September 28, 2013

"Questions is a game that is played by participants maintaining a dialogue of asking questions back and forth for as long as possible, without making any declarative statements."

"Play begins when the first player serves by asking a question (often 'Would you like to play questions?'). The second player must respond to the question with another question (e.g. 'How do you play that?')."
Each player must quickly continue the conversation by using only questions. Hesitation, statements, or non sequiturs are not allowed, and cause players to foul. The game is usually played by two players, although multiplayer variants exist.

Scoring is done by foul. Fouls can be called for:
  • statement: player fails to reply with a question
  • hesitation: player takes too long to reply or grunts or makes a false start
  • repetition: player asks questions identical to or synonymous with one already asked this game (not match)
  • rhetoric: player asks a rhetorical question
  • non sequitur: player responds with an unrelated question
That game is played in Tom Stoppard's "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead":

That's the movie version, which shortens the scene. We saw the live play last night in Spring Green. I had never heard of the game before and assumed it was a game created for the play. I'm only finding out now that apparently it's an old game. The play is from 1966, so it's old one way or the other. Had I known of this game, I'm sure I'd have engaged my sons in playing it, years ago, not that many years ago, but 20 years ago. I'd have believed it was good for the development of a child's mind, the way I believed it was good for them to play a game I invented called "What if you had to argue?" (explained in the old blog post "What if you had to argue that it's good for children to play 'What if you had argue?'").


Jules Aimé said...

Do you thing the game Questions might have been the inspiration for Jeopardy?

MayBee said...

There are lots of games like that you learn in improv classes. They were great to know for long car rides or for waiting in long amusement park lines with all the cousins.

Titus said...

I like Spring Green. It was just rated one of the top 7 small towns in some publication.

The downtown needs some work though.

Patrick said...

The play is from 1966, so it's old one way or the other.

Gee thanks. Guess it's official now.

Paddy O said...

Whose Line is it Anyways does this as a regular bit.

Anonymous said...

What if there were no hypothetical questions?

Bill Crawford said...

On the TV show "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" this was a common bit. The characters would form two teams of two. One from each team would play Questions and a buzzer would sound if they took too long.

Colin Mochrie and Ryan Stiles were particularly adept at it.

Bob Boyd said...

"To the brute is given joy and to the tender - sorrow" - Sergei Esenin

Wince said...

Sorry, I can't play because of a pulled groin.

I'm busy pulling at my groin.

Ann Althouse said...

"The downtown needs some work though."

I've never run across it, and I've been to Spring Green many times.

Maybe it needs less work.

Matt Sablan said...

No one I know likes this game any more.

FKACato said...

I was with a group in DC about 15 years ago and we played this in a bar. If you failed to respond, hesitated, etc., you had to drink. We didn't have the restriction on unrelated questions.

The game got delightfully raunchy. A fine night of revelry.

Gospace said...

Questions can be readily played with anyone who has seen a theatrical version of Rosencarantz and Guilderstern are dead, including high school productions- and enjoyed it. I've seen it more than once- and heartily enjoyed it every time.

Introducing someone to Questions if they haven't seen the play can be educational for both parties. One learns about the play, and the other learns about the partners reaction to something new and unusual, since the rules are unlike any other game I can think of. Not quite as arbitrary as Calvinball, though.