How to Play Elephant's Foot Umbrella Stand

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Elephant's Foot Umbrella Stand cleverly combines a memory game and a logic puzzle.

The game leader starts off by saying, "I went to the store and I bought," and then the leader names an object.

The leader has secretly determined a rule that governs whether an object is permitted.  A relatively easy-to-detect rule would be that the first object purchased must begin with an "A," the second with a "B," the third with a "C," and so forth.

Players take turns guessing what objects may be purchased, and adding them to a growing list that is increasingly difficult to remember.  In their turn, a player must correctly recite the entire approved list before they can propose adding an item.  The game ends when all players have discovered the secret rule.

A game governed by the ABC rule above might proceed thus:

Leader: I went to the store and I bought an Apple.

Player 2: I went to the store and I bought an Apple and a Plum.

Leader: No they didn't have any plums.

Player 3: I went to the store and I bought an Apple and some Butter.

Leader: That purchase is approved.

Player 4: I went to the store and I bought an Apple and some Butter and a Charleston Chew.

Leader: That purchase is approved.

Player 5: I went to the store and I bought an Apple and some Butter, and a Charleston Chew, and a Twinkie.

Leader: No, they didn't have any Twinkies.

The length of the game will depend upon the difficulty of the rule. Requiring that the first letter of each purchase ascend the alphabet is significantly easier to detect than having the second letter of each word descend the alphabet backwards from Z.

Other potential rules might be:

* Must be an object in this room

* Must include a double-letter

* Must be something you can eat

* Must be a five-letter word

* Must end in E

* Must be something that is green

* Must be from another country

* Must be something alive

* Must have exactly three syllables

* Must be a kitchen item

* Must include the name of a not-previously-used color

* The first letter of each successive purchase must spell out a word or phrase, like M-E-R-R-Y-C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S

Choose easier rules if you have young players or want a quick game. Choose more complicated rules if you have a group of Mensa-type puzzle freaks. The joy experienced by the first player to figure out a challenging rule may be palpable. For a consolation, let the last person to figure out a rule be the rule-maker for the next round.

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