Do you ever want to play a game but can't find anyone else who wants to play? Instead of giving up and turning on the computer or the television, call a friend and play a game over the phone. With a little adjusting, many games you already know can be played by people in two different places. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Each player needs chess pieces and a chess board or diagram of a board with columns labeled A to H (left to right) and rows labeled 1 to 8 (bottom to top). The person playing black should rotate the board 180 degrees. Set up the game. When it is your turn, identify the location, using letter and number, of the piece you are moving and the place you are moving it. Your partner should update his board with your move before taking a turn.
Label a board as described in the chess section above. Lay out checkers on both ends. Play the game, giving the location of the checker you are moving and each square you are moving it to. If you jump over pieces, give their locations, too. Both players move their own and the other player's checkers.
One person thinks of something in one of these categories: animal, vegetable or mineral. The other person asks up to twenty questions to guess what it is. When you guess the right answer or ask all twenty questions, switch roles.
Add a Word
One person says a word. The other person adds a word to start building a sentence. Go back and forth one word at a time until you reach the end of the sentence. The object is to make the sentence last as long as possible. Either player can decide when the sentence is complete.
Make Up a Story
One person starts a story, telling a few sentences. Then she passes it to the other person, who adds a few more sentences. Switch back and forth until you agree that the story is over.
Guess by Letter (Hangman)
Each person needs a piece of paper and pen or pencil. One person thinks of a word or phrase, writes it, and tells the other how many words there are and how many letters in each word. The other person draws short lines to represent the letters in the word or phrase. He suggests one letter at a time. If the letter appears, the other person tells each place it falls, and the person guessing fills in the blanks. If it doesn't appear, the person says so and notes that there was an incorrect guess. The person guessing can suggest a complete word or phrase at any time--there's no penalty for a wrong guess. When he correctly guesses the word or phrase, or when all wrong letter guesses have been used, play switches. Allow twelve wrong letter guesses. For a harder game, reduce the number.
Johanna Ehrmann has been a freelance writer, editor and copy editor since 1991. She is the author of four nonfiction books for young readers on César Chávez, origami, dance and the Smithsonian, published by Macmillan/McGraw-Hill, and two fantasy stories, published by Houghton Mifflin. Ehrmann holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Brandeis University.