Tales From Earth:Where's My Meniscus and other time wasters

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This is part of the compilation created for the book Tales From The Third Planet, created by the Cubehunters on Earth, and printed by Lulu. Anyone can buy it here, with proceeds to go to unfiction! :)

There are many well-known games that have been played for hundreds of years on Earth - Backgammon, Chess, Go, Poker, Sorry! and Tennis are the obvious examples. But in Earth's late twentieth and early twentyfirst century, in the magnificent city of London, their lived a group of people who loved games, but tired of the predictability of the currently available batch of games. So they decided they should invent a collection of new games, and play them at all opportunities. Furthermore, they kept an ear out for other "underground" games. This may be the first attempt to list and document the games this group played, so that they are available to a wider audience.

Editorial note: A longer list of games has been spotted over here: http://botzone.schtuff.com/bot_games - This should not be taken to be part of the article. This is simply a pointer to an expanded list of games fFrom more of the same people.

Where's My Meniscus

Also known as the spirit level, this is quite possibly the greatest drinking game of all time. It was invented before the group convened, at the George Pub in Borough, London, on Sunday 17th June 2001.

The Rules

  • The game is for 2-10 players, although the optimal number is around 4-6. For the purposes of explaining, there will be precisely 5 players.
  • Each player should be provided with a full glass of a (preferably alcoholic) drink whilst, at the same time, the whole group should be given a pen and sheet of paper
  • The game consists of an unlimited number of "sets". The prize for winning a set is a brand new drink (which does not play a part in the game) at the start of the next set.
  • Each set consists of N "rounds", where N is the number of players. Each person is "first guesser" in exactly one round.
  • At the start of a round, everybody covers their drink with their hands and drinks (or pretends to drink) from their glass.
  • They maintain the cover of their drinks. (Sometimes hiding said drink under the table)
  • When everyone is done drinking, each person (starting with the first guesser, and continuing clockwise around the group) shall guess the ranking of liquid heights in the glasses from highest to the lowest.
  • These predictions are written down on the paper with the pen.
  • When everyone has made their guesses, their glasses are exposed and the levels assessed.
  • The predictions are scored on their accuracy, with two points given for each correct rank.
    • Thus if the correct order were Caine, Tippy, Anna, Aiko, Sente, and the guess of Tippy, Anna, Aiko, Sente, Caine would be worth 0 while the guess Sente, Aiko, Anna, Tippy, Caine would be worth 2.
  • Noone may drain their drink until the final round of each set.

The Ainsley Harriot Game

This is a game that successfully convenes those two ever popular styles of games: the guessing game and the memory game.

The Rules

  • The game is for at least 4 players. 6 is quite possibly optimal.
  • The players should form the concept of a democratic counsel with policies for nomination, election, demotion and destruction. This counsel should then have a nomination of members, and an election. This counsel should decide a way of splitting the group into two (or more) teams of roughly equal size. When this has happened, each member of the counsel should be demoted, and the counsel then destroyed. This step may (and should) be omitted if the players decide upon teams in another manner.
  • Pieces of paper shall be torn into thin strips, but not too thin to be written upon.
  • Each player takes 3-5 "or so" pieces of paper, writes a phrase on each, and puts them into an object called "the hat".
    • Oft used phrases include:
      • Actions involving famous people, for example:
        • Ainsley Harriott is cooking my garlic.
        • Charlotte Church knows how to swim.
      • Lyrics from songs, for example:
        • Jennifer Eccles had terrible freckles.
        • I thought I'd test it on the Love Connection.
      • Lists of buildings and birds, for example:
        • Albatross Empire State Building Mosque Ostrich
        • Church Cock Church Cock
      • Complete Nonsense, for example:
        • The beatles independent can run but was.
        • Chef carp.
    • Oft used hats include:
      • A top hat
      • A pint glass
      • A quality street tin
      • A pizza hut box
      • A pizza hut box
      • A KFC box
      • A pizza hut box
  • A time limit is agreed by mutual consent. Often this time limit is 15 seconds.
  • Now the teams play 3 rounds.
  • Round 1
    • A player, chosen at random, retrieves a piece of paper from the hat.
    • He attempts to explain what is written on the piece of paper only using words not written on the piece of paper.
      • For example, if the piece of paper said "Charlotte Church knows how to swim", the player might say "Highly Talented Welsh Singer is aware of the method you need so that you can travel in water".
    • If his group get it before the time limit runs out, they keep the piece of paper, score 1 point and the player takes another piece of paper to explain. Otherwise, they put the piece of paper back into the hat.
    • At the end of the time limit, it is then another team's turn, and they choose a player at random.
    • Play continues until all pieces of paper are removed from the hat, at which point, they are returned to the hat.
  • Round 2 (Also called the Cambridge Evening News Headline game)
    • As in Round 1, but each player when describing may only use three words.
      • For exmaple, if the piece of paper said "Charlotte Church knows how to swim", the player might say "Singer travels wetly"
    • The only other difference to round 1 is that each correct answer is worth 2 points.
  • Round 3 (Also called Charades)
    • As in Round 1, but each player when describing may only use gestures.
      • For example, if the piece of paper said "Charlotte Church knows how to swim", the player might move her mouth as if singing, while performing a breast stroke.
    • The only other difference to round 1 is that each correct answer is worth 3 points.

