Categories (game)

Categories (game)

Categories is a word game in which players think of words that begin with specified letters and belong to specified semantic categories. For instance, given the letters in "Sargon" and the category "U.S. states", one can list:
*South Carolina
*Rhode Island
*North Dakota

A typical game consists of choosing five initial letters and five categories. These become the rows and columns of a 5×5 grid which the players attempt to fill within five minutes. If there are only two players, the one who fills more of the 25 combinations is the winner. If there are more than two players, the scoring usually discounts any entries written by more than one player.

Categories is related to the commercial games Scattergories and Facts in Five.

Party game

Categories is also a party game in which players have to think of instances of a specific category. The players sit in a circle either on the floor or at a large table and collectively establish a rhythm of six beats: "slap slap" (on the thighs), "clap clap" (with the hands), "snap snap" (by clicking their fingers).

The players must speak in turn clockwise around the circle on the snap beats, using the slap and clap beats to gather their thoughts. On a player's turn, he or she must name a new instance of the category or be eliminated. Eliminated players sit out, creating an ever-shrinking circle, until only one player remains.

Typically a category is not chosen in advance, but is specified by the third player to speak after the first player has said "Categories" and the second player has said "such as...". A demonstration game between five players will illustrate:

:slap slap clap clap - Player 1: "Categories":slap slap clap clap - Player 2: "such as...":slap slap clap clap - Player 3: "Diseases" (everyone now knows the category):slap slap clap clap - Player 4: "Cancer":slap slap clap clap - Player 5: "Chickenpox":slap slap clap clap - Player 1: "Measles":slap slap clap clap - Player 2: "Athlete's foot":slap slap clap clap - Player 3: "Balls" (this is not a disease; Player 3 is eliminated):slap slap clap clap snap snap (Player 4 is laughing so hard at Player 3 she misses the beat and is eliminated):slap slap clap clap - Player 5: "Tuberculosis":slap slap clap clap - Player 1: "Schizophrenia":slap slap clap clap - Player 2: "AIDS":slap slap clap clap - Player 5: "Ebola":slap slap clap clap - Player 1: "Emphysema" :slap slap clap clap - Player 2: "Herpes":slap slap clap clap - Player 5: "Hiccups" (getting desperate, but the other players accept it):slap slap clap clap - Player 1: "HIV" (this is considered a repetition of AIDS; Player 1 is eliminated):slap slap clap clap - Player 2: "Malaria":slap slap clap clap - Player 5: "Leukemia" (considered a repetition of Cancer; Player 5 is eliminated; Player 2 wins)

A common variation is to play each category only until the first elimination.After an elimination there is a short pause, after which the player who was due to speak next restarts the game by saying "Categories".In this variation, no category may be chosen twice.The advantage of this variation is that there is sometimes contention over whether a player should be eliminated, and the pause allowsfor calm discussion of whether, for example, hiccups is really a disease.The disadvantage is that players are less often required to speak several times in the same category.

Categories is also known as "Clap Trap". In this version each round of the game starts with a "General Hover" [everyone holds their hands out and wiggles their fingers] before the slapping, clapping, and clicking rhythm is established. Then Player 1 chooses the category and the direction of play as follows, speaking as before [slap slap, clap clap] only [slap slap clap clap] on the [slap slap clap clap] clicks!

:slap slap clap clap - Player 1: "Give me...":slap slap clap clap - Player 1: "to my right..." [or left...] :slap slap clap clap - Player 1: "names of...":slap slap clap clap - Player 1: "flowers!":slap slap clap clap - Player 2: "Daffodils!":slap slap clap clap - Player 3: "Roses!":slap slap clap clap - Player 4: "Pansies!":and so on.

The round stops when a player cannot think of anything appropriate to say or cannot get it out in time.This player then pays a forfeit and starts the next round, choosing a new topic and a new direction as before. If adults are playing, the usual forfeit is to take a sip of their (normally alcoholic) drink.

The game is funniest if the categories are really simple.

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