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Rhymex Sociable Thinktank Game Copyright 2002


The Object of this game is to exchange ideas with friends and strangers in such as a way that you each get to run the whole show and participate in everyone else's show--and to supercharge these shows a bit with random word-facilitated leaps of thought to uncharted areas. You leave the game with a written pile of paper full of ideas that are likely to be very useful and get to learn-by-applying brainstorming skills which are quite potent and not widely practiced. Along the way, you get way more than your 2 cents in and get to hear the ideas of everyone else lots of times. At breaks and afterwards, you will all have much in common to discuss. While "reality" TV shows have made quite a ripple, here you have, I hope, a REALITY living room, tabletop, portable coffeehouse game likely to challenge your imagination in a variety of different contexts and perhaps providing crucial ideas for and by the other players.

  • 2-10 people and copies of this page
  • 1 or more Travellers or Writer's Blocks
  • pile of blank paper (scrap paper preferable)
  • pens
  • one clock, watch or stopwatch and only semi-flexible timekeeper
  • one bell or glass and spoon
  • Agreement to limit extraneous conversation (blabbing) to breaks between exercises
  • refreshments
  • some sense of humor

Next Step is to begin thinking about what you will do with your 15 minutes or so in charge of a supercharged group of brainstormers (your Rhymex). A yes/no type of problem is generally not a good idea. It can be personal, it can be useful, it can be a flight of fancy, it could be a strategy, whatever Rhymex you decide. Don't be afraid to challenge the group with a seemingly insoluble problem. Actually, you need to come up with the sort of focus for the group that demands a creative solution and where it would be helpful to you to have lots of choices. You will soon have an opportunity to focus more intensively on this crucial ingredient of a winning game.

Example Rhymex:
What types of creations would we most like to see from our artists? (If there is an aversion to this question you might decide to choose "inventors" or even "politicians")

Let's Give it a Try by now each writing down all the ideas you can come up with in 3 minutes.
Timekeeper will start you off and hit the bell or glass or whoopie cushion is 3 minutes, meanwhile joining in. As a general rule, everyone should strive towards coming up with 10 but not 20 ideas within the 3 minutes.

After Time is Called go right into sharing results by each reading your written output to the rest of the group. Aside from an occasional irresistable wisecrack, it is best to zip through this part without any comments and discussions.

Round 2: Get out your random word machine for this one. Everyone should have access to official random words. You can use a single combination to inspire the entire 3 minutes or try several different horses (word combinations). THE IDEA is to use these random words to help you think of ideas, at the moment, however, just ideas having to do with "what types of creations we would most like to see from our artists". Even if you are convinced that you have the subject covered, please use the random words to help you think of lots more. Timekeeper says "go". When you are done with 3 minutes of brainstorming, it is again time to read your results.

Take a 5 minute break if you like.

The Next Rhymex is your creation of your own Rhymex with which to challenge the group. Take 3 minutes to come up some choices for yourself, as many as possible. Use the random word machines whenever your own idea fountain starts to run dry. Don't read your results this time but go into the next 3 minute timed blitz phase where you pick your favorite problem and write down how you intend to express it to the group, how you wish to direct their brainstorming in your behalf. Afterwards, read the group some of your better alternative topics for your Rhymex and take a 5 minute break.

Next Time You Play you can begin right here:

Everyone gets to run their Rhymex on the group for two 3 minute brainstorming segments, at least one using random words to find ideas that would otherwise remain invisible. Always read all brainstorming results after each 3 minute blitz. After final reading, all written brainstorming output is passed on to the person who just ran their Rhymex. You also get up to 2 minutes to fully explain your Rhymex and what to expect of the group. Take 5 minute breaks whenever you like between group leaders and maybe a 15 minute break midway.

Play as many rounds as you like or have time for.