Read an ExcerptThe Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys: Things to Do
By Conn Iggulden
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. Copyright © 2008 Conn Iggulden
All right reserved.
Most group games involve a large number of children, like Murder in the Dark, Tug of War, and Capture the Flag. You'll play them at parties, or at Boy Scouts.
These games are the sort you can play with the family in a car, or at home. We haven't included charades, because everyone knows it already. We also haven't included I Spy, because it's the dullest game on earth. With any luck, you don't know all of these and you'll find a few worth trying.
Who Am I?
You'll need Post-It notes for this. One person writes a name on the sticky paper, then puts it on the next person's forehead so that everyone else can read the name. That person then asks questions like "Am I a man?" and "Am I dead?" until they guess who they are. Only "yes" or "no" questions are allowed. It doesn't sound like fun, but it is.
One of the authors had the odd experience of seeing someone with "Genghis Khan" on her forehead. With desperate hints, she got as far as "He was a Mongol leader who lived eight centuries ago—second name 'Khan.'" She didn't get it, so it doesn't always work. Pick names that have some chance of success.
These involve a lengthening list that always starts with the same phrase. For example: "I went to the party and I brought apples." The next person then has to come upwith something beginning with "b": "I went to the party and I brought apples and books." You continue down the alphabet, seeing how long you can keep it going. "I went to the party and I brought apples, books, a cat, dinosaurs, an elephant, foxes, goats, hats, ink . . ."
This next one is just a simple mental puzzle, but it's fun to work out.
Question: If there are two people in a room and each one shakes hands once with every other person in the room, how many handshakes are there?
Answer: One handshake.
Not too hard.
Question: If there are three people in a room and everyone shakes hands only once with everyone else, how many handshakes are there?
Answer: Three handshakes.
Now, how many handshakes will there be for five people in the room, with everyone shaking hands once with everyone else? (See the end of the chapter for the answer.)
This is one for the home rather than the car. You need four people and a pack of cards.
Deal out all the cards. Each player then arranges them so that multiples of numbers or picture cards are together, like three sevens, or three kings. The aim of the game is to get rid of all your cards without someone calling "Cheat!"
Clockwise from the dealer, each player takes his turn in laying cards face down, so that no one else can see them. At the same time, he says what they are. He might lay down three cards and say "Three eights," for example.
The next player can now lay down only eights, nines, or sevens—the same card or one up or down. If he doesn't have a card with the right number, he can risk cheating by laying down just one card, saying the number, and keeping a very straight face.
Obvious cheating is when you are sitting there with three nines and someone lays two cards, saying "Two nines" with great confidence. There are only four of each number, so you call "Cheat!"
At that point, they turn over the cards. If they have been caught cheating, they have to pick up the whole pile—and they usually discover all the other cheating that's been going on.
As the game is called Cheat, you can try putting three cards down while only declaring two. If no one notices, that's fine. As the game goes on, you have a good idea what other people have in their hands, so you can force them to cheat and pick up the pile.
With the exception of poker, this is one of the best card games we've ever played.
A card game for two players. Deal out all the cards, so you have one half of the deck each. In turns, lay down one card at a time, face up. If an ace appears, the other player must put four cards on top of it. For a king, it's three. For a queen, it's two, and just one for a jack. If another jack, queen, king, or ace appears as the penalty cards are laid down, it becomes the first player's turn to add more. If it doesn't, the player must pick up the pile. The aim of the game is to win all of your opponent's cards.
Crossing the River
This is a classic mental puzzle that you can do in your head.
A farmer is on the side of a river with a fox, a hen, and a sack of grain. His boat will only carry him and one other item. He needs to get them all across the river, but he cannot leave the fox with the hen, or the hen will be eaten. He also cannot leave the hen with the grain, or that will be eaten. How does he get all three across the river?
(Answer at the end of the chapter.)
Simple and fun. One person begins with a question such as "Is your name David?" and the next must reply with another question: "Why would you say that?" for instance. This goes on until someone hesitates or misses a question.
Hesitation/Deviation or Repetition
You'll need a stopwatch for this. The aim is to keep talking on a random subject for a minute without hesitation—a long pause, deviation—going off the subject, or repetition—saying the same word twice. If you are successfully interrupted for one of these points (a buzzer noise is always good) your opponent wins one point. The stopwatch is paused and he takes over the subject. Start the clock on him. The person talking at the end of the minute also wins a point. (Keep careful score, interruptions can happen a lot.)
Excerpted from The Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys: Things to Do by Conn Iggulden Copyright © 2008 by Conn Iggulden. Excerpted by permission.
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