How Many Elephants is one of those fun, vaguely childish games in which the fun comes from you knowing the "trick" to the game and the other people trying to figure it out. Similar games are black magic and My grandma died yesterday. Did she die? Of course, all of these games can get quite old over fast if no one seems to be catching on or you just seem to be gloating about your victory, so be careful when you decide to play this.
In the game, the person who is in the know makes a statement about how many elephants are around, and where they are. The person will often use their environment and the other people present to set the scene. For instance, he might say, "There are two elephants on the top of that building, one elephant standing right beside us, and three elephants in Jenny's hair. How many elephants are there?"
Well, of course, there is a trick, else this would be quite a boring game. First, so you can try to figure it out, here's a little example of dialogue:
1st Person: Okay guys, here goes. There's two elephants on that pole right there, five elephants in my pocket, and one elephant behind you. How many elephants are there?
All others: Eight?
1st: No, five. Let's try again. One elephant on the pole, one elephant in John's pocket, no elephants on Mars. How many elephants are there?
Others: (A variety of confused answers)
1st: Five again. Three elephants here, four elephants there, one-hundred elephants everywhere. How many elephants?
Others: (A variety of confused answers, but lots of fives)
1st: Three this time. There are no elephants. How many?
Others: (highly confused looks)
Can't figure out the trick? Don't mind the game being spoiled for you? Here it is: The entire first sentence is irrelevant. The answer to the question is the number of words that are in the last sentence. Thus, the answer to the first example above is five. Pretty simple, eh? But without knowing it, it will drive you crazy.
Eventually, some people will start to get it. Others will take longer. Some people will assume you're doing some kind of complex math and never figure it out, while the others will enjoy laughing at their sufferings. Again, be careful with how you play this game: it's not worth losing a friend over a silly little word game.