Book tag: a game for 1 or more players.

Book tag is a pretty simple game, with no points or scoring (except, perhaps subjectively), and open-ended play. It's played purely for the fun of it, and adds a little human interaction to your reading material.

A round of the game:

  1. A new player is 'tagged' (given a novel) by the previous player. The new player is now 'it'.
  2. The novel the new player was reading when they were tagged becomes the next book in play.
  3. On finishing their novel, the current player chooses the next player and tags them by sending them their book (or, if it's borrowed, the last book they read which they are free to dispose of).
  4. The player then reads the book they were tagged with.
The fun of the game is in step 3, choosing who the next player should be. Good candidates are:
  • Someone who'll enjoy the book.
  • Someone you can trust to return the book eventually, if you really want it back.
  • Someone totally random.
The more random your choice of player, the better. It generates churn.

The wording of all the above assumes that the game is to be played postally. Simply handing a random stranger a book and shouting 'TAG!' doesn't do much for the longevity of the game: it just leaves the new player confused and sorely tempted to throw the book in the trash. Items delivered by post have authority. Use of the postal system isn't mandatory.

Recording the gameplay is down to personal preference. Since the purpose is to share and enjoy, it's not necessary, but curiosity should probably be satisfied.

This is a spiritual brother to The Great Grand E2 Book Lotto, but isn't confined to E2; though E2 would probably make a great venue for play, and also gives a handy dandy method for recording the play.

The same principle can be used, of course, for mix tapes or any other token random acts of kindness.

Starting a new game does involve the sacrifice of a book, but if the book inspires you enough to warrant starting a game of book tag, you've obviously already decided that the book deserves to be shared.

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