The Bono Game

The Rules

  • Two or more players each write the name "Bono" onto a post-it. They then stick each post-it on which they have written to another player's head, in such a way that each player has exactly one post-it on their head. Mathematically, it can be proven that the only way to ensure that this is possible is if each player writes on precisely one post-it.
  • The players take it in turns to ask yes or no questions about the celebrity whose name is written on the post-it on their forehead.
  • The player who first correctly guesses that the celebrity written on his forehead is Bono wins.


The Post-It Game

  • Play follows precisely the rules of the bono game, except for using either or both of the two following rule variants:
    • Instead of writing the name "Bono" onto the post-it, the player may write any celebrity, such as:
      • Delroy Lindo
      • Shakin' Stevens
      • Erich Fromm
    • Instead of guessing that the celbrity written on the forehead is Bono, the player must actually identify the celebrity that really is written on his forehead.

I'm a Wagstaff Kepi

One of the more meta- of the games suggested, and thereby one of the least popular, I'm a Wagstaff Kepi should never have been played, nor should it have been put on this list.

The Rules

  • This is a game for 4 people.
  • Player 1 (we'll call her "Host") invites the other 3 players around for the dinner.
  • During dinner, the players should drink copiously.
  • Afterwards, searching for something to do, Player 2 (we'll call him "Arkansas") should suggest playing a game.
  • Player 3 (henceforth called "The Jester"), should suggest the game "I'm a Wagstaff Kepi".
  • Player 3 should then ask Player 2 to explain the game "I'm a Wagstaff Kepi", and forever claim that it was Player 2 that insisted this was the name of a game.
  • Player 2 should come up with some extremely insufficient rules explaining the game, attempts should be made to play it, and then the conversation should promptly move on.
  • Player 4 should retire.

The Buzz Game

Whilst the buzz game is not the least derivative game invented by this group of individuals, it has often provided much entertainment.

The Rules

  • At least three players are needed.
  • The player carrying the fewest number of coins is chosen to be the original buzzmaster
  • Each player, apart from the buzzmaster, is given a score of 0
  • The buzzmaster asks a question, often about general knowledge or shared knowledge of the group. Examples of questions used are:
    • How many plays by Charles Dickens feature a character called Peter?
    • What is the average length of a Walrus' eyeball?
    • What was Olivia's most recent order at the bar?
  • Players may "buzz in" at any time during or after the question by saying the word "buzz".
  • The buzzmaster judges who the first player to "buzz in" was, and that player must attempt to answer the question.
    • If the player is correct, his score goes up by one. This is called 'scoring a point'.
    • If the player is incorrect, the buzzmaster continues asking the question, and other players may "buzz in".
  • If a player has made an incorrect guess, she is allowed to have another attempt if he wants to, by saying the word "rebuzz". (This practice is called 'rebuzzing in'). It is the buzzmaster's option whether to allow a rebuzz. Rebuzzes are usually rebuffed unless every player has had a chance to answer.
  • When a player reaches five points, they win and become the new buzzmaster.


