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Old 03-17-2005, 09:28 PM   #1
Marcus Bales
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: In a coign of the cliff between lowland and highland, at the sea-down's edge between windward and lee, walled round with rocks as an inland island, the ghost of a garden fronts the sea.
Posts: 8,967
The Dictionary Game

The "original" dictionary game goes like this:

Materials: pencils and paper for everyone; one dictionary.

Rules: The first player selects a word from the dictionary and writes the definition on a piece of paper, and marks it with his or her name. The word is then read to the group. Each player writes his or her definition on a piece of paper, and marks it with his or her name. The selector then arbitrarily numbers each definition and all the pieces of paper (including the real definition) are put in a container from which the selector of the word draws them one by one and reads them aloud, except for the names.

Play: Each player then writes down which definition he or she believes is the genuine dictionary definition, indicating by number, key word, or quotation. When all players (except the selector, who, of course, knows) has written down his or her selection of the genuine definition, the selector reveals the genuine definition.

Scoring: One point for each player who correctly identifies the genuine definition. One point for every vote that it was the genuine one goes to the creator of each definition that got a vote as the genuine definition.

Strategy: Ideally, one would oneself identify the genuine definition while having written a definition which gets everyone's vote but one's own.

The Online Version

Clearly, this game is not tansferable to cyberspace, not because anyone would cheat but because everyone would - except philosophers, of course, who are above such sordid behavior, but thin on the ground no matter where you look. If they'd eat more, they would be neither so thin, nor unable to stand up, nor so few.

The basis of the game online, then, is to entertain ourselves by creating interesting definitions and reading others' interesting definitions of words which we are all perfectly free to look up so that we can appreciate each others' ingenuity in creating plausible or witty or funny or offensive or any other kind of definitions -- so long as they are wrong -- or mostly wrong, or at least wrong enough that we know you didn't just crib it from the dictionary.

The word-picker is obliged to judge the entries in as entertaining (and therefore often as whimsical and even capricious) a way as possible, and report on the result to the group, in the process reviewing the other entries in as entertaining way as possible, and then naming the unlucky winner. Winning is a mixed blessing since the winner becomes the new word-picker, and is then obliged to keep track of the new entries, and to judge them, with commentary, for the entertainment of all.

When a round of play is over is entirely up to the word-picker of that round, but the judges are implored to get on with it, and threatened by the prospect, if they let their round drag on, of having to judge multiple entries as the natives, always restless, start to mutter and post definitions disparaging the judge and questioning whether his or her family life is entirely on the up-and-up.

So if there is a rule it is to be entertaining and, if you have the brains god gave giraffes, to come in second -- or even last! If you should have the misfortune to actually win, you are obliged to immediately choose another word and start keeping track of the entries, or beg off AT ONCE so the former judge can wipe the smug smile off the face of that giggling second-place person by assigning the top spot to him or her.

If, in the judgment of the Judicial Board (that is, me) too much time has gone by between words, or in closing off entries for a particular word, the Board reserves the right to issue, capriciously and whimsically, an arbitrary and binding judgment and either issue a new word or choose a "winner" from the current entries, thus obligating someone else to do the work of judging.
So, to summarize,

The Non-Rules: Be entertaining and be quick or be quiet.

The Zatoichi Presumption: That if two entries are alike, the second one was invented just as honorably as the first.

The 12"Razormix Non-Rule: That if the winner of a round of play doesn't pick a new word pretty much right away, and can't be PM'd or emailed to prompt them to post a new word, the smug smile will be wiped off the face of the unlucky holder of the Coveted Second Place Award, and he or she will become the winner of the round.

The Multiple Entry Amendment: There is no Multiple Entry Amendment, except as individual judges decide, with rightful whimsicality or capriciousness, to create one for their own purposes. Fore-warned is fore-armed -- and fore-armed is what you get if you're a rookie in the NBA.

For adjudications and arbitrations of disputes about Non-Rules and Shady Practices, it's just barely possible that I might be persuaded to scrape my fingers off the cocoa-encrusted table and, raising my bleary, chocolate-reddened eyes to the screen, navigate to whichever file it is in which I've stored THE NON-RULES in order to issue a judgment -- attached to a provocative note which will shock your significant other and astonish your neighbors.

And the first word is: AMPHIBOLY

My strength is as the strength of eight --
My heart is nearly pure.

Last edited by Marcus Bales : 10-16-2009 at 12:00 AM.
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