I thought it would be fun to invent a game all of my own. I wanted to create a parlour game that didn’t require any special equipment to play (so no cards or board, but pencil and paper is fine). I give you… Topsy Turvy!

Topsy Turvy game rules

Topsy Turvy is a game about opposites. It can be played with 3+ players

Round One

In the first round, you take it in turns (clockwise) to say a word. Any word. Each of the other players writes a single word that they think is the opposite of that word. So you can be nice, and say ‘Black’ or mean and say ‘Tractor’. Once each player has written down a word they raise a finger. Once everyone has their fingers up, they go round clockwise and say their word. The player who set the challenge chooses his or her favourite opposite. There is one rule, however, which is that anyone with the same word as another player is disqualified and cannot win that round. The chosen opposite is placed in a bowl in the centre, and its discoverer gains a point. Go round the circle twice so you end up with twice the number of words as players.

Round Two

In round two you again take turns to pose a request for opposites. But this time the player takes two words out of the bowl, and reads them in their preferred order. So either ‘black tractor’ or ‘tractor black’. The other players as before have to write down their opposite and raise a finger. This time, they write two words, and it must be a single concept. So ‘Light corn’ might be an answer. Again, the setter chooses his or her favourite, places it beside the bowl, and awards a point. Pairings where both words are identical cannot win, and pairings sharing one word can only win if all pairings do. Go around the circle once, until all words in the bowl are used up.

Round Three

In round three you lay out the pairs of words from round two, and each player must form a sequence with these pairs, and be able to justify how each step in the sequence are opposites. They have five minutes to do so. Once the time is up, each person reads out their sequence, and then can defend the oppositeness of connections – but only for other people’s sequence! So if they have the same pairing as someone else, they can defend that one. If it only appears in their sequence, they cannot. Once everyone has spoken as they see fit, a vote is taken, with each ‘favourite sequence’ awarded a point per vote.

We played this game over New Years, and, surprisingly, it was Round Two that was the stand-out winner. Round Three really didn’t work, and needs rethinking.

O! for a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention – William Shakespeare

Ease of play: 2/10

Resemblance to play: 4/10 

Aggression: Low

Speed: Slow

Enjoyability: Low-to-Medium

Potential frequency of play: High

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