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 [the end is near|paper fliers] that accumulate at my local [cafe]).

The game begins with each player grabbing a handful of blank cards and writing [word|words] or [phrase|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 [picture|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 [carrot top|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 [welcome to everything|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 [crumple|crumpling] the card into a [ball], or [tear|tearing] it into [elementary particle|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:

  • Anything open-ended; if your card sounds too specific, perhaps try removing a word, preferably a word essential to the meaning of the card (Instead of [Maggot-Ridden Corpses], try [Maggot-Ridden]).
  • People, places, or things, but not specific ones (Instead of [Pope John Paul II] try [Every pope whoever lived], or instead of [Willie Nelson] try [This one dude I met at Hempfest]).
  • Anything incredibly violent, graphic, or sexual ([The baby eater], [Vaginal discharge], [Booty Call]).
  • Anything overly benign ([Not as unusual as you would think], [Actually quite futuristic]).
  • By far, the best phrases sound like snippets of conversation you overheard but don't know the context for ([I bet I'd do really well on an I.Q. test], [needs a man], etc.)

Bad Cards:

  • [band name|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.