Scattergory Rules – Let’s come to an agreement


* If you read this please use the poll on the right to help judge an answer.
A funny interpretation here.

I believe it’s possible friendships have been lost playing Scattergories. Sunday was a pretty low key day and we passed some time with an innocent Milton Bradley game called Scattergories. Here are the rules for people who’ve never played. You roll a die that marks a letter to be used for a round. You then get 12 category’s that range from colors to parks to political figures that you have to come up with answers that start with that letter. You get extra points for alliterations. A, an, and the don’t count. First and Last names for people count for a person. You can’t duplicate the same word for your answers. Meaning if you have Hornet for an insect, you can’t have Hornets for a professional sports team. Chaos begins when answers start getting wacky and the group has the vote as a whole on whether or not the answer should count. Plus just because YOU know the answer may be right, doesn’t mean everyone else does which causes disruption. Alliances get formed, logic gets tossed, and tempers flare. The joy of Scattergories.

With some ideas fresh in my mind I’m going to go over a few answers that get debated and try to find a commonplace set of rules. I’ll use examples from yesterday of some spots where the group can’t agree. Evan tends to lead our group in questionable answers so we’ll start with some dissection of his.

– Let’s look at an answer for Television Stars for the Letter N. Evan writes Nick Nolte. Now remember that this would be a 2 pointer so the group is going to look at this closely. We all agree Nick Nolte is a movie star who appeared in over 40 films. After viewing his Wikipedia there is a sentence that says he got his career start in a TV miniseries in 1976. There is another blurb about being in another TV series but then for 30+ years there is no mention of a TV series. He is predominantly a movie star. Here is my take on the ruling. If Evan can name the TV series he is in, I’d be happy to give him credit. The fact that he has no idea what it is and can’t prove to the group that he is a TV star, means he shouldn’t get credit for the answer. If he actually knows the specific reasoning behind the answer, I wouldn’t veto. But when he says Nick Nolte, the group agrees he’s a movie star, but you don’t know any TV series, I can’t see how to accept this as answer. Wikipedia being used to help find your answer because you don’t know it, is unacceptable.

– Here is a counter to how a proper situation like that should occur. The category is bands, the letter is T. I say the Trogg’s, they sing Wild Thing. No one at the table actually knows who the Troggs are but the fact that I know they sing that specific song, should be credit enough to pass the answer. If you Wikipedia that band and find that song, that’s proof to pass the answer. This leads back to the last question, what if I said “The Troggs”, I know they are a band but I don’t know what they sing, this puts me right back in the Nick Nolte situation with no one knowing the band, I don’t know their songs and probably shouldn’t get credit for the answer. This doesn’t seem fair but this is my belief on how the game should be judged.

– Another Evan answer. Song titles for the letter T. Evan’s answer is “It Takes Two (to make everything go round). I believe we have to set in stone that only words to be discounted are a, an, and the. Meaning that Evan’s answer starts with an I, not a T. Plus the best thing about this situation was Evan premises his answer with “I don’t know how many you guys are going to give me for this.” 0, Evan, 0. JKash had a very good 2 pointer with “Take me home Tonight.” This also would work the same way for a Candy bar with the letter H. Evan’s answer of Oh Henry would be vetoed and this rule should be understood by all parties.

– Let me also give some clarification on a similar situation. On a previous game, the Category was Heroes with the letter F. Evan had Five For Fighting. This is a 3 pointer in my mind and we should agree on this point. I also believe that this is a fine answer for Heroes as millions of people enjoy their music and perhaps the music is inspirational to some. I wrote down Fred Funk. This answer should have been vetoed. Fred Funk is a golfer. Sure some people might consider him their hero but it’s not a quality answer. Fred Funk might be the 50th golfer in the world but that to me shouldn’t give him enough leverage to be considered a hero. You see how this game gets argumentative though because players reason that some people may consider him a hero so it should count instead of he’s an actual hero to millions of people.

– This brings me to another fun one, Things Found in a Gym, letter C. Evan writes Clarence Weatherspoon. Yes the Spoon has been found in a gym, however, this isn’t a quality answer. He isn’t a staple of gyms around the world. At one point in time Clarence has been in a gym but I can’t accept this as a good answer for this category. Which leads me to my next point in being a good answer for the category. Category is a Girls Name, letter T. Evan wrote Tennessee. I’m not even sure this needs an explanation of why it got vetoed but the argument of some girl could be named Tennessee doesn’t count.

– Colors, letter S. The Shee had Burnt Sienna. The question arises “can sienna be a color if it’s not burnt?” No one really knows but this is a good answer. Burnt is an adjective, adjectives don’t count, and sienna sounds like a color to me. People veto this answer (Sienna is a color). Some are just so stringent in their thoughts that they can’t accept answers that they don’t think are right. Another similar example, Category is Things that Are Bright. I wrote the Cohen’s knowing Evan is going to accept this answer. Jill vetos it. This is a creative way of looking at how to answer the category and Jill can’t think outside the box.

– Another Evan answer that’s not good. The Category is Parks, Evan writes Portland park. Does it exist, Yes. Is it a good answer, No. We don’t live in Portland and have never heard of Portland park. You have never visited Portland park. This is not a good answer. If you wrote Philadelphia Park now we know that this is a racetrack and an acceptable answer. I know this doesn’t make sense but I really feel like just because it exists, doesn’t make it a good answer.

– My final example is one that I understand but don’t in some regard. The question is Things that Jump, letter N. My answer was Nate Newton. Evan’s answer was Nate Robinson. Nate Newton is a defensive lineman who when a ball is passed has jumped in his life to block it. Is he known for jumping, No. Nate Robinson is a little guy who dunks and is known for jumping, I understand. However here is where I stand on the subject. The category, if I remember right, was Things / Objects that jump or bounce. People should not allowed as part of this category, meaning both should be vetoed. Same goes with things that are black. A black person’s name shouldn’t be an acceptable answer. Is a person a thing. Yes. Is this a good answer? I just don’t think so. If you wrote a car for being black, I think this should be vetoed. A good answer is an umpire or a cat. Things associated with black.

I know this is a long winded message and anyone who doesn’t play Scattergories is probably out there in left field. I however thought it was important to take some time to at least give my thought process on how answers should be viewed. If the category is tough and there aren’t many answers associated with it, I’ll be much more lenient on what I pass through. If there are plenty of answers and you come up with a half witted one, I think it should get vetoed even if it remotely pertains to the subject. This game is truly a game with tons of gray areas and I hope people from the group who play can chime in on how to judge because this is how I see it.