Previously: Frequently Asked Questions, Vol. XVI.
Come, friends — let us wade once more into the deep. For it is time for another installment of the Most Dangerous Games FAQ, wherein we will attempt to answer all your most pressing queries about spooky ritual games, all pulled from the comments of TGIMM over the past five or six months.
Possibly because the FAQ is now… (*checks calendar*) over five years old, we’re kind of getting the point where each new installment has lengthy-ish sections for a handful of recently published games (in this case, Purple Hearts, the Locked Ritual, and How To See Your Occult Twin), then a whoooooole lot of sections for older games that have only one or two questions apiece in them. Does it look a little weird, format-wise? Yes. Is there anyway around it? I thought about it for a good long while, and my conclusion is… not really. But, I mean, hey, the single-question sections only occur in each individually published edition; in the Master FAQ, everything has lengthy-ish sections, because, well… it’s… full of literally every question I have ever made an attempt to answer about everyone’s favorite Most Dangerous Games.
[Like what you read? Check out Dangerous Games To Play In The Dark, available from Chronicle Books now!]
(For nostalgia purposes, here’s a link to the very first installment of the FAQ; it was originally published on March 9, 2015, when TGIMM was just a little more than a year old. My, how we’ve all grown since then!)
In any event, as always, I’ll add this batch to the Master FAQ as soon as I can. Got something else on your mind that hasn’t been answered before either here or over there? Drop a comment on the game in question to put in the running for the next edition!
What are some good “simple” or “beginner” rituals with few risks?
The following rituals require only minimal supplies and have relatively simple instructions; they’re also somewhat low stakes. However, know going into it that no ritual is completely risk-free.
- Purple Hearts
- How To See Your Guardian Spirit
- How To Check If Your House Is Haunted
- The Testing Game
- The Martha Game
- Tsuji-ura/The Fortune Game
- The Hosting Game
- Musical Chairs Alone
- The Doors Of Your Mind
Is there any other method of getting the hairs, or do you have to pluck them?
You can also a pair of scissors or another bladed item to cut the strands, but if your hair is of an adequate length, it’s probably unnecessary to do so. If you have very short hair — for example, if it’s shaved almost or entirely down to your scalp — you may need to allow your hair to grow a bit before retrieving the hairs.
What happens if you’re seen while placing the bundle in the outdoor space?
At best, the ritual simply won’t work. At worst, it might attract something that’s… not your occult twin.
What happens if the bundle is disturbed during the seven-day period?
See previous question.
I assume that when your twin appears, it will do so somewhere in/around your home?
Not necessarily. If you’re at home the night they’re meant to appear, then yes, they’ll likely appear in or around your home, as well. However, they might show up “at any time and in any location” — it all depends on where you yourself are that night.
What happens if you approach or interact with your twin? Does it turