Pictures & Phrases

I’ve been asked, “What’s your favorite game in the book?” I don’t know how to answer, because I feel that I’m expected to dodge the question, “It’s like choosing who your favorite child is” or say something clever “Whichever I’m playing at the moment!” But the honest answer is Pictures & Phrases.

I wish it were one that I created myself, of course. Something I could say, “Only people who bought Social Nonsense know about XYZ.” But no, my favorite game in the book had to be the one that gets the “Oh! I used to play that!” response from browsers. (BTW: If you browse a book in front of its author, you are the most interesting person in the world at that moment and the author is watching you very closely and trying to pretend s/he isn’t.)

So – Pictures & Phrases. Why do I love the holy heck out of that one? It’s really easy to explain and not even slightly threatening to new people, while never losing its fun and surprises for people who do this often. Like Chips Ahoy cookies or pouncy kittens, it’s a classic I will never tire of! (“of which I will never tire?”)

Facilitating Tip: Don’t over-explain Pictures & Phrases. Have everyone write the song lyric without telling them what happens next. Then have them fold and pass without telling them what happens next. Etc. Etc. A delightful progression of surprises.

One time I was doing this with a bunch of college students, and one student wrote, as his song lyric, “It was the Summer of ’69.” The person who went after him was an unfortunately excellent artist. That was awkward. I’m not going to share that picture! But this one was from a workshop I just did in New York. They were all great, and I’m picking a few at random.