- How do I win?
- Is there a scoring mechanism?
- How does it end?
- Can I, in the green role, ask the nonsense-proposing person in the pink role to define their gibberish for me?
- Can I, in the pink role, ask the other players to do a thing to me rather than vice versa?
- What do I do when a new player in the green role responds to my proposal with a counter-proposal?
- My set has blue and yellow roles. What’s all this stuff about pink and green?
- How do I ask you some other question?
- How do I buy a copy of the game?
Q: How do I win?
A: Win by having fun and creating enjoyable connections with yourself and other people. Want to know if you won? Ask the people who are playing with you how they feel, whether they’re having a good time, and what could make it even more fun. Learn from what they tell you. Now you’re winning!
Q: Is there any sort of scoring mechanism?
A: I do have a scoring system, but so far my attempts to explain it in writing have just made it seem super complicated. Basically, if everyone involved thinks the game went well, that they feel connected with each other, and that they’re all communicating well, you get a high score. And if everyone involved thinks their interaction was horrible to a similar degree, you get a high score anyway for communicating well. But if some people liked it and other people thought it was awful, everyone gets a low score, because the group didn’t effectively communicate with itself.
You can run this scoring process with dice, cards, slips of paper, thumbs-up/thumbs-down — any way of indicating your assessment of the game. You’ll get higher scores with uniform approaches to assessment and a shared understanding of what range of numbers you’ll be using. You can score individual interactions, rounds of play in which each player got a turn proposing nonsense, or whole play-sessions at a time. Here are the steps:
- Give each player an indicator.
- Have each player commit to an indication without observing the other players’ indicators (set a number face-up on a die, put a card into a stack, write a number on a piece of paper, etc).
- Your group gets one point for each player evaluating the interaction, minus the difference between your group’s best and worst assessment of the interaction — and your score can go negative.
You can make whatever agreements you want in advance about the range of numbers or indicators you’ll use for scoring, but anyone in the group can break that agreement (and I hope they do, if they think the group is behaving poorly). If you’re going to use this scoring mechanism, it’s important that everyone in the group understand it in advance.
Q: How does it end?
A: The game stops for you when you stop playing it. Stop when you feel like you’re done, for any reason or for no reason at all. I included some suggestions for post-game debriefing questions in the instructions, but of course anyone is free to stop playing and, if they choose, to not participate in a debrief.
The alternate answer is that it never ends, and that some players eventually realize that this is the game we’re always playing when anyone proposes to do anything with another person.
Q: Can I ask the person who’s proposing the nonsense (the pink role) to define their gibberish verb? Can I do this before/after telling them where the letter is on my body?
A: Obviously that’s a thing you can do, though it’s not the experience I had imagined for players to have with this game. Can’t ship the designer with the box, they say. And the instructions do invite you to create and share your own variants.
What’s important to me here? I want for proposing things to be a no-big-deal experience, and I think the game accomplishes that at least in part because we don’t know what we’re proposing when we ask permission to do a thing — because if we are really interested in doing a thing with another person, we might find out that they like it done differently than we’d imagined.
I also want players who are receiving proposals for nonsense (the green role) to get the experience of checking in with the part of their body that’s randomly selected by the luck of the draw, discovering whether and how they’d like this other player to connect with them there in this moment, and then expressing that aloud to the other player. Part of my hope here is that there may be less pressure for a green player to go along with a pink player’s suggestion if the pink player isn’t actually suggesting anything. Another piece is that when a green-role player declines an interaction they are not required to say anything about where the letter was. So if they didn’t think of a thing they wanted done there, they can just say no.
On the other hand, I love seeing players invite each other’s creative contributions. In one play session, for example, a green player introduced the notion that the verb meant both a light massage and some of the pink player’s creative variation. Folks kept adding that bit through the whole rest of that play session. But I really think that’s an advanced set of skills, because it relies on the players having so many other skills already.
Q: Can I ask another player to do something to me, rather than asking if I can do a thing to them?
A: If you’re asking this question, then yes you can probably do that. It isn’t what I’d imagined, though it’s close — structurally, it’s a reversal of the normal flow of play. In some sense, you’re taking your pink turn in the green role.
In my experience, though, this requires several skills, making this an advanced form of play. Some of the skills involved — knowing whether you’d like to be touched, serenaded, or looked at, where, and how; being able to hear no as a gift — are essential for the person requesting contact in this scenario, and the basic game is meant to help develop them. Likewise for others, which will be needed by your counterparts. I’ll add a link to a page on Advanced Play when I’ve made that page. 🙂
Q: Sometimes someone responds like “well sure you can grix my Q if I can knead your shoulders” — they’re not doing it right!! What do I do?!?
A: What *do* you do then? It’s an improv game. Do you “correct” them, or do you go with the flow? How? You’re right that that’s not what I imagined for the experience to be, but there’s not much I can do about how you play my game. One way to respond to that approach to play (which most often seen in new players whose introduction to the game has been, shall we say, rapid) is to say something like “hmmm, among my people the grixing of Qs is never done in exchange for the kneading of shoulders” or “oh yes, my shoulders could use a good kneading — have you learned the shoulder-kneading practice of my people? Where is your Q, that I could grix it whilst you knead me?” or “I can see that you really like the idea of proposing to do things with me! You’ll get a turn to do that next, and I’ll keep in mind that you want to give me a shoulder-rub, but first I’d like to get clear about how to grix your Q… if you even have a Q. Do you have a Q? Would you teach me to grix it?”
Q: My set has blue and yellow roles. What’s all this stuff about pink and green?
Thanks for your early support! The second edition referred to the pink role as yellow, and referred to the green role as blue.
Q: How do I ask you some other question about the game?
A: send me a tweet @yesandnogame or to my personal twitter @heaventwig; send me a note on Google Plus; post a thing on the Yes & No Facebook page. I prefer to receive your questions publicly, but if you really want a private conversation you can send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: How do I buy a copy of the game?
A: click the “Buy Now” button below. Or find me in person. Or go to your friendly local game store and ask them if they carry it yet. (If they say no, you can tell them you support local businesses and that I do offer wholesale pricing.)