What it is: A talking game with a pretty good potential for giggles

Best for: A small group of players (3 or more), any age

What you need: Nothing!

How to play: If you’re familiar with Twenty Questions, this game will be easy to learn because it’s very similar. The main difference is, in Twenty Questions, players think of nouns. In Poodle, it’s all about verbs.

To start, one player (say Dolly) thinks of a verb, like skateboarding. She keeps the verb a secret, and other players then ask Dolly questions and try to guess her verb, like in Twenty Questions. But the twist is, any time a sentence would have skateboarding in it, players replace it with poodle. (That’s where the potential for giggles comes in.)

So some sample questions might be:

  • Has anyone here poodled today?
  • Does it take a lot of skill to poodle?
  • If I wanted to get up and poodle right now, could I?
  • Do you need any equipment to poodle?
  • Do you poodle outside or inside?
  • Is poodling hard?
  • Who’s the best poodler in our family?

Dolly can answer the questions, and provide some additional clarification or hints, also using the code word poodle. So, she could say things like, “No, you’d get in trouble if you poodled at school,” or “Yes, you need something specific to poodle,” or “No one in our family can poodle very well.”

Unlike Twenty Questions, it’s fun if Dolly says more than just yes or no (because sometimes you can’t help but laugh when you say a sentence with poodle as a verb in it). It’s fun for her to give extra hints, too. If you have a larger group, it can also be fun if more than one person is in on they clue word. That way they can both answer questions and offer opinions (since a lot of times the questions aren’t as clear-cut as they are in a game of Twenty Questions).

Our family has had a lot of fun with this game. Again, for some reason, you just can’t help but giggle when you say some of the sentences or give some of the answers. Some of the verbs we’ve played with are trick-or-treating, doing the dishes, fighting, reading, eating, and (my four-year-old’s idea) burping.

We found the game a long time ago online, and I wish I had the source for it. (If you know it or have played the game before, leave a comment!)

Variations: Some very similar games are 20 questions, no/because, and breakfast combo. Some other word-guessing games include password and three things.

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