Reverse Idiot, as played by DELPH-INites
This game is also known as "Contact" and played with slight variations. Below is the variation as played in DELPH-IN circles.
- Players: 3+, but 5-10 seems optimal
- Teams: "It" v. rest of the players
- Starting: It thinks of a word ("target word") and divulges the first letter. Generally whoever comes up with a word first is It.
- Game play:
- Other players work together to get It to divulge their word, letter by letter until someone guesses the full word.
- This is done by providing clues to other words ("candidate words") consistent with the known target word prefix.
- There is no turn rotation: Players provide clues as they think of them.
- It can defend against such clues by saying "No it's not X" where X is a word that is consistent with both the clue and the known prefix.
- If X is not in fact the candidate word, but players agree it is consistent with the clue, then for the clue to remain live the clue giver has to refine it.
- Other players, if they think they know the candidate word matching the clue, raise 10 fingers and count down, giving It 10 more seconds to defend the clue.
- If It fails to in that time, then the player who has finished counting says their guess as to the candidate word.
- The clue giver confirms whether or not it matches what they had in mind.
- If so, then It has to divulge one more letter.
- If not, then the clue is still live (but can be abandoned).
- A round ends when all the letters are divulged or (more commonly) a player proposes a candidate word that matches the target word. Either the player who proposed the clue or the player who guesses the candidate word is the next It.
It: My word starts with m.
A: Is it supernatural?
It: Not it is not magic.
B: Is it useful for measuring?
It: Not it is not the metric system.
B [refining their clue]: Is it useful for measuring temperature?
C: Got it! [Holds up hands and starts counting down from 10]
C [Having gotten to 0]: Mercury?
B: Yes, that was my word!
It: The next letter is a.
C: Is it a bland condiment?
It: It might be...
A: Got it! [After counting down] Mayonnaise.
It: Yep, that's it. [At this point, C or A is the next It.]
Side cases, further notes
- Both the target and candidate words must be English words (including well established borrowings) and may not be only proper nouns. However, words that are homophonous with proper nouns can be evoked via their proper noun sense.
- When desperate (i.e. when it becomes difficult to think of candidate words given the known prefix) it is customary to come up with clues of the form "Is it how Francis would spell..." but generally additional letters are not earned via such clues.
- If someone ends up being It again before everyone has had a turn, they can arrow someone else to do it in their stead.