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Classic Pocket Games

We’ve all been there… and we’ll probably all be there again: riding in a car for hours on end with nothing to do but watch the world go by. Try one of these classic car games instead. It’s a great way to turn a tedious drive into something fun and challenging. All of these could be played anywhere, but are particularly well suited to times when you have nothing else to do. We’ve also put all these rules on one page, so that you can print it, fold it up and put in your glove compartment.

I Spy/20 Questions

This one is pretty common: one person thinks of a noun and the other players try to guess the word. They can ask 20 yes/no questions to get help them get to the answer. In a two player game, keep track of how many questions you ask before you get the answer. Whoever asks the least questions, wins.

I Spy is almost identical to 20 Questions, except the thing being guessed at has to be something that was seen at the point the players start guessing. The game is started by someone saying “I spy with my little eye something that…” and then giving a clue. This one is more interesting in a car, because often the item being guessed at is no longer in view by the time the 20th question rolls around.

The Animal Game

This is an easy game for two players (or two teams of players). Each person is assigned (or picks) one side of the car. You get points for animals and items spotted on your side of the car. Here’s the breakdown of how points are awarded:

  • 4-legged animal: 5 points
  • 4-legged animal standing on two legs: 20 points
  • Church: 20 points
  • Schoolhouse: 10 points
  • Graveyard: Cut score in half
  • White cat sitting in window: 50 points

It’s worth pointing out that you could easily add items to this list. For example, I’m not sure where the “white cat sitting in window” comes from. I’m also not sure why a church is worth the same amount as a cow standing on her hind legs, for that matter.

Alphabet Game

As car games go, this is my favorite. The goal is to be the first person to finish the alphabet. You “get” a letter when you see a word (outside the car) that starts with that letter. You have to get the letters in order, of course. When you see a word that starts with a letter, shout out the letter, followed by the word. Pointing is good, too. Once you’ve claimed a specific word on a specific sign, no one else can use it. For exampe, if I’m working on “A”, I might see a sign that says “Stop Sign Ahead”. I would shout “A – Ahead” and point. Now no one else can use “Ahead” from that sign. Someone could use “Ahead” if it was on a different sign, however.

I recommend that multiple players divide up into two teams to play (otherwise, it’s hard to see enough signs). Also, I recommend that you put a limit of 4 letters on how far ahead one team can get. Once one team is 4 letters behind, everyone should help that team catch up (to being 3 letters behind) before anyone else can advance. Finally, you might want to consider allowing license plates for “X” and “Q”.

Pink Link/Pinky Linky

Pink Link is a weird little rhyming game that can be fun if you’re in the right mood. Think of a two word rhyme, and then describe it with a non-rhyming phrase. For example, if you thought of “grape ape” you might give the clue “tasty simian” (or even “wine monkey”). You get a point whenever the other players can’t guess your rhyme. Pinky Linky is identical, except the rhyming words each have two syllables (instead of one).

“Have you ever seen a…”

No car game list would be complete without one that involves singing. This game is best played as rapid-fire as possible. Think of a common phrase that is nonsensical when it is broken down, and then sing out the “Have you ever seen a…” followed by the phrase three times, and then “now, you tell me one.”.

Here’s an example “Have you ever seen a horse fly, a horse fly, a horse fly? Have you ever seen a horse fly? Now you tell me one!” The next person should respond as quickly as possible.

For example, “Have you ever seen a beer mug, a beer mug, a beer mug? Have you ever seen a beer mug? Now you tell me one!”


Posted August 26, 2015 in Games
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