The following are rules for a game of Spin the Bottle, to be played in adult company. They were composed in contemplation of several important factors:
- Maximizing enjoyment for everyone--not only in the sense of permitting people to kiss other people freely, but also in the sense of providing for a compelling game
- Inclusion (meaning anybody's presence--regardless of attractiveness, kissability, or any other characteristic--offers advantages to the overall gameplay, making everyone a desirable player)
- Comprehensive coverage (beginning-to-end instructions; no loopholes)
- Order of operation (meaning that, while the rules should be read in their entirety first, they are presented more or less in the order they become relevant)
- Prior knowledge (that is, I assume you understand that the basic premise of spin the bottle is as follows: A group of people sit in a circle and take turns spinning an empty bottle. The person toward whom the bottle, once spun, points, receives a kiss from the spinner, and then the next spinner takes a turn, etc.).
The rules are as follows (commentary in italics):
Spin the Bottle Rules
1. No communicable diseases.
2. No pictures/recordings/videos/publicity/etc. whatsoever.
No better way to discourage the sort of fun we’re after
3. The last person to agree to play is the first to spin. Spin order proceeds clockwise from there.
The clockwise order is arbitrary; who cares? That the last person to agree to play is the first to spin is more interesting. I speculate that people will be more likely to join if they stand to spin immediately; then again, the opposite might just as well be true. This also might discourage people from bringing new people into the game. Anyway, any motivation is probably pretty minimal. A better system, in theory, would be some random chance, but the probable absence of dice or other random selection devices (except coins, which are inconvenient when there are so many people) makes a bright line rule better. Besides, this is one that is broken with no adverse effect on the game.
4. The game is played in rounds; players must stipulate by majority vote how many turns constitute a round (e.g., how many times will each person spin before the round is over?). No player may leave the game before the end of the round, except by unanimous consensus.
This is the most complicated aspect of the game. Part of the problem of spin the bottle is the threat of an early exit from the players. Before players agree to play, they should know what their commitment is. And, there should be a non-arbitrary endpoint (as most games have). For spin the bottle, I propose simply a number of “rounds”—that is, a number of completed rings around the circle. Because leaving early is penalized, the players should decide on how many times each person gets to spin before leaving the game is permitted. Players will also opt after each round whether to continue; this will be an organic decision probably based on who, if anyone, opts to leave after a given round.
5. Players demonstrate their commitment to the game by partaking of a breath mint or mouthwash, provided for in-game consumption.
I’m fond of this one. It has a very Matrix-esque feel. In the olden days, different signals were used to seal the signing of a contract as binding. In ancient Ireland, the contractors’ fingers touched through a hollow stone. In ancient Rome, the term stipulatio was used. In the bible, it seems a goat was slaughtered and butchered. In my game of spin the bottle, a mint is eaten.
6. Players will stipulate the minimum kiss requirements. Majority rules. This is more fun if done AFTER players commit to play.
This is the first step of the gameplay phase. Once everyone has committed—so there’s no turning back—the players agree on what constitutes a kiss. A peck on the cheek? Maybe. Tongue? Could be interesting…
7. Procedure: The spinner spins the bottle; subject to the above rules, the spinner must kiss the player towards whom the most closely points.
8. If the bottle doesn't spin at least 1080 degrees, lose the turn.
I selected 1080 degrees for two reasons. First, it references a very cool N64 snowboarding game. Second, it seems like enough spin to vitiate spinner bias. Who you want isn’t necessarily who you get!
9. If the bottle lands on the spinner, re-spin.
No freebies; the spinner is going to kiss someone.
10. If the bottle does not clearly indicate anyone, either:
a) Re-spin by unanimous consensus of all non-spinners, OR
b) If no consensus, pick between the two possible designees (between whom the bottle points) with a coin flip
Anytime there’s unanimous consensus for anything, it should probably be allowed. The concern here is that anytime a bottle doesn’t clearly designate a single person, the spinner will choose the more desirable of the two options. This has negative implications for inclusion: we want even unattractive people to get kissed. So, either everyone agrees on whom should be kissed, or we flip a coin and decide neutrally. It’s out of the spinner’s hands.
11. Once the game is afoot, refusal to kiss or backing out early is punishable by removal of clothing (á la strip poker).
By far my favorite rule, as it really brings the whole game together. In every group of people, each member either wishes or does not wish to kiss each other member, and everyone’s preferences are unique. Imagine for a moment physical attractiveness equals kissability; now imagine a group of six people, of whom four are very average, one is very attractive, and one is very unattractive. Offered a game of spin the bottle, the more attractive five have very little reason to include the less attractive sixth. However, given the penalty of stripping, the equation complicates itself. Rather than asking, “Would I want to kiss the unattractive person,” each person asks rather, “Does my apprehension of having to choose between kissing an unattractive person or stripping outweigh my desire to see other people put in such a position?” A much more compelling dilemma. This rule is the tooth that makes the whole game work; both the stick and the carrot providing positive and negative reinforcement. It also offers players a choice, encouraging them to weigh the benefits and costs of disobeying the bottle. Plus, the potential for nudity is just fun.
Note: Players might opt to regulate the clothing requirements for players (e.g., limiting to five articles, etc.)