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three balloons wearing sunglasses Inflationary Language three balloons wearing sunglasses

No. of Players: 1+
Type of Game: written
What you need: pen and paper


To write sentences that change words with numbers in them.

How to play

Players challenge themselves and others to increase the value of the numbers in a given set of number-words. Number-words include the standard words for numbers (e.g., one), words that make reference to numbers (e.g., once), words that sound like numbers (e.g., won), and words whose spelling include a standard number word (e.g., alone). The gamemaster gives an identical list of number-words to the other players and the first player to include them in sentences that increase them by one is the winner. Extra bonus points go to any player who uses them to craft a short story. Alternatively, the gamemaster writes a series of sentences or a short story with these words already increased by one, and players must re-write them so as to bring them back to the original words.


Audrey challenges Brody to write inflationary sentences using this list of number-words:

won, tonight, before, graduates, feminine, twice, kittens, forgive, into, tender, late, forehead, tattoo, tomato, once, anyone, tennis, asinine, tenor, artwork, great

Brody's sentences:

The Panthers played a gr-nine game threenight. They two by a wide margin.
I have a elevender spot for kitelevens.
She's going to take a course in mathematics befive she gradunines.
"Elevennis, anytwo? Elevennis, anytwo?" he repeated himself thrice.
He walked right inthree the branch, bumping his fivehead.
Twice upon a time, I thought getting a tatthree was a good idea.
The elevenor loves tomnine-o sauce.
He made another asiten comment, embarrassing himself again.
"Fivegive me, but is that really considered arthreerk?" he asked the curator.
She walked very femiten and proud, not caring if she was already l-nine.

Did you know?

Most people think of inflation strictly in terms of rising prices. But it's also useful – and more precise – to speak of how money loses its value. Here's a helpful excerise:

one ounce gold bar in assay       thirty-six one dollar bills

Imagine you were back in 1970. In one hand you hold an ounce of gold, and in the other $36 US dollars. In that year they were equivalents: $36 was the price of that ounce of gold. You decide to bury both the gold and the cash in your backyard, wait 50 years, and then dig them up. Are they still equivalents? Nope, not even close. If you wanted to buy more gold in 2020, you would need a lot more than $36. Actually, 57 times that amount since the price of gold in 2020 is over $2,000. In other words, that $36 could now only buy 1.75% of an ounce of gold. Clearly those dollars retained only a small crumb of the buying power they once had.

Prices with up arrow       Currency with down arrow

Again, it's not so much that prices rise in inflationary times. It's that the currency in circulation loses value.

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