What's that game where you draw spaceships and flick your pencil toward your enemy spaceships to draw a line and make them explode?
October 25, 2011 6:49 AM   Subscribe

Looking for simple games to play while waiting for food or subways.

For a project this winter, I am going to try to make an illustrated zine or short book of simple but strange games that don't require dice or boards.

Previous questions had some great ideas that I plan to use, but right now I am looking for some less intellectual/verbal and more strange/goofy/nostalgic junior high cafeteria games that are not widely known. Some that I am planning to include are Quarter Basketball, exquisite corpse, and sugar packet shuffleboard.

Please post any games that seem like they might fit. Right now I am trying to make a giant list of possible games before narrowing it down to the ones that I will illustrate. There is probably a wikipedia page or good book of games like this, but I have not been able to find it. If you find it, please post a link.

As an example of what I am looking for, here is a picture I made for liar's poker.
posted by DaveZ to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Insert knife blade into fork tines. Twist fork enough that knife does not fall out when you take your hand away. Have fellow diner do the same. The goal is to whack your knife on their knife in such a way that theirs slips out buy yours stays put. Ready? FIGHT!

I have 15 years of practice, so don't be challenging me until you've got some serious wins under your belt. The penalty for losing is I steal your french fries.
posted by pjaust at 6:56 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Here are a couple I described a while back. They work best with a larger group (4+).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:00 AM on October 25, 2011

Paper football.
posted by 3FLryan at 7:03 AM on October 25, 2011

And Paper Soccer, Penny Football and Shove ha'penny. Haven't played these, though.
posted by 3FLryan at 7:09 AM on October 25, 2011

While waiting for food: Frog tiddlywinks. Fold empty sugar packets into tiny jumping frogs and take turns trying to hop your frog into a glass on the table. If the glass contains liquid, you'll be needing spare frogs.

(I do not recommend playing this game in a posh restaurant.)
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 7:16 AM on October 25, 2011

Slappy hands!

You and your competitor face each other with your hands out at waist height. The slapper has their hands palm up; the slappee has their hands fpalm down on top of the slapper's hands. The slapper's goal is to slap the slappee's hands; the slappee's goal is to not get slapped. The slappee can avoiding slapping by jerking their hands away. The slapper is free to use mind tricks and feints.

If the slapper attempts a slap and misses, they become the slappee.
posted by punchtothehead at 7:55 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Is it more like Stalin or more like a tree?

One person thinks of something (like twenty questions) and the first question asked to try to guess is the one above. The answer is either Stalin or tree, nothing else. Then the next question is the answer to the prior question, plus any one other thing the asker chooses, eg: is it more like Stalin or more like Anne of Green Gables? Is it more like Anne of Green Gables or more like a volcano? Etc etc. It requires some imagination and creative thinking and the absurdity is part of the fun.
posted by Salamandrous at 7:56 AM on October 25, 2011 [15 favorites]

Nim. I learned this game in the movie Last Year in Marienbad.
posted by TheGoodBlood at 8:10 AM on October 25, 2011

I call this droodles, can't remember where I got it.
You need a piece of paper and a pen/pencil
One person makes a squiggly or jagged line, the other person turns it into a picture. Works well waiting for service at a sitdown restaurant.
posted by judybxxx at 8:29 AM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

Play observation games like "What does that person do for a living and how does s/he feel about it?"
posted by jander03 at 8:44 AM on October 25, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the great responses. I want to favorite them all.

PJaust - I like that one. Physical objects are fun to include in the illustrations.

Ends of Invention - sorry I didn't see your post before posting my question. It has a lot of what I am looking for.

Salamandrous - funny that you started with Stalin, a friend just translated her mother's Russian description of the same game into English for me. In Russian it is called ассоциации (associations).

Jander03 - I think I am going to include a few observation games - probably "Trapped on an island with everyone on this subway car" and "Defend yourself from the Terminator using only items available in this bathroom".
posted by DaveZ at 9:17 AM on October 25, 2011

"What's your favorite?" -- person comes up with topic or group and others share their favorite member or item in the topic or group and tell why. Person asking the question picks favorite answer, and that person comes up with the next topic.

"Draw yourself as..." like "What's your favorite?" but rather than a topic, participants draw portraits of themselves as the thing or idea the person leading comes up with. Again, the asker picks a favorite response, and that person chooses the next form.
posted by activitystory at 9:34 AM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Like shuffleboard, you can also play bocce on the dining room table-scale.

Nothing brings back elementary school cafeterias like Fortune telling.
posted by tchemgrrl at 9:49 AM on October 25, 2011

"What's your favorite?" -- person comes up with topic or group and others share their favorite member or item in the topic or group and tell why. Person asking the question picks favorite answer, and that person comes up with the next topic.

Similarly — "Over or Under?" where someone posits a person or thing and asks if he/she/it is over- or under-rated.
posted by papercake at 11:55 AM on October 25, 2011

A game that is popular with London schoolchildren aged 9-11* is 'double-oh-seven'**.

Players (1v1) cross their arms over and tap their shoulders one, twice, then make their 'move'. This can be to shoot (hands forward into gun pose), guard (crossed arms touching shoulders) or 'reload' (shoot gun hands into air).

Each reload enables you to shoot one more time (thus the first move in a game is invariably that both players reload). If you are 'shot' while reloading, you have lost. Shot vs guard, or shot vs shot, does nothing except waste your bullet.

At the school I taught at there was a rule that if you got up to 10 bullets stored up, you got a 'bazooka' that was unblockable - that seems a good rule (it penalizes turtling) but I can't confirm that it isn't a house rule.

*: I can't strongly verify this statement, but I have seen it played with identical rules by pupils of both an expensive central-london independent school and a small north-london state one.

**: I also can't verify that pupils at other schools call it this.
posted by piato at 12:40 PM on October 26, 2011

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