Parlour Games are an important part of CTS traditions, and are regularly played at games nights. Here are the rules for some of them!
Consequences is a classic parlour game and one that can provide much amusement. Players essentially write (usually bizarre) stories according to a set format, but with each person only contributing one part. Each player starts with paper and a pen. Someone then calls out each of the categories in turn; once each category has been called out, all the players write a valid response to that category, fold the paper over to conceal what they have written, then hand it to the next player. As such each player provides only a small part of the overall story, and nobody knows what the other characters are or what on earth is going on, leading to amusing results!
The usual setup for the categories is as follows:
- Name a Character
- Name a second character
- Decide where they met
- Write what character 1 said
- Write what character 2 said
- Write what happened next/what they did together
- Decide upon the consequence
The game is occasionally played with two rounds of conversation (C1, C2, C1, C2) before the action/doing section. This is workable; more than two tends to get too disjointed. It is an allowable convention to use [C1] and [C2] in the speech, action, or consequence sections to denote that the first or second character's name should be slotted in there.
A note on paper folding and technique: the game is more workably if the paper is used in portrait/lengthways format, always making the folds forwards towards the current writer/artist, and taking care not to draw or write on the fold itself but below it on the "clean" part of the paper.
Contact is one of the most common games played at almost every CTS games night, and some other meetings. It's an excellent way to both have fun and test your knowledge out!
It's easiest to show you the rules via a demonstration. Imagine four hobbits - Mungo, Amaranth, Balbo, and Ameralda - are playing. Mungo is the "asker" for the first round. The other three are the "guessers".
Mungo then thinks up a word - for example, "Shire." The other players are ultimately trying to guess what the word is. Mungo gives the others the first letter - "S". The other two players can now think of things beginning with S, and ask Mungo indirectly whether he is that thing. The aim in the early stages is to get something that the other two can think of but Mungo can't, thus making "contact". If this happens, Mungo must give them an additional letter.
So, for example, Ameralda may ask "Are you the white wizard?". If Mungo can think of an answer that fits with his revealed letters, he can say "No, I am not Saruman", and the guessers must try something else. It is technically valid to keep cycling through "are you a different X" (for example, if the letter was F and the guessers were going through the elves), but considered a little unsporting. If Mungo cannot think of a valid answer that fits, and the other guessers can, one of them may say "Contact". Once this happens, the players who have "made contact" can count down, and must both say their answer out loud. If the guesser who asked the question and one other guesser get the same answer, Mungo must reveal another letter (only one is required - if Amaranth and Ameralda both said "Saruman" in this case, it would not matter if Balbo was a wooly-pated ninny and said "Shadowfax").
Note that if the question is actually correctly pointing at Mungo's word, he can still get out of it if he can think of a valid alternative. If, for example, his word was "Harad", and he'd been forced to reveal "Har-", and then Amaranth asked "are you a southerly region of Middle-Earth?" then Mungo could avoid admitting to being Harad by saying "No, I am not Harondor". Once a question is asked that points directly at his word to which Mungo cannot think of an alternative answer, he admits what the word is and whoever asked the last question thinks of a new one.
As that probably all sounds quite complicated (it isn't in practice!), let's go through a full game.
BALBO: Are you a hobbit?
MUNGO: No, I am not Fatty Bolger.
AMARANTH: Are you a captain of men?
MUNGO: No, I am not Faramir.
AMERALDA: Are you a dwarf?
A & A: 5... 4... 3... 2... 1.. Fili!
MUNGO: Of course! "F E"
AMARANTH: Are you "Of Serech"?
MUNGO: No, I am not a fen.
BALBO: Do you come in a "proud" variety for hobbits, and a "stone" variety for dwarves?
MUNGO: Erm, I don't think so...
A & A: Contact!
Guessers: 5... 4... 3... 2... 1..
BALBO & AMARANTH: Feet! AMERALDA: Feeding!
MUNGO: So as Balbo asked the question and Amaranth got the same answer, I have to give another letter. "F E A"
AMERALDA: Did you forge the Silmarils?
MUNGO: Yes - I am indeed Feanor!
(The game continues, and it is now Ameralda's turn to think of a word)
Going to the Party
Someone (who will be here designated as "Bilbo") comes up with a rule that characters in JRR Tolkien's universe/s may or may not fit. They do not tell the others their rule. Examples could include:
- Characters that have an E in their name
- Characters who are dwarves
- Characters who are alive at the end of a certain book, battle, etc
The rule is what determines whether people can "come to the party" or not. "Bilbo" gives one example of someone who can or cannot come to the party to start off. The other players then go around in a circle, asking the "Bilbo" player whether certain characters can attend, and attempting to guess what the criterion is. The winner is the first person to correctly guess the rule that is being used.
For those who have played the game a bit, non-static rules may be introduced (for example, you can come to the party only if you are related by blood to the previous character suggested). Rules should always be reasonable and not a matter of pure opinion - "fabulous characters may attend", for example, has caused issues in the past, not least over the hypotheticals regarding the potential fabulousness of Durin VII and Last.
Just a Minute
The rules of Just a Minute are simple.
Each player starts in turn with a subject. They must attempt to talk on that subject for one minute without hesitation, deviation, or repetition. If they commit any of these three errors, another player can shout/buzz in (a "challenge") and have play passed to them. Every challenge scores a point; if the challenge is judged correct by the game-master/consent around the room the challenger gets a point, if not the challenged player gets a point and may continue speaking. The player who is speaking at the end of the minute gets an additional point. If a player speaks for the whole minute without being correctly challenged at any time, they gain a bonus five points.
Further important things to note:
- Clearly lying and telling obvious untruths counts as deviation - but they must be matters on which the speaker could be reasonably expected to know they were lying, and which are matters of pure fact as opposed to opinion.
- Sorting out challenges happens out of time - aka the timer stops during that period. It does NOT happen as part of the minute.
Despite the name, picture consequences bears little resemblance to consequences, being rather more a game of pictorial chinese whispers. It does require the same equipment, with each player being given a piece of paper and a writing/drawing implement.
The rules are simple; firstly, someone writes down something from Tolkien's works. This could be anything reasonably visually depictable, from "Minas Tirith" to "The Bridge of Khazad-dum" to "the felling of the party tree" to "Farmer Giles with his blunderbuss". They then pass the paper on, without folding it over. The next person then reads the description or item given, and attempts to draw it. They then fold the paper over to obscure the previous piece of text, and pass it on. The third person is then confronted with a picture, which they attempt to describe, then folding that over such that the fourth person sees their description and attempts to draw it, and so on and so forth. Once the piece of paper has been used up it may be unfolded to see how far the result was from the starting point!
A note on paper folding and technique: drawings should not be too large vertically as this greatly restricts the amount that can be put on the paper. The game is able to achieve its full length better and be more readable if the paper is used in portrait/lengthways format, always making the folds forwards towards the current writer/artist, and taking care not to draw or write on the fold itself but below it on the "clean" part of the paper.