Fractionary is a group game for adults or teenagers with reasonable language skills. (Our eight year old daughter played against her teenage brothers and cousins at Christmas and competed quite well). There are some commercial games available (e.g. Balderdash™), but you can have just as much fun with only a standard dictionary, as long as it has lots of unusual, obsolete or obscure words.

Age: Teenage/Adult

No. of players: 6 to 20+

Equipment: Pen and paper for each player plus one dictionary (preferably with many unusual words)

Time: Each round takes about 10 minutes; a game can take 1-2 hours or more!

Aim: To accumulate the most points by tricking other players into thinking your definition is correct.

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1. Each player receives a blank piece of paper and a pen (or pencil). One player initially chooses an obscure word from the dictionary and asks the other players if anyone knows the meaning of that word. If another player knows the meaning, Player One chooses another word.

2. Each player writes the word and makes up their own definition for it, trying to make it sound like a real dictionary definition. Player One also writes the word and the real definition but he/she can change the wording to make it sound less like a dictionary (as long as it is still accurate).

3. Player One then collects all the pieces of paper and shuffles them. She/he reads all the definitions aloud once before reading them a second time slowly. On the second reading, the other players vote for the definition they think is the real one. (Player One does not vote.) Each definition can be read aloud again, if necessary. After everyone has voted, Player One reveals the right definition.

4. Two points are awarded to each player who guesses the correct definition. One point is also given to a player each time another player chooses their definition.

5. The next player (to the left of Player One) then chooses a new word and the sheets of paper are handed out to every player. It does not matter if they don't get their original sheet.

6. The game continues until every player has had a chance to choose a word. The winner of Fractionary is the player with the most points at the end of the game, although most players have so much fun laughing at the definitions that they don't care if they win or not!

For example: Choose the correct meaning for the word, MARTEN.

    Definition A: "Astronomical term for ice on other planets"
    Definition B: "Medieval stringed instrument"
    Definition C: "Weasel-like animal with valuable fur"
    Definition D: "A martini cocktail without gin"
    Definition E: "A round of applause"

Correct answer: Definition C

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