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All you need for the Botticelli game for adults are clever players, a bit of general knowledge and fun with puzzles! This is how to play it.
Guessing games challenge the knowledge and thinking of the other players and pass the time on long train journeys or during game evenings with friends. A particular advantage of guessing games is that they usually require only very limited game material (such as pieces of paper and pens) or even none at all.
This is also the case with Botticelli, a rather unknown guessing game for adults in Germany, which is very popular in the USA and appears in series such as the Simpsons, Columbo or Big Bang Theory. It’s high time it became known in Germany, too, because the Botticelli game is a super alternative to other guessing games like Who Am I?, Hangman or Yes-No-Black and White.
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In Botticelli, one of the players, the chooser or selector, chooses a famous personality as an identity. The only important thing is that all the other players know this star and know a few things about the person, for example what they look like, gossip or even a few things about their life. That’s why the Botticelli game is more of a guessing game for adults or teenagers than for children.
You can also agree with the players that fictional characters (James Bond, Gandalf, Rapunzel, Lara Croft…) are allowed as long as everyone knows them. As a rule of thumb for the degree of fame, the person must be at least as famous as Sandro Botticelli – a famous Italian painter – hence the name of the game. But actually it always depends on the group you are playing with.
The chooser then tells the other players, the guessers or guessers, the first letter of the name by which his identity is best known. Usually this is the surname, so in Botticelli’s case B, Goethe’s G, John Lennon’s L, etc. But there are also celebrities who are known either by their first name (Michelangelo, Dante, Napoleon, Elvis…) or by a title or pseudonym (Buddha, Caesar, Prince, Lady Gaga…). Then you take the first letter.
Now the Botticelli game begins in indirect game mode. Each of the Guessers thinks of a particular person starting with the said letter and then asks the Chooser in turn a yes/no question concerning a characteristic of his imagined person.
Example: The chooser has chosen Quentin Tarantino as his identity and announced T as his initial letter. The first guesser thinks of Donald Trump when thinking of T and asks: Are you a politician? The chooser now has 2 possibilities to answer this:
No, I am not… …Wolfgang Thierse. (or …Donald Trump, …Margaret Thatcher, …Tito; he names any politician with a T that he can think of) → The round continues, the next Guesser may ask a question: No and I can’t imagine who you might be thinking of right now. → If the chooser cannot think of a suitable name, the game switches to direct play mode and the guesser whose turn it was may continue to pester the chooser with yes/no questions.
Example: Let’s stay with Tarantino as the imagined identity of the chooser. But this time the Guesser asks: are you in the film industry? Which is true. Again the chooser has 2 choices to answer, but they are different:
Yes and I am Quentin Tarantino → he reveals himself and the Guesser wins and becomes the new Chooser.
No, I am not… …Liz Taylor (…Justin Timberlake, …Channing Tatum etc.) → So in indirect game mode, the chooser is allowed to lie about the requested characteristic if he can think of another person to whom it applies and who starts with the same initial letter!
If the chooser cannot think of a matching person in a hurry in the 1st case, the guesser whose turn it was may ask more yes/no questions. This time the chooser must answer truthfully with yes or no.
The guesser may keep asking until he gets a no. If the chooser does not know the answer, he must say so and the guesser may continue. The same applies if the question cannot be answered clearly with a yes or no.
The winner is usually the Guesser who reveals the identity of the Chooser, regardless of the mode. He then becomes the Chooser in the next round.
The Chooser wins if all Guessers give up. However, he then has to reveal his identity and if the chosen person is not known to any of the other players, he has lost and the next player clockwise becomes the new chooser. If everyone knew the person and just didn’t figure it out, the chooser gets to play that role again.
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