We have been playing a particular game every Christmas for a few years. I don't know where it came from really. I think a few of us just made it up one year. But it's a great party game that doesn't come in a box, doesn't require a board or a drawing pad or even keeping score, and is for any number of players. We just call it the Name Game. The rules are very simple. Here they are:
1. Any number of players sit in a circle (or just around the room).
2. Pick one player to keep time.
3. Pick one player to look up challenges.
4. The timekeeper starts by naming a famous person, literary character, sports figure, or animated character. They must yell out the first and last name. Single-name celebrities, such as Eminem, are not allowed. Cartoon characters, such as Mister Magoo, count as a legitimate name if that is how they are recognized and listed in Wikipedia.
5. The player to the timekeeper's left must now state another name whose first name begins with the letter of the last name that was previously played. So, for example, if the timekeeper says Alec Baldwin, then the player to his left must think of a famous individual whose first name begins with a B. So let's say he says Ben Casey (fictional character). The next player must then think of someone whose first name begins with C, and so on.
6. Each person in turn has 60 seconds to think of a name. (You can trim it to 30 seconds for a more challenging game.)
7. If the player in turn says a name where the first and last names begin with the same letter, the next person in line must also think of a name where the first and last names begin with that same letter. However, having done so, the next person in line must only think of a name where the first name begins with that letter. Anyone, however, can use a double letter name whenever they wish. For example, if it's my turn and I say the name Amy Adams, then the next person in turn has 60 seconds to come up with a name such as, say, Adam Ant. The person in turn after him needs only to come up with a celebrity whose first name begins with A.
8. If a player in his turn can't think of a name in the allotted time, it's a strike. Three strikes and you're out of the game.
9. The winner is the one who is left after all other players have had three strikes.
10. Legitimate names: If a person says the name of someone that no one else is familiar with, any player may challenge. The timer is stopped and the challenged player must describe the person he named (job, character portrayed, etc.). The player designated to look up challenges must look up the name in Wikipedia. If it is listed in Wikipedia, it's a legitimate name and it counts. However, it must be the same person the player described. If it is not listed, or if the description does not match, it's a strike. Play continues with the next player in turn having to think up a name that begins with the same letter.
11. When a name has been given, it cannot be given again by any player.
The game is pretty easy when it begins, but as it progresses, it gets very difficult. It's also great fun!