Imbecile Buzz Game

  • A version of the game which is extra challenging because most of the participants are imbeciles, failing to get even the most obvious questions (for example: "What is your name?" or "How do you spell 'I'"), and asking questions which are invalid ("Who wrote the book 'The Clockwork Orange'" or "H


  • The buzzmaster is called the Jahrmeister
  • Instead of asking a question, he sings a popular song. Examples of songs sung are:
    • Land of Confusion by Genesis
    • The One and Only by Chesney Hawkes
    • Yes by McAlmont and Butler
  • Instead of answering questions, players buzz in to guess the year in which the song was released.
  • A player who correctly identifies the year gets a point and may claim up to three bonus points for identifying the title, artist and album.
  • A player who correctly identifies all four discographical elements is said to have "done the grand slam" and becomes the new Jahrmeister


This game is one of the simplest games of bluff there is, invented by the author of this document in Memphis, Tennessee. Two members of this said group of people from London have designed a contraption which will allow this to be played without a referee, and are currently prototyping it with the aim of selling it to a games company.

The Rules

  • The game requires two players, a chessboard, 32 checkers of each colour (black/white) and a referee. Let us call the players "Violet" and "Scarlett" and the referee "Sente".
  • Violet chooses a row of the chessboard, giving that information to Sente. Scarlett chooses a column of the chessboard, also giving that information to Sente.
  • Sente observes the row and column that have been passed unto him, and note that they intersect in one square called the "special square".
  • Scarlett and Violet alternate placing checkers on the board.
  • When either player plays on the "special square", Sente announces that player has won.


  • Misere: whoever plays on the "special square" loses.
  • Alternate: each person can choose to play a piece of either colour. Whoevers piece is played on the special square wins.
  • Random: Instead of having 32 checkers of each colour, there are 64 othello pieces (black on one side, white on the other). Each player flips a piece on their turn, before deciding where to play.

Crab Mother Goose Mother

Word memory game. Good word memory game. Good Hawkhurst word memory game. Challenge.

The Rules

  • This game is, as heretofore, the crown.
  • There should be at least 2 players, or precisely 1 bored player.
  • The first player says a sentence.
  • The next player, and the player after her, and so forth around the circle clockwise, must, at the time of their go in the game, insert into the sentence that was uttered by the previous player, at any point, a word, so that the sentence makes absolute sense.
  • Big up to those players who use as their extra word any of: Mother, Crab or Goose.
  • Each player who forgets the phrase or messes up with metaphorical mud all over their face is out of the game.
  • The last player in the game wins.


  • Parathi Rules
    • A player may at any point utter the words (which might have once been rumoured to appear in the Koran) 'Crabbe Parlez'. The previous player must now provide their sentence in full. If they forget to do so, they are out of the game.
    • It is not allowed to utilise the power of 'Crabbe Parlez' more than once per turn.

Disguise Uncle

A fundamentally flawed game of disguise and intrigue, Disguise Uncle should only be played when drunk or silly. Preferably both. Seriously.

The Rules

  • Between three and nineteen players sit in a circle.
  • The players should stand up and choose a member of themselves to be "The Uncle".
  • The uncle leaves the room, and eat some diapodigaglobulis or equivalent thereof.
  • The other players chat, drink and have more fun than the uncle.
  • The uncle now cunningly disguises herself with anything he finds nearby.
    • Oft used disguise items include:
      • Tinfoil
      • Cardboard boxes
      • Soap on a rope
      • A bottle of the refreshing drink Dr. Pepper. What's the worst that can happen?
  • The uncle, disguised, returns to the room and mingles with the others.
  • It will become increasingly difficult to be unaware that the number of people in the room has returned to that at the start of the game. Thus, one person in the room must be the disguised uncle.
  • Each person must try and work out which person in the room is the disguised uncle. This will be hard, as the uncle is indeed disguised and so now looks unlike the person selected at the start.


