Those Silly Games We Played in the College Dorm

7/14/2017Time to read: 4 min

I was super fortunate to meet a group of friends in the dorm. We got to know each other in our freshmen year and we are still keeping in touch after college. During the four years, we played numerous games together. A lot of those don't require any equipments.

Umbrella Game

This is a game played by as many people as you want. There is a game master who starts the game by saying "So I will throw a party at some time, and everybody can bring something to the party." Each player will in turn name a thing and game master will decide if he or she can bring this thing to the party. Game master usually gives an example first. Bellow is a typical conversation:

Game Master: I will have a party next week. Each of you can name something and I will tell you if you can bring it or not.

For example, umm, I can bring a mug.  

Player A: Can I bring a glass?
Game Master: Nope.
Player B: Uhh, a Rubik's Cube?
Game Master: Yes!
Player C: May I bring my phone?
Game Master: Nope!
... The conversation continues

Ultimately, every player needs to figure out what's the acceptance criteria for the things to bring. You might have figure it out from the name of this game and the conversation above, as long as you start your sentence with Um, or Uhh etc, your answer will be accepted (hence the name Umbrella game). As the game goes on, some player will figure out after couple iterations while some just can't get it. It's a pleasure to watch them grilled by anxiety and confusion.

Guess the Number

I call this "Guess the Number" game, but it might have other names. You can play this game when you are having a meal with a group of friends. There is one game master. Let's assume you are the game master. You may use anything you find on the table, spoons, forks, cups, etc, to lay out a random structure. You then tell your friends, that this is a special notation of a number from 1 to 5. You ask them to guess the number, if no one solve it, you reveal the number.

The secret of this game is, the mystical structure you created has nothing to do with the number. Instead, you should secretly present the number with your fingers, for example, hold your glass with two fingers, or rest your head on your hand with three fingers supporting your cheek. Most people will focus on the structure while pay no attention to its surrounding. They will try anything to decipher the meaning of your meaningless creation.

guess the number (Fingers are so hard to draw...)


Clue is a popular board game where players have to guess the murderer of a victim in a mansion. The simplified version requires very minimum parts and they are easy to make. The game is best for 4 people, can be played with 3 or 5 people.

The only requirements for this game are cards.

  • There are 6 character cards, Scarlet, Mustard, White, Green, Peacock and Plum.
  • There are 9 weapon cards, Candlestick, Rope, Postol, knife, axe, poison, trophy, bat, dumbbell (There are other variations for the weapons. Those are what we played)
  • There are 9 rooms, living room, dining room, hall, kitchen, observatory, patio, spa, theater, guest house (Again, there are variations)

Those cards are very easy to make if you don't want to buy them. Just use poker cards and write on them. You also need some note paper. Note taking is very important for this game.

The objective of this game is to be the first one to guess the right combination of a character, a weapon, a room that involved in this murder case.

  • At the beginning of the game, three cards are taken out randomly, one from each category, and place inside the envelope, they are the right answers.
  • The remaining cards are shuffled and dealt to each player. Any remaining cards (if 4 or 5 players, there will be 1 left. If 3 players, there will be none left) are placed face down in the center.
  • Players go by turns, naming a combination of character, weapon and room
  • For every turn, the next player in clockwise order (or counter clockwise, which ever everybody agree upon in the beginning) needs to show one of the cards privately to the current player, if he or she has.
  • If the next person doesn't have any of these three cards, the next of the next player needs to show the current player one of the three cards.
  • If no one has the three cards the current player mentioned, that might mean something!
  • A player may sacrifice a turn, to roll a dice, and with certain chance (when we played, we use numbers less than 3), he or she can peek the cards in the center.

As I said, note taking is very useful, someone show someone a card, even though you don't know exactly which card, can still be invaluable information that can help you figure out the answer. As you play more and more, you will find more effective ways of taking notes and you will ask more tricky combinations that serve you the best.


Lies is a poker game. It doesn't have a required number of players, but from our experience, 4 ~ 8 are the best.


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