the right letter.
Works fine in France, dunno about the US, with vanity plates and al...

Fun for all the family!
posted by XiBe at 10:00 AM on June 14, 2005

My favorite thing to play in the car was Mad Libs.
posted by geeky at 10:41 AM on June 14, 2005

XiBe: it may very well be your game. I only learned of it this past April from some friends in New Jersey. They learned it from girlfriends in Connecticut.

me3dia: good point about the one namers and the rules for "famous person". Hopefully our combined explanations will further the cause.
posted by brheavy at 10:45 AM on June 14, 2005

brheavy and me3dia, I've only ever known that game as a drinking game we used to play back in college in the early 90s. (chug if you can't think of a name in 3sec).

I second for Botticelli, and when we don't feel like playing games we go though the alphabet and discuss something starting with each letter for 5 minutes. Interestingly, when there are only adults in the car, it usually kicks off with anal sex. Hrrmm.
posted by gaspode at 11:37 AM on June 14, 2005

When you see an out-of-state licence plate, take a drink.
When you see a Canadian plate, take two drinks.
When you see roadkill, take three drinks

Make up company names from the three letter portion of the licence plates:
KHP-139: Krispy Hospital Products
MNO-139: Mary's 'Nam Orthopedics
LXK -139: Liquid Xenon Karts
MQB-139: Matt's Quonsar Banhammers

posted by Rumple at 11:48 AM on June 14, 2005

I just took a rather lengthy car trip, and we entertained ourselves by inventing and playing GAME.

It's quite simple. All you're doing is spelling the word *game* (*games*, if there are an even number of players).

Each player shouts the next letter in sequence, you don't stop until somebody screws up or gets so anxious that they jump in on someone else's turn.

Player One: G!
Player Two: A!
Player Three: M!
Player One: E!
Player Two: G!
Player Three: A!
...etc, etc, etc.

You get four screw-ups, then you're out and play continues without you.
posted by inging at 12:01 PM on June 14, 2005

The Alphabet game is extremely good. Find words on signs starting with A, then with B, then with C... each person in the car can compete against the others (each one trying to get their own complete set), or you can collaborate. X is nearly impossible; sometimes you can allow that one inside words.

My personal variant on Screw-Marry-Kill is called Slice-Stab-Shoot. It's slightly more bloodthirsty, and is reserved only for truly reprehensible celebrities. Playing it makes me feel dirty, frankly, but in a certain media-saturated mood it's the only sane, satisfying response.
posted by logovisual at 12:08 PM on June 14, 2005

We always played the alphabet game (searching for just the letters, not words beginning with the letter. It's a fun game, but there's seroius slowdown at J and Q.
posted by graventy at 1:42 PM on June 14, 2005

"I'm going on a picnic" can be fun with a group of more than four, especially if you have someone who can be counted on to be clueless. First person secretly thinks of a rule (things beginning with 'N', things that are red, things that rhyme with "pie", things that start with the first letter of the player's name, etc - any rule is a good rule), then uses the rule to finish the sentence "I'm going on a picnic, and I'm taking _____". Next player repeats "I'm going on a picnic and I'm taking..." and tries desperately to guess the unspoken rule based on the first player's example by filling in a word of his own. First player says "You can go on the picnic" if the word conforms, "You can't go" if it doesn't. On to next player, etc. Usually it takes three or four rounds til someone gets the rule and starts going on the picnic every time it's her turn. Play continues until everyone gets the rule. Fun, especially with a creative group that makes up really random and strange rules.
posted by donnagirl at 1:52 PM on June 14, 2005

"In Grandma's attic I found..." is always a fun one. You list an object that starts with the letter A. Person #2 has to say "In Grandma's attic I found an [previous A-letter word] and a [new B-letter word]." Player #3 has to repeat the A- and B-letter words, then add a C-letter word.

If it's a bunch of adults playing, you can keep going around and around the alphabet numerous times until someone completely screws up.
posted by rhapsodie at 1:56 PM on June 14, 2005

We played several of the games mentioned here, but there was one I played as a child with my parents and now still play with my children, called ghost.

First player chooses a letter (e.g.: B). Second player adds a letter (eg: E = BE). Next player adds another letter--the object being NOT to finish a word, tho this only counts for 3 letters and up (eg: N = BEN) and so on. (Eg: won't want to pick T or D, E might work for Benefit--once you get to BENEF, it could morpf into benefactor, etc.)

So. The object is not to finish a word (proper nouns don't count). If you do finish a word, you get the letter G. The next time you finish a word, you get an H. And so on until someone gets GHOST and then they're out.

You can play with 2 or more players.

OH, and challenges. If someone cannot think of a word to suit the combination of letters they have, then they can challenge the person who added the last letter. If that person has a valid word, then the person who made the challenge gets a letter and the round is over. If the person who added the last letter does not have a valid word in mind, then THEY get the letter and the round is over.

I hope that's understandable. It's really a fun and challenging game. Easy enough that young-ish kids can play it and challenging enough that adults don't get sick of it too soon.

Duh! Directions here:
posted by altobarb at 4:21 PM on June 14, 2005

What happened to punch buggy and "I'm not touching you"?
One I like is hangman like, with two people. Each picks a word of equal length, and you trade back and forth guessing letters. It's hard with no paper and words like oaxaca.
posted by klangklangston at 11:01 AM on June 15, 2005

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