• Substitution (a.k.a N+7) is a game of text re-writing and can be played with any number of players.
  • What you need for the game is a short piece of writing and a dictionary. 
  • The game is devised by the French ‘literary’ group OuLiPo. It is an entertaining example of their rule-based or constrained writing approach.
  • Here is the gameplay: Player(s) take a piece of writing and identify all the common nouns in the piece.
  • Then they reach out to the dictionary and replace every noun with the seventh noun following it in the dictionary.
  • The new text with substitutions is read aloud.
  • The result can be nonsensical, funny and sometimes surprisingly meaningful.
  • The following example from Tony Augarde’s ‘A to Z of Word Games’ shows what the following verses by Wordsworth look like after being substituted.


I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills.

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, o f golden daffodils.


I wandered lonely as a clown

That floats on high o'er valentines and hims.

When all at once I saw a crucifix,

A hostelry, of golden dahlias.



(Book carving in the image by Julia Strand)