Lifegame    Games Main Page
Many people play this great game, (or parts of it), without fully appreciating its nature. This is a game that you can play all the time, your entire life, hence the name I have labelled it with. In truth, it combines several sub-games of life, but the fact that they all work together so well suggests to me that they be considered part of the greater game. I am always on the lookout for new sub-games to add, so if you think of any, don't forget to e-mail me with them at
1) 'Jinx': This is a very simple children's game, played in many variants throughout everywhere I've looked. The basic premise is that, if you say something at the same time someone else says the same thing, then either of you is allowed to say "Jinx". Whichever one fails to say it is then 'Jinxed' and is unable (read: unallowed) to speak, until their name is spoken. There are of course many things that follow on from this basic premise: the most important, I think, is the fact that if both players say 'Jinx' at the same time, naturally play begins again - but this time the players must say 'Double Jinx'. Presumably if they both manage this, they go on to 'Triple Jinx' etc, but exactly how it works around this area I am not sure. I have witnessed two 'double jinxes' and recently even 'won' one, which was precipitated by saying bless-you, to a computer game character! Fantastic. Rule variants should be agreed upon with those you are likely to find yourself playing the Lifegame with. For example, you will probably want to disallow 'Jinx' if two people both laugh at the same time, or make any other kind of non-verbal sound simultaneously. Also you might demand that they be truly identical - 'Didn't' being different to 'Did not' - or you might not. One of the largest areas of variation is the penalty, because it has a strong potential for being thoroughly unreasonable. For ease of play, you might require that the victim's forename needs to be said within their hearing by anyone, once, and that if this does not occur within a minute, they are released anyway. The other end of the scale could be that the 'Jinxer' has to say the victim's FULL name three times before they are free of the jinx, and until that time they must remain silent! This seems a little harsh, but it also raises the stakes of the game, so may well be a good thing.
2) 'Freeze, Shutup, Talk': Here's one imported from France. All the players are allowed to tell one another, at any time, to do one of the following:
Freeze - stop moving your body. (Breathing and other actions necessary to stay alive are permitted)
Shutup - Stop talking, and do not say another word
Talk - Start talking, and keep it up. Any words will do (I think) but it is often easiest to resort to saying "Blah blah blah blah-"
Whichever of the above the player is doing, they may only stop when they are commanded to Unfreeze, Unshutup, or Untalk (by any other player). The players must decide for themselves how often it is acceptable to use these commands - ideally, you should only reserve them for moments when it will have maximum comedy effect and minimum serious consequences. Players that overuse commands risk being excluded (i.e. disobeyed), and players that never obey the commands will probably not be heeded when they give the commands themselves. As you can see, this one requires a lot of self-balancing.
3) 'Sneezing': A simple game which many play without even considering it a game. When someone (other than yourself) sneezes, everyone who hears them must then race to be the first to say, "Bless-you!" - this of course makes it highly likely that a Jinx will come into play shortly afterwards! After a few seconds have past, the sneezer might say "Bless-me", to remind everyone of the game. Computer game characters sneezing definitely counts as well.
4) 'We're all playing the game...': Whenever you remember that you are playing the game, it is your duty to remind everyone else that they are playing too, and that they should also remind you whenever they remember. This helps to keep one's awareness of the lifegame up, as it can be quite easy to forget all about it!
5) Dorking and Mao: The game of Dorking fits in quite nicely with the lifegame, in a potentially quite surreal way. It may be advisable to consider how the Lifegame will interact with Dorking: the phrase "Jinx" could be exempt from the game, but a sneeze, "Ah-ah-ah-achooo!" could well be a valid play. Mao, on the other hand, does not tend to go with Jinx very well: you may have to agree with your fellow players on what to do with the rules of both games in this case.
6) 'Who could that be?': As you can tell by now, there are many other possibilities for sub-games, but it is best to restrict them to ones that most people are likely to be playing without realising. In this rule, a knock on a door, ring on a doorbell, ring of a (non-mobile, optionally) phone or perhaps even a 'you have new mail' noise, is the cue for a race to be the first to say, "Who could that be?" which in turn leads to Jinx potential - this can be particularly amusing if the person that gets jinxed is also the person that answers the door/phone!
7) Chinese Gooseberries: Here is a rather odd game which doesn't really interact with the others especially, but is nonetheless another interesting game to play in life. One merely attempts to avoid saying a particular word, ever. In some cases there is a valid synonym you could attempt to use in its place. A game for other people to play is, naturally, to try to trick you into saying this word. Myself, I play it with swear-words. I've messed up twice in my life so far, and the last time was when I was about eleven, so I'm doing pretty well...
8) Even/Especially: In a normal conversation, someone might say something like, for example, "It doesn't matter if there is no free will, even if you are God". The lifegame response would be to immediately say, "Especially if you are God!", and then to think about whether that is a meaningful thing to say afterwards. Thus more jinx possibilities are created, as everyone, including the original speaker, has the chance to add this meaningful/less rejoinder! N.B. playtesting suggests that this might actually come up too often!