Contact. The Best Wordgame Ever.

During Thanksgiving Break in my senior year of high school, I visited Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California. Out of all the wonderful and awesomely nerdy things I took away from my overnight stay was Contact. The fact is that I’m a bit obsessed.

Every time I get the chance, I introduce new groups of people to Contact in the hopes that we can get a game going. Once one understands the game, it is quite simple. But getting to the point of understanding is, as always, the hard part. So here goes an attempt at making a concise and yet fully explanatory version of the rules:

“Start with a word…”

The basic premise of Contact is that there is one person with a word and the rest of the group is trying to guess that word. From now on the aforementioned word will be called the Main Word. The players in this hypothetical game of Contact are Jenny, Jerry, James, Jeremiah, Jordan, and Jackie.

  1. One of the players is picked to have the Main Word. Jackie is chosen.
  2. Jackie thinks of a word. She chooses “Coriander”.
  3. Jackie gives the rest of the group the first letter of the Main Word. She says the letter is “C”.

“Come up with a clue…”

Next, everyone else tries to guess the Main Word. They do this by coming up with their own words, Sub Words, and making up Clues for them.

  1. Jerry thinks of a Sub Word, “Catamaran”
  2. Jerry thinks of a Clue for his Sub Word. Since Jerry likes puns, he breaks the word apart and comes up with puns for each part: Catamaran = “Cat” + “Um” + “Iran” = “Feline” + “Confused” + “Middle East”
  3. Jerry then forms these three disparate words into a Clue: “Is it a feline confused in the Middle East?”

“What the heck does that mean?!?!?”

Now everybody tries to figure out Jerry’s Clue. Jerry is hoping that the rest of his team (Jenny, James, Jeremiah, and Jordan) will guess it but that Jackie won’t.

  1. Jenny, James, Jeremiah, and Jordan think about the clue:
    1. If they think they have it, they say: “Contact!”
    2. If they don’t know, they just keep thinking!
  2. Jackie thinks about the clue:
    1. If she figures it out, she says: “No! It’s not Catamaran!”
    2. If she doesn’t figure it out, she says: “I give up!”
  3. If James has said contact and Jackie gives up, then James and Jerry both count down from 3 (“three, two, one”) and then say their words. If James said the same word as Jerry was thinking, than it’s a victory! Jackie must say the next letter of her word.
  4. If they don’t say the same word, then nothing happens, just keep thinking of clues!

That’s all folks! Please comment if theres something that I didn’t explain very well, and I’ll try to make it better. Cheers!

2 thoughts on “Contact

  1. Great explanation, this game is very fun but is unbelievably difficult to describe to someone that hasn’t played before. Also I can tell you’re a programmer (storing concepts as variables, nested if statements, etc.) which I thought was pretty funny.

    1. Haha, thanks! Yes, the explanation is always the hardest part. Once people get the hang of it, though, it’s like magic – It almost seems as if you’re reading eachothers minds. Yes, I’m working on learning some programming languages. It’s encouraging to hear that you think that 😀

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