Over Christmas at a cousin’s house we played a fun card game. I wanted wanted to play it at home so with 5 minutes in Excel I made a printable version of it.
Set out a 5x5 grid of “noun” cards on the table. Split into a red and a blue team and each team choose a “clue-giver”. The clue-givers get to look at a secret “color-map” of which of the 5x5 noun cards belong to red and which belong to blue. There are also some “neutral” cards and one instant-death card (we called it the 8-ball).
Red always goes first because there is one more red card than blue. The clue-giver thinks of a single word clue that will lead his or her players to choose the correct noun card or cards on the table. The clue-giver says the single word clue and the number of noun cards that should match the clue and nothing more. No facial expressions, no hopeful bouncing when the players discuss a correct word, no voice imitations when giving the clue.
It should be easy to give a good clue to match one noun card, for example the clue “car, for 1” to match the word “automobile”. However it is much harder to give a good clue to match two or more words, for example the clue “rapunzel, for 2” to match the words “tower” and “princess”. The players can guess as many words as they like, but it’s dangerous to guess blindly as you might choose the “instant death” word.
When a word is guessed, the clue-giver puts the appropriate colored chip on that word card on the table. When a team places all of their colored chips on the table they win the game. The “instant-death” word is an instant lose for that team (to discourage blind guesses).
- 9 Red poker chips or checkers
- 8 Blue poker chips or checkers
- 7 White/Black/Grey chips or checkers for the neutrals
- Many (50+) noun word cards
- Several color-maps
Download the Excel spreadsheet with printable noun word cards and maps. The spreadsheet has a list of 4400 common English nouns I found on desiquintans.com and a tab formatted to print a page of random nouns as cards to cut out with scissors.
To print a page of random noun cards, hit F9 to recalc the sheet. This will assign new random numbers to each word. Then sort the word list by the ‘SORT’ column with random numbers. Finally print the “printme” tab and cut out words with scissors. You will need 3 pages to start and should print a few more so you don’t reuse the same words every game. If you don’t like or know any particular word just throw it out.
To print a color map, go to the ‘map’ tab, hit F9 to assign new random numbers to each color name, sort the color names list by the ‘SORT’ column. The colored map will automatically rearrange itself and uses conditional formatting to color itself. Print the page. If you don’t have a colored printer get out the colored pencils; The squares have ‘r’ or ‘b’ in them.