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Fictionary

Guess the correct definitions of obscure words while trying to deceive your opponents with your own fake definitions.

3+ players (ideally 4-8)
5-10 minutes per player
Requirements
  • A large dictionary
  • A pen for each player
  • Several identical peices of paper, at least as many as the number of players squared for each round played (e.g. at least 25 for one round of a five-player game)
Note

If you like the sound of Fictionary, take a look at the Fibbage section on the Jackbox page. It's the same concept but with trivia rather than definitions.

In a round of Fictionary, each player has a turn where they find an obscure word in the dictionary, reading aloud the word itself but not the definition. Each of the other players makes up a fake definition for the word, before attempting to pick out the real definition from amongst the other fakes.

Play

A player's turn begins with them finding a word in the dictionary that no one is likely to know the definition of and reading it out. If the word has multiple definitions, the active player should specify the definitions that aren't being used (thereby identifying the one that is being used whilst still keeping it secret).

Once the word has been read aloud, the active player writes its definition (in their own words) on a slip of paper. Meanwhile, the other players each think up a plausible fake definition and write that down on another slip of paper, along with their name or initials.

All fake definitions are then handed to the active player, who checks them to make sure they can read and understand them all. The active player can take another player to one side if they have any queries about their fake definition. The active player then shuffles all definitions and reads them out one at a time.

After reading each definition once, the active player reads them again in the same order. On this second pass, the other players must raise their hand if they think the one being read is the correct definiton. If need be, the active player can mark on each sheet who raised their hand for each definition.

Players score one point for guessing the correct definition, and one point for each player who incorrectly guessed at their definition. This means that a good fake definition can reap more rewards than simply being correct. Players cannot score points on their own turn, which is why a full round consists of each player having the dictionary once.

Once the scores have been tallied, the dictionary is handed to the next player for their turn.

Duplicate answers

Occasionally, multiple players might make up the same definition, or a player's made up definition might match the real one. If either of these things happen, immediately before shuffling the definitions the active player should announce that one or more have to be removed, but not state why. If the reason is that a player has matched with the correct definition, the active player should remove that player's definition, not their own*. Points are then awarded as follows:

  • A player who matched with the correct defintion (even if they were one of several players who did):
    • Is awarded a point if they pick the correct definition (which they might be inclined to do after the active player has announced that an answer has had to be removed).
    • Does not receive points when other players guess the correct definition. This is to ensure that it's always in a player's best interests to make up a fake definition, even if it so happens they already know the correct one.
  • A player who matched with another player's definition:
    • Is awarded a point for picking the correct definition as normal.
    • Receives one point if at least one player guesses their answer (or the matching one if theirs was removed). Note the one-point cap, which differs from the usual scoring where the number of players equals the points received.

* This is to prevent players in the other scenario - where they have matched with another player's definition - from being able to deduce information when they notice that their phrasing is missing. By removing theirs in this scenario too, a player who notices that their wording is missing has no way of knowing whether the similar definition is the correct one or another player's fake.

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