by Bonnie Williams

Who doesn’t love family game night?! Nothing beats having your family and friends gathered together to have some fun. There are tons of games to choose from but when walking past the game section at stores, it can be shocking to see some of the prices of new games. A few that I’ve seen cost more than forty dollars!!

When I was a kid we had a good selection of store bought games, but one of the best games we used to play was one that my family and I created on our own. I’m sure other people have come up with games similar to this one -- it isn’t very complicated to play and there aren’t a lot of materials you need to hunt down. I think sometimes it's the simplest ideas that are the best ideas.

This game works very well with several different types of groups. If there are younger children in your group, (around 8 years old and up) the other players merely have to choose easier words to customize the game for the younger players.

Also, if you are playing with people you know very well, you might change your strategy since you already know how they think and what words they know. It would also be a great game to play with new friends to help break the ice and get to know them better.

Here’s what you will need to play: several small squares of paper or 3X5 note cards, pencils or pens and a dictionary. A timer might be useful if you have people who are known to take a long time, but it is optional.

The game play is simple: Start by choosing who will go first and pick out the starting word (the caller). You can make it so whoever has the next upcoming birthday goes first, or you might say that the oldest or youngest starts… whatever you want.

The caller will now look through the dictionary and find a word they think no one knows the definition of. Once they find their word, the caller reads just the word, (not the definition!) out loud to the other players.

Everyone then tries to write a real sounding, believable definition for that word. It doesn’t matter if they know what the word means at all - this part of the game play is all about bluffing and fooling the other players.

Once everyone has finished writing their phony definitions, they fold their paper and pass them to the caller. The caller reads them out loud one at a time as well as their own submission, the true definition they wrote down from the dictionary.

The rest of the players have to vote for which one they think is the real meaning. Once the votes are in, the caller reveals the true meaning of the word. The whole idea is to fool everyone into choosing your fake definition.

Everyone says which one their entry was and a score keeper records how many votes each player received. That’s the end of the first turn and the dictionary and title of caller rotates to the next person.

You can play up until a set number of votes (first person to get 50 votes wins), or you can play for a set number of rounds - anything else you can think of… this game is very easy to customize. Playing Fictionary can take as long or as short a time as you’d like. Have fun learning new words and improving your vocabulary. Grab a dictionary, a bowl full of snacks and some friends -- let family game night begin!!

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