Travel diversions

Two Word Games
by John Blasdale

Here are a couple of entertaining, non-combative games that I have played. What is interesting about these two games is that they each arose quite spontaneously without defined rules — a sample move illustrates the rules. However, as the article by Stephen Sniderman ("Unwritten Rules" in issue 1) suggests, when the games are played, there often arises the need to define new rules that were not anticipated at the outset of the game.

I hope you will enjoy the following accounts as much as I did remembering them and writing them down. Now, to the games.....

Game 1.   Orson Welles Fargo

My wife and I often vacation on Cape Cod, Mass. There is a large park near Chatham where we take walks on a long bicycle/walking path surrounded by trees and the occasional pond. We sometimes play the game as we walk.

I believe I invented this game — others may perhaps have discovered it, too — years ago on hearing a TV comedian say:  "Orson Welles Fargo."

The first player utters "Orson Welles," and the other player follows with "Wells Fargo." (Note the change in spelling!) The first player now moves again, perhaps saying "Fargo, North Dakota." After this you might expect a sequence such as: "Dakota aircraft," "aircraft carrier," "carrier pigeon," "pigeon toed," "toad in the hole" (an English culinary affliction), "whole food," "food mixer," "mixamatosis," etc.

As you can see, the "rules" are pretty flexible. This is a pleasant and fun game for two during an otherwise undemanding walk. You could add more players, of course, and you could play it in a room, but somehow it seems more fun on a walk.

Of course, there is no reason why you cannot have pseudonyms for the name of the game, for example:   "Marilyn Monroe doctrine."

Formally, the person who first is unable to respond loses. However, neither player wants this to happen (rather like a good rally in tennis), the object being to keep the game going as long as the walk lasts, or until boredom sets in. Sometimes you can go into a loop (arriving at a prior utterance), which means you try to find a different phrase out of the loop.

When my wife and I play this game, we do not discuss whether or not to play it; one of us just says "Orson Welles," and off we go.

The second game is described on the next page.


Two Word Games by John Blasdale — 13 | 14

The Life of Games
No. 2 (April 2000)
©2000 Kadon Enterprises, Inc.