Gossip (Chinese Whispers)

  • Chinese whispers (a.k.a. Gossip) is a verbal game based on what is lost – and found- in oral communication, in a fun way. It is a game for four or more players.
  • The game played all over the world under different names. The name ‘chinese whispers’, according to some sources, is adopted in British English in the mid 20th century, where earlier it was better known as ‘Russian scandal’ or ‘Russian gossip’. One of the French names of the game is ‘Arabic telephone’. Other local names rather free from cultural marginalisation are broken telephone, wireless telephone, secret message, gossip, geese to geese, and ear to ear.
  • Gameplay: Players form a line or a circle. The first player whispers a phrase or a sentence into ear of the person sitting on the right, only once. A long and complicated sentence makes the game more fun. Each player successively whispers the message, as best as they can understand and remember, to the ear of the next player until it reaches the last player in line. When the message reaches the final recipient, he or she announces the message out loud to the entire group. The first person then reveals the original message. The final message often differs significantly from the original, as a lot gets lost in transmission. Hence the entertainment from comparing the original and the final messages.
  • For a new round of play, players shuffle and a new first player whispers a message to the ear of the next player. What will the message look like in a few minutes, nobody knows.

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