Parlour Game! Tweak

Tweak is a game that requires that you have a dictionary. It assumes that you are some sort of nerd. If you do play this, I’d love to hear how it went. I don’t have friends so I can’t try it out myself, obviously. Email me at johannespunkt at gmail dot com.


Number of players: 3-5

Prerequisites: dictionary; a common language.

Playing time: half an hour, I guess. Try playing for 10 points.

Objective: get as few points as possible. The player with least points at the end of the game wins. Subobjectives include: be the most condescending player; get away with the most ridiculous word; and, best ‘use in a sentence’ sentence.

Rules: the player who owns the thickest dictonary starts the game, and the game progresses around the table from them. In the word selecting phase, the player opens their dictionary and pulls out a random word and its definition. If a word has multiple definitions, the player picks one. They then have a choice to tweak it or to redefine it.

Tweaking means changing a morpheme or an affix of the word to change the meaning slightly. Example: abhor – to distance oneself from horror – turning into inhor, being strangely attracted to horror.

Redefining means giving the word a new definition without changing how the word sounds. Example: abdicate – stepping down from a throne – redefined to mean, “the common press nickname for the incredibly cute couple of Kate Britishton and some prince whose name can reasonably be abbreviated ‘Abdi’.”

After defining the word, one uses it in a sentence.

One gains a point when one cannot make up a reasonable word, or when the sentence construction fails. If one gains a point, one gets to open the dictionary and redefine/tweak the next word.

Note: the definitions have to a) make sense to the rest of the table, and b) not be something there is already a word for. Other players can call the words out and this will likely lead to the word-defining player gaining a point.

In addition, the first turn is always immune to criticism, so if Benjamin came up with the terrible word oli[glottal stop]arch, meaning a sort of soup eaten only by short people, Benjamin gets to define an equally silly word when he opens the dictionary (“quark!” he exclaims, “the sound dooks make!”) and no-one can do anything about it. This is to avoid congestion at one particular player and also to sort of set the standard for the reasonableness of the next round.