Impromptu games
Ed -
United States
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I don't whether this is a silly question, but are there many games that you can actually play anywhere, with nothing more complicated than pen and paper?

I haven't come across more than just a couple of examples, at least of games which are interesting to play, but these ones are fantastic for group outings and so forth, times where you're not going to have brought a game board or even cards with you but you want to play something interesting.

I expect most of these games will be talking-based games, but it'll be interesting to see if anyone has any ways of making more complicated things work.

-Ed
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1. Board Game: Werewolf [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1165]
Ed -
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Werewolf is the obvious choice here, and a hit with just about everyone I know. It works with any number of players, the rules are easy to learn, and all the set-up it requires is for someone to writethe names of the characters on little bits of paper and hand them out.

The one drawback with Werewolf is that so many people have played it so often that it gets repetetive (plus, I'm one of those people who talk so much that the only reason they don't get killed first by the werewolves is that they're one themselves, and then they're the first to die at the hands of an angry mob...)
 
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2. Board Game: Who's in the Bag [Average Rating:5.86 Overall Rank:11569]
Ed -
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Who's in the Bag is another game that can be played anywhere: just get everyone to write down the first five names they think of and you've created an impromptu set.
 
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3. Board Game: Thingamajig [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:4768]
Brad Fuller
United States
Virginia Beach
Virginia
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A fun party game you can play if all players have a pencil and paper
 
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4. Board Game: Boxes [Average Rating:4.60 Overall Rank:15074]
Robert Kelsey
United States
kalamazoo
Michigan
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Dots (or dots and dashes) is an easy game to play with paper and pencil. We used to play this on napkins at restaurants when I was a kid.
 
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5. Board Game: Breakaway Rider [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:3565]
Luke Morris
England
Faversham
Kent
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I've played this a few times with just two packs of normal cards.
Can get a little confusing, and I know it's more than pencil and paper, but still, I like to think it's in the spirit of the list somehow...
 
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6. Board Game: Tic-Tac-Toe [Average Rating:2.61 Overall Rank:15337]
Luke Morris
England
Faversham
Kent
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I'd personally rather gouge my eyes out with a rusty fork, but still.....
 
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7. Board Game: Connect Four [Average Rating:4.84 Overall Rank:15308]
Luke Morris
England
Faversham
Kent
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Draw out a grid of squares, 7x6. Remember how gravity works. Take it in turns, using different coloured pens or noughts and crosses or whatever.
Far superior to Tic Tac Toe and just as easy to draw and play.
 
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8. Board Game: Time's Up! [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:381]
Nathan Beeler
United States
Seattle
Washington
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Celebrities (Time's Up)
Match Game (What Were you Thinking)
Dictionary (Balderdash)
Boticelli
Charades
Encore (sort of)
Die Macher (as long as you're really adept with pen and paper)
 
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9. Board Game: A Gamut of Games [Average Rating:7.72 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.72 Unranked]
Ed Holzman
United States
Seffner
Florida
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As grey traces of dawn tinge the eastern sky, the three travellers, men of Willowdale, emerge from the forest's shadow. Fording the river, they turn south, journeying into the dark and forbidding lands of The Necromancer...
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Ever the genius, Sid Sackson included numerous fun games in this quintessential book all about games. He devoted an entire chapter to just the topic of this list (games that you can play using only pencil and paper).

Included in that chapter are two games of note. The first is a two player game named Cutting Corners, one of my favorite games in the book and one that contains considerable strategy and a bit of psychology.

In that same vein (strategy and psychology) is the second game worth mention and it is named Patterns II (there is a card game in the book that is named Patterns). Some may dismiss it as a "grown up" version of Masermind or Code 777, but I think it is much more than that.
 
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10. Board Game: Ace of Aces: Handy Rotary Series [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:1508]
Thomas Eager
United States
Portland
Oregon
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This game is the ultimate in portable! My buddy Ken and I have raised a few eyebrows playing at our local watering-holes!
 
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11. Board Game: Scattergories [Average Rating:6.14 Overall Rank:2108]
Dick Hunt
United States
Orlando
Florida
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This is the best impromtu game I've ever played, and I did so long before this fancy boxed version came out. First, we'd make up our categories. Then we'd have someone think of a 5-letter word, and go for it. No fancy scoresheets, no huge die to roll--strictly paper and pencil and our little brains.

The first time I played it, our first two 5-letter words were CLEAN and DIRTY. Gave us a chuckle, and made the game even more fun to play. It's a blast to put people's imaginations to work, and often hilarious to hear some of the answers they'll come up with.
 
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12. Board Game: Zendo [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:710]
Chris Bailey
United States
Broomfield
Colorado
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Zendo can be played impromptu with pieces of candy, colored rocks, matcbooks, beer bottles (pictured) or whatever is handy. Great game too. This would be an easy game to play on an island. Too bed the people on Survivor don't know this game.
 
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