Return to Other Foot (thing)

Other Foot is a card game similar to Apples to Apples, but far more fun. It requires at least three players, and at most the number of players that will fit around your card table. The only other requirement is a large stack of small blank cards. Index cards (cut in half) are perfect for this purpose, however any small pieces of paper which can clearly be written on will suffice (I have been known to use the paper fliers that accumulate at my local cafe).

The game begins with each player grabbing a handful of blank cards and writing words or phrases on them. There are absolutely no rules about what can be written on a card. There is a basic set of guidelines below for what will be more likely to make the game more fun, but feel free to write anything you want. Occasionally people will draw small pictures.

When each player is satisfied with the number of cards he or she has made (No required amount, but typically somewhere between ten and forty cards each) all the cards are shuffled together (this can be annoying since they aren't playing cards) and each player takes five cards.

Players take turns being the judge. At the beginning of the turn, the judge plays a card from his hand, face up, into the center of the table. Typically, the judge will read the card aloud, either for the benefit of players who are far away, or because many people have barely legible handwriting. Every other player then chooses a card from his or her hand which could be understood as some kind of response to the judge's card. The responding cards are played immediately (there is no time limit on deciding which card to play, although players who take too long can be ridiculed).

The judge decides which card "goes best" with his own card. The "best card" may somehow match his card, or perhaps finish a thought, or just sound strange in response to his card. Again, there are no rules for deciding. When the judge decides whose card is best, that player gets a "point", which he scores by taking the judge's card and placing it in his score-pile. All other cards from play are placed in a discard pile, which will be shuffled and returned to the draw pile when the draw pile eventually runs out of cards. If the judge decides that there is no real winner, the round is declared a wash, and all cards from play are placed in the discard pile. All players draw a card to return their hands to five cards (if they have not done so already) and the player seated to the left of the judge becomes the new judge.

The reason quotation marks are employed about the word "point" is that the points in this game are about as meaningless as they are on everything2. When people feel they have played long enough, everyone counts his scorepile, and decides upon the "winner", who gets about ten seconds of glory. The fun of this game is not in the competition, but in the human interaction during play. Points are merely an engine to drive the gameplay.

Additional Rules:

If an onlooker passes by and wants to join in (common in coffeehouses where you know a lot of people), tell them to make ten cards and place them in the discard pile. Then they can join in.

If you think of a good card you want to make in the middle of a game, make the card and put it in the discard pile.

If a card comes up multiple times and is consistently boring, and never works with anything, you can either ask for a vote to get rid of it, or you can just get rid of it. This is typically done by either crumpling the card into a ball, or tearing it into very small pieces.

If, between games, you want to go through and get rid of lame cards, you can.

There are no ultimate rules which make a "good" card or a "bad" card. Actually, even the distinction between "good" cards and "bad" cards is somewhat flawed. How "good" a card is can depend entirely on its interactions with other cards. A card may seem incredibly boring, but this fact can make it all the more enjoyable when it sounds really bizarre in the context of another card (For example, Diversify your investments with Fast Zombies vs. Slow Zombies).

That said, here are some basic guidelines for what works well, and what doesn't.

Good Cards:

Bad Cards:

  • Band Names.
  • Self-Contained phrases. Don't try to make a joke on the card itself. The weirdness is supposed to come out in context.
  • Specific People, places, or things. This rule can be completely wrong sometimes. I find The Queen of England to be an incredibly enjoyable card. However, specific people, places, and things in your everyday experience generally don't work.

The reason for the name "Other Foot" is just as unknown as perhaps the reason for the name Egyptian Ratscrew. Legend tells us that that was simply the phrase on the card that came up when they were deciding what to name the game.

Other Foot is extremely fun to play with a group of incredibly creative friends, preferably a really large group. However, be wary, as it can be extremely boring if played with a group of incredibly uncreative friends. If you have a bad experience playing Other Foot, perhaps you should reconsider what sort of people you surround yourself with.

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