Dorking!    Main Page   Games

This is a fantastic game! At least, I think it is.

Trying to work out the rules while playing is difficult, but potentially rewarding. If you want to do that, I suggest you just read the following ‘Development of the Game’ section. If you just want to know how to play, scroll down further to find the rules.

Development of the game

15th September 2000: While explaining (without, of course, explaining) the game of Mao, my sister’s friend Ellie seemed very surprised. A while later she found out she had got completely the wrong impression: somehow what had been said had made her think that Mao was a game you could be playing without even realising it. This, I thought, was a fantastic proposition, and I began to think about how it could be done.

12th November 2000: With the basic rules explained to Okapi-Nick and Richard Loxley, we began to play whilst simultaneously refining the rules. The first ever winner of the game was Richard.

20th November 2000: Other games had been played, and the rules were now pretty firmly fixed, at least in my head. Test-games with Okapi-Nick, Ross, Tarim, Michael and me reveal a playable fun game with no real flaws. As with some other games, there is an element of 'good form' to consider, but this is not a problem.

One possible problem is that the game is extremely difficult to deduce from observation, mainly on account of the fact that there are rules governing when certain other rules may be disobeyed. But this shouldn't really be a problem either. Ultimately I think if someone notices that a game is going on, they deserve to be told, either after they have become bored trying to deduce it, or before, depending on their preference.

I think the ideal way to play this game is with three people who know exactly what is going on, and three that do not even realise they are playing, but this is just a guess. To play a game, find anyone mentioned above, and suggest they start one.


































The game takes the form of a conversation, and progress is monitored by the passing around of some handy innocuous object, hereafter referred to as the ‘Maguffin’.

The game starts when someone picks up a Maguffin of their choosing, and then says something while passing it from one hand to the other. Hopefully this means that sometimes, a game can be started by someone that knows nothing about the game.

The conversation carries on as normal, although players astute enough to notice that the game is afoot will now concentrate quite hard on the player with the Maguffin, who shall be referred to as the ‘Ffin’. They are attempting to ‘maguff’.

They do this by listening to what the Ffin says, and noting the last letter of the last word that they say, which is called the ‘Mag letter’. They then say something beginning with the Mag letter. An example would be:


Player 1 (Ffin): "This little pepper pot is a funny little thing."

Player 2: "Gosh yes, I’d never really noticed it before."


Finally, if the Ffin notices the player make the successful maguff, they must pass the Maguffin over to that player.

The object of the game is to maguff by saying "Dorking!", which can only occur if the Mag letter is ‘D’. The player that does this is the winner.

In the event of a tie the winner is determined by a game of Jinx, which should start quite naturally in any case.

Any mention of the word Dorking when the Mag letter is not ‘D’ is to be considered an ordinary part of the conversation, even (in fact, especially) if it isn’t.



Good form is quite important in the game of Dorking: in the pure game, the players should attempt to make all their maguffs as natural as possible, and the Maguffin should be passed around without drawing much attention. The idea is that the progress of the game can go completely unnoticed, right until the point when someone exclaims "Dorking!", much to the surprise of the unwitting players, and the amusement of the witting players.

The rules are worded quite carefully. It is vital to understand that the Maguffin will only be handed over if the Ffin notices the successful maguff: it should not be grabbed at in an unseemly fashion, nor even a seemly one should a player wish to attempt it.

Players that do not know the rules may try to take the Maguffin without completing a maguff, and this is especially likely to happen if that player is attempting to deduce the rules. Players should decide for themselves how they deal with this, but I would suggest the following:

1) The Ffin might try to force a maguff conversationally, by saying, for example, "Do you want this Doobrey?", or "Now now, ask for it nicely you cheeky young pup." or even, "You can have it if you say ‘abracadabra’."

2) If this is not successful, the Ffin may simply hand the Maguffin over, and then pick up a new object which will replace it. It is after all a marker, and has no real worth other than that which the players give it.