Wednesday, November 27, 2013

How to Play The Picnic Game

This brain-melting game starts with a riddle and ends when the riddle is solved. The riddle is a pattern, and whoever is chosen to be the riddler creates the pattern by saying "I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing [blank]". He or she will repeat only that phrase to give clues that establish the chosen pattern. After each time a clue is given, anyone else who is playing may take a guess at the pattern, or ask for another clue. The trick for the guesser(s) is to find things all the clues have in common. The trick for the riddler is to use vague patterns and give clues that seem to have many things in common.

Here's a cheesy example for the sake of further explanation because I feel my instructions may sound messy:

Riddler: I'm going on a picnic, and I'm bringing mayonnaise.
Guesser: Sandwich things?
Wrong, so the riddler simply gives another clue, without saying anything else related to the game.
Riddler: I'm going on a picnic, and I'm bringing macaroni.
Guesser: Foods?
Wrong again, so the riddler gives another clue.
Riddler: I'm going on a picnic, and I'm bringing magic.
Guesser: Things that start with M!
Ding ding ding, we have a winner!

Notice how the riddler in this example starts off listing foods, even though the pattern is "things that start with M", to throw the guesser off. What a marvelous demonstration of manipulating technique!

When the guesser finally guesses the pattern, he or she may choose to switch roles or keep them the same. If the guesser forfeits, the riddler gets to decide on role-reversal. If you're the competitive type, you can call each guesser's wins a point and tally up your scores at the end.

Patterns should be reasonably factual rather than opinionated in order to be fair. For instance, you shouldn't really use "my favorite foods" as a pattern--that is, unless you want to see how well someone knows you!

- Riddlers may or may not use the Internet to look up creative patterns or clues.
- Guessers may or may not have a limited amount of guesses.
- The game may be played while the riddler and guesser(s) are separated (at school, at work, etc.), leaving the guesser to ponder the riddle and the riddler to brainstorm more clues. This suggestion is great for obscure, hard-to-decode patterns.

Pattern examples/ideas for inspiration:
- Animals that live in the desert (antelope, bat, camel, dingo...)
- Alternating between animals that have two legs and animals that have four legs (flamingo, coyote, blue jay, cat, toucan...)
- The weight of the objects you are "bringing to the picnic" increases with each clue (feather, leaf, stone, dog, elephant...)
- The riddler does not make eye contact while giving clues (using body language as a pattern can be very sneaky!)

Let us know what brilliant patterns you use and if any brains were melted!

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