The wisest and best looking member of the group has the nickname Lani, and is rumoured to have considered nuptials with Sean Penn. When not considering this, she took time to invent a game of such stunning fortitude that once played will never be forgotten.

The Rules

  • Three to ten players sit around with a piece of paper and a pen.
  • One player is nominated "The Jefe". The Jefe provides three 'answers'.
    • A sample set of answers could be
      • The Flumps
      • Two Ballerinas with a Power Saw
      • Freddy vs Jason
  • Each player must write a guess as to what question the Jefe was thinking of for each answer. Meanwhile the Jefe writes down the correct questions.
  • All guesses are given to the Jefe, who reads out each potential question.
  • Each person gives a vote as to which of the potential questions is "best".
  • Each person is generously given two points for guessing the correct question, and one point for each person who votes for their question.
  • The player with the most points becomes the Jefe, unless there is a tie for first place, in which case the current Jefe just chooses who the next Jefe is.

The Colour/Country Game

Another game invented before the group formed, this game was invented by the author in Moscow. However, it has filled many an uncomfortable hour with joy.

The Rules

  • Each (of at least 2) players takes turns to say the name of a colour.
  • Each person who says a country, by mistake or through the effects of tedium, is out of the game.
  • The last person to remain in the game wins.

The Fun Pun Game

It may have been proved by sociologists that in any group of people, given enough time, this game is bound to have been invented. I'm sure you have already played this game, so feel free to skip to the next one.

The Rules

  • One player is chosen as the punmeister.
  • The punmeister must come up with a cryptic clue leading to a series of words that sound like a famous celebrity.
    • The first example created by the author was the following: Suppose that the popular songstress who sang "The Best" and "Goldeneye" were to become the monarch of england, and to start wearing beige trousers, which film director would you ask for advice?
    • Answer: Queen Tina Turner-Chinos (Quentin Tarantino)
    • The author's best man created the following: Let's say, right, that I ran a chip shop. And that, having heard that the Scots are fond of battered Mars Bars, I decided to create my own sweet/savoury treat. And that I decided to make this new delicacy by taking a lean pork sausage and covering it in conserve. Which celebrity might I get to lend his name to this new creation?
    • Answer: Sir Jammy Saveloy
  • The punmeister is also allowed to use the magic words: "I Haven't Got One" to pass the role of punmeister to another player


  • The Stupid Pun Game
    • You gain extra kudos for puns that don't sound like what they are supposed to. Two examples by "Nick with the Home Boy":
      • Which film director would you ask if you had a bunch of metal lorries driving around a glacier, each taking thin strips from the outside of this glacier?
      • Answer: Steel Vans Peel Iceberg (Steven Spielberg)
      • If you wanted to know if somebody was still willing to accept their male child as being their progeny, despite having become very hip and starting to wear sunglasses, which actor would you ask?
      • Answer: Do You Acknowledge Your Cool Son (Jack Nicholson)

Sparrows and Narwhals

A guessing game which a published mathematician has deemed to be worthy of note, Sparrows and Narwhals shares much in common with games.

The Rules

  • Any number of players may play
  • Each person flips a coin, keeping the nature of the flip a secret from the other players.
  • If there are fewer than 3 players, each player still in the game is deemed to have won.
  • If there are 3 or more players:
    • Each person looks at the result of their flip. If they flipped a head-coin, they are deemed to be a "Sparrow", whilst if they flipped a tail-coin, they are deemed to be a "Narwhal".
    • One player is chosen to be the picker.
    • The picker goes around the players clockwise, guessing if each is a "Sparrow" or a "Narwhal".
    • If the picker is incorrect in guessing, the pickee can choose to correct the picker, showing his coin for confirmation. The picker's turn is over, and the pickee becomes the new picker.
    • If the picker is correct, or the pickee did not choose to correct the picker, the picker continues around the players.
    • Whenever a picker has guessed the entire group of players, with no corrections made, that picker wins.