Little Games you play to pass the time

I was visiting a friend who has a cottage on Lake St. Clair ( a water way between Lake Huron and the Detroit River.) where freighters ( lake and ocean) regularly chug up and down the way. My friends cottage is on an island where there are no cars ( just golf carts and bikes) I love this place right down to my toes. Except for the fact that you are screwed if you run out of milk as there is no store on the island. and the internet service is dial up:::::shudder::::::


My friends play Freighter First. If you are the first one to see a freighter, you call it. If there are more than two at the cottage then it becomes a scramble to be call out Freighter Second! Freighter Third
I attended church service ( less than 30 minutes from start to finish, which is what all services should be.) I was sitting on a couch that sank really low and could not see out the window of this cottage ( it was raining, so services were in someone’s cottage.) I can tell you that when everyone else saw a freighter come into view the amount of nudging from spouse to spouse or friend to friend or neighbor to neighbor went off like a five alarm fire. It was pretty comical.

If I had seen the vessel I had planned to shout out " Freighter First…Thank you Jesus!" That is what I get for obstructed view. Next time, I am steam rolling myself to a window seat, dammit.
Since our humble abode is land locked, we have now invoked Tractor First and School Bus First! rules.

Which are not nearly as painful and more frequent than Slug Bug

We used to play Alphabet on road trips. You had to spot the letters of the alphabet, in their consecutive order, on sings and license plates. First person to z won.

We did that on road trips when the kids were little. They got really good at finding Quaker State and Dairy Queen signs. :smiley:

On road trips we would watch for cows and if you saw a field of cows the first to yell “Cow!” got to add them to the tally. If you saw a cemetary you would yell “Cemetary - all your cows are dead!” and your opponent would lose all his cows.

We played “Zap” on road trips. The first to spot a windmill would yell “Zap”, and the person with the highest score at the end of the trip won.

Yeah, it was dead boring, but it beat the bejeebus out of it’s predecessor; simple cow counting. (Although we once spotted a cow and bull copulating. It was the highlight of the trip.)

My boyfriend’s rental house is zoned heavy industrial and has an electrical substation on one side, a burned out house behind, a soccer stadium across the road, and a very active train track across the street. It’s maybe twenty feet from the front door. When you first hear the train coming you scream “Train dummy!”, and the last one to yell it get punched by everybody else. You start listening pretty good.

I must be a huge nerd…

When on boring road trips or anything of the sort, my gf and I play trivia games. We buy little cards with questions (depending on where we are). We have questions for the Simpsons and other tv shows, sports trivia, history, geography…about anything you can imagine.
Also, I sometimes do math problems (actually, every time I drive) and it’s my favorite. Kinda sad that math problems are considered fun. heh.


We played something like the cow game where the first person to see a red car called it, but if another player spotted a green roof on a house the other person lost their cows. We invented it because there weren’t enough cemeteries on the trips we took.

Woah, I’m pretty sure I know exactly where your boyfriend lives. In fact, I may have been to a party at that house before. Way back in the day, of course.


I often drive the 496 miles between my home in NJ and my in-laws’ home in Ontario all alone. I carefully remember the exact time that I depart. This way, I try to achieve average speed goals. For example, if I’m averaging 68 mph after 3 hours, I’ll try to speed up over next half hour so that I’m averaging 70 by 3.5 hours. In this case, I’d have to average 82 over the next half hour. The goals vary based on traffic, weather and departure point. When leaving Canada, Customs slows me down substantially after just 80 miles. Word of advice: Don’t reveal to the Customs agent that he’s screwing up your average speed goals, unless you want him to pull you to the side and inspect every inch of the car. But when leaving home, I don’t stop the car until the gas tank is almost empty at around 380 miles just before Buffalo.

My game works just about anywhere that has any numbers. Find a way to manipulate the numbers so you get 42(RIP Douglas Adams). So 3875 would go 8 times 5 is 40, 7 divided by 3 is 2 with a remandier of 1, add 40 and 2 then multiply by the remander of 1. You get 42. Some are easy, some are hard. I always manage to find a way even if I have to get very creative. Like right now it is 800AM so I have 2 zeros so divide 8 by 2, and get 4. Then because I took away 2 zeros I have to add them back in, and stick it behind the 4. So I get 42. No it isn’t logical, but it makes me think outside the box.

The other geek game I play is converting the hiway numbers to binary, or if they are already in binary convert them to decimal so that 101 becomes 5, which is really confusing to people in California when I am taking 101, and tell them I am on 5.


My friend introduced me to her version of the cow game where tractors were the annihilator. She couldn’t be trusted though on account of her complete inability to estimate. Also, given the close company shared by cows and tractors, we left many patures in bloody ruin.

When I told another friend about this game she told me her family’s version was to yell, “Hey Cows!” out the window and count the ones that looked up.

This is completely juvenile, but here goes:

Back in high school,my circle of friends played a game that was the forsaken child of Punchbug and Pull My Finger. The first person to detect a fart (usually the originator of said fart, but you know how absent minded some people can be) would subtly place his thumb on his forehead. The others would either notice the gesture or the fart itself and quickly place their thumbs on their foreheads. The last person with a thumb on his forehead had to “eat the fart” which amounted to nothing more than a theatrical chomping of the air, but the point isn’t really to humiliate the eater.

