Shuffleupagus is a surreal parlor game
invented by Jesse Reklaw
and extensively play-tested at Gracie's Bird Cage
. Related in concept to the classic exquisite corpse
, Shuffleupagus is an activity that almost all cartoon
ists would like and that anyone would love.
The rules are simple, but the results sublime. First, generate the raw materials. Any number of "artists" can contribute at this stage. (No proficiency at drawing is required, and in fact, a mixture of different skill levels and drawing styles often generates the most entertaining conclusion). Each person should draw on index cards or simliar slips of paper one character and one setting or scene. Next, shuffle the stack of character cards and the stack of setting cards.
Each round begins by randomly choosing one character card and one setting card. 5 or 6 players then make "frames" which feature that character in that setting. No one should look at what the others are doing. Once that's done, arrange the cards in random order, and place a blank card in between each. Here's where things get wacky: now each player draws another "frame" on a blank card, which should narratively connect the frames on either side.
This process yields a very strange comic strip, usually incredibly funny, often just barely comprehensible, always entertaining.