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Guess The Proverb

No. of Players: 2+
Type of Game: spoken
What you need: nothing


To guess the proverb from answers to questions.

How to play

One player is selected to be the guesser and leaves the room. The other players agree on a proverb and call the guesser back into the room. The guesser then asks each player in turn a question. The first player must answer the question by including the first word of the proverb, the second player the second word, the third the third, and so on, until no words are left. If the guesser can correctly guess the proverb, he earns a point for the round. But if he does not, he loses a point for the round. Players rotate being the guesser, and after a set number of rounds have been played, the player with the most points is declared the champion.

To ease gameplay, answers must begin with the word the player is to include from the proverb.


After the players select the proverb, they call Arnold back into the room and tell him they will begin their answers with the word they are assigned. Arnold begins his questioning.

Arnold: What time do you usually eat dinner?
Barlow: People say it is 6:00 PM.
Arnold: Are you taller than your mother?
Carrie: Who asked you?
Arnold: What color is brightest?
Dawn: Live life, don't worry about these things.
Arnold: Do you think I'm the handsomest?
Barlow: In no way, my friend.
Arnold: Yesterday it rained, didn't it?
Carrie: Glass half-empty, you always focus on the negative.
Arnold: What did you buy at the grocery store?
Dawn: Houses. I bought houses since I won the lottery.
Arnold: I got it! The proverb is People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

Arnold earns 1 point and Barlow is sent out of the room. After the players select the proverb, he is called back in and told that the game will proceed just as before, but this time answers will begin with any word of the proverb. No word will be repeated, unless it repeats in the proverb itself, and taking notes is permitted.

Barlow: Arnold just implied he was the handsomest, what do you think?
Carrie: Today is not the day to ask me.
Barlow: Is there a more smelly room in this house than the one I was just in for 5 minutes?
Dawn: Never really thought about it, actually.
Barlow: Was George Washington the first President of the United States?
Arnold: You might say that.
Barlow: What is your favorite animal?
Carrie: Until yesterday, it was pandas.
Barlow: Do you think our team will make it to the finals next month?
Dawn: Tomorrow we'll have a better idea.
Barlow: I know this one already. The words so far are today, never, you, until, and tomorrow. The proverb is Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
Everyone: You got it!

Barlow earns one point. And so on.

Did you know?

The world's oldest surviving written text appears to be a set of proverbs. These Instructions of Shuruppak were engraved in cuneiform script on clay tablets and were given by the last king of Sumer to his son over 4,600 years ago.

Instructions of Shurrupak

Indeed they read like an older, wiser man imparting fatherly advice – and in two distinct directions. For instance, one is given practical warnings, like how not to locate a field on a road. But one is also given moral and philosophical advice, like how not to speak arrogantly to one's mother, how not to pass judgment when one drinks beer, and how "Fate is a wet bank; it can make one slip."

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