Perfectly executed, the point was to let out a silent Canary Killer, and safely getting that thumb in place without anyone noticing so you could watch the fart work it’s way through the room. Depending on the crowd you’re hanging with, it can either start with a cry of disgust quickly erupting in a flury of thumbs, or if you’re with a crew of pros, each person that detects the fart will try to be equally discreet, thereby allowing the fart to get maximum olfactory coverage. The hardest part is trying not to laugh. I’ve had it literally backfire on me once when thinking of the havoc I had in store, I let out a small chuckle which unfortunately caused me to let out the fart as well and rather audibly. In the hilarity that ensued, I was the last with my thumb on my forehead.

Yeah, good times.

I took my best friend with me and my parents to Florida last year. We drove from St. Louis.

We got bored because we talk every day and didn’t have much new to discuss that could be said in front of my parents, so we started counting roadkill.


Deer were 5 points, raccoons 3, everything else or unidentifiable 1.

It kept us entertained for a few hours. And yes, we’re college-aged.

We started doing it when we drove from St. Louis to Rolla to visit her school. Whatever highway that is that takes you most of the way has a ton of roadkill.

We also have a long running habit of reading road signs and billboards in a certain voice/inflection out loud, out of nowhere. And the creepy thing is, we don’t read every one, and we always end up blurting out the same signs the same way.

A, my name is Alice, my husband’s name is ___. We live in ____, and we sell ___.

The answers filled in the blanks above could, for example, be Albert, Alabama, Apples.

When my son was really litttle, this game took on an absolutely surreal quality. “A, my name is… Coconut! My wife’s name is Lalinda. We live in Coconutville, and we sell mongooses.”

As we all have aged, we try to avoid the obvious answers, so we get things like, “A, my name is Aloyisius, my wife’s name is Anastasia. We live in Armenia, and we sell antibiotics.”

I always hope I’ll get “O” so I can say, “We live in Ouagadougou.”

My now husband and I were moving between Pittsburgh and St. Louis in a rental truck. Bored, bored bored!

After filled the tank, we spent the next 60 miles calculating the additional weight added by the fuel by estimating the density, converting gallons to liters and solving for mass. All in our heads, using estimation.

Good times…

Whoops! Well, it’s not like they’re worth stalking, and they haven’t got anything worth stealing. Just don’t be the last one to yell “Train dummy”, is all.

On long road trips my family used to count red barns, It was generally similar to the cow games mentioned above, but with barns being the object counted, (cows being too numerous I suppose). Anyway, many additional rules evolved over the years, such as,

A whole farm complex, no matter how many buildings, counted as 1 red barn.
As long as a barn was not obviously painted another color, it counted.
Stationary tractors added 10 points to your total.
Moving tractors added 20 points.
Cemetaries deleted all points accumulated.
A white horse added 50 points, but the horse must be completely white. There were, of course, many arguments over whether a horse was to be counted.

As there were four of us in the car on these trips it was a competetive game of the left side of the car vs. the right side. You could only count the barns on your side of the road/car. The right side invariably won as the driver is (hopefully) concentrating more on driving than playing.

We also played the alphabet game, but we could only use roadside signs, not license plates. However, we could save J’s, Q’s, X’s and Z’s and use them out of order.

We did play a license plate game as well. The rules were fairly basic. You would use the first and last letters, and think of a famous person that had those letters as initials, so that XQC 957 could yield Xavier Cougat. Arguments would occur over too loose a definition of ‘famous’. Bluffing was also commonplace.

In retrospect, I suppose our main passtime was arguing. Ah well, we had fun.

Thus were the many hours spent driving to Grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving.

I don’t recall that it has a name, but I remember the teacher that started it all on a class road trip.

First person announces a letter C. The second repeats the letter and adds one CH. The third adds the next letter and so on. The object is to make the string as long as possible without spelling a word but still being able to get to a word. The next person in line can either add a letter or challenge the previous person to come up with a word that starts with the letters up to that point. We played with 5 strikes and you’re out.

when we wre little, we counted semi trucks.

When we were littler, we did things like say “wheeee!” when we were on a hilly road and chant “dark-dark-dark-dark” when we went through wooded areas where the sun was obscured by the trees.
Now… my sisters do slugbug, but I don’t.

We moo when we pass cows, but don’t keep track.

we play “I spy” but everything has to be inside the car. We also play the alphabet-finding game.

On long trips, we list off all the states on a piece of paper and check them off as we see the license plates. We’ve seen Alaska and Hawaii, but never Wyoming.

we also play “spot the spy” “spot the wizard” “spot the guy whose life changed today” and so on. It’s fun making up stories about strangers. That’s in long lines and waiting rooms and such.

We play 20 questions and Movie Taboo too. (Movie Taboo being where you have to describe a movie without using any of the words in the title or the names of any of the actors or characters and have people guess.)