October 3, 2002

My friends B.N., D.R., and I are inventing a game.

It’s called Off the List; or, Judging Harshly in Secret.

We’re still working on the specifics, but here are some general principles:

Each player will be dealt a hand of cards that will say things like “Can you believe what he’s wearing?” and “Don’t say anything, but I slept with her boyfriend.” At each turn, a player will select one card from his or her hand to compare with one card from another player’s hand. If the players have matching cards (two “That haircut is a Hallowe’en costume, right?” cards, for example), then they can take points away from a third player without that player’s knowing it. So you have no idea how many points you actually have and how many have been maliciously taken away from you until the end of the game.

There will also be cards that players will be forced to select at various points throughout the game that will say things like “Your second-best friend overhears the nasty story you tell about her to your best friend. Lose 50 points,” and “You manage to swallow the note you wrote about your boss’s personal hygiene just before she enters the room. Get 100 points.”

None of this will distract me, of course, from the other game I’m working on, which is a Golden Girls version of Clue.

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