by Jeremy Bushnell
Impress and amuse your friends by uncovering interesting and obscure facts in a limited span of time.
Get a bunch of friends together at a library.
Distribute the paper and writing implements and agree on a duration for the game (half an hour seems to work well) and a place to reconvene.
Each player has a simple goal: to use the resources of the library to discover the existence of an interesting fact that they were not aware of when the game began. Different players develop different strategies; all are considered valid.
Players write down the fact(s) they uncover and then reconvene when their time is up and share the facts that they learned with the other players.
New variants and commentary on Fact Party can be found in our 2000 Games District Year-End Update.
Although uncovering the “most” interesting or obscure fact can be a point of pride, Fact Party does not operate in the spirit of “winners” and “losers,” but rather in the spirit of cooperation and sharing. The giving and receiving of interesting information should reward all players evenly, and declaring one player the winner would be about as crass as declaring one person the winner of, say, Christmas morning.
The Fact Party was a direct extension of my earlier Listening Parties, evenings where my music-geek friends and I would gather together and take turns playing obscure and interesting musical selections for one another. The Listening Parties were a great success, and I felt that their simple “discover, gather, share” system would work equally well with other sorts of information. Fact Party was played for the first time this winter in Minneapolis with Kat M. and Eric S., and then again in March with the other members of the Invisible City team, in Austin.