Coffee House Games

Coffee House Games are a series of writing games I made up just after college. Every now and then we get together and play, and often we post the results on the Coffee House Games Schlaugh.

(Older writings can be found on the Coffee House Games Tumblr.)

The Coffee House Games

The Basics

To begin, fold and tear up a few sheets of paper into 32nds (about 2"x1" slips). Depending on the game, players will write different items on the slips, then pile them up and draw a few at random. Next players write a story or poem, which includes the items on their cards. Many games have additional rules, like writing rotations or partners. You can also mix and match to create your own game.

Here are some common things you'll write on the slips:

  • Objects -- Any old physical, non-physical, abstract, or imaginary object; perhaps butterscotch or moonlight (bottled).
  • Themes -- The thematic tone for a story or poem; perhaps hopeless bromanticism or vengeance.
  • Characteristics -- A character trait (typically we'll combine 2-3 of these into one character); perhaps passionate hatred of blue or always walks right in the middle of any path.
  • Premises -- A description of the scenario; perhaps the doctor is missing or I stayed up so, so late
  • First Lines -- The very first line of the story, or part of it; perhaps Leave it to Penelope to die at her own birthday party. or "I became an accountant to avoid all this," Karen sighed, loading another bolt into her crossbow.
  • Dialogue -- A line of dialogue to be used in the story; perhaps "Now THAT is a moose." or "Find him, tranq him, and bring him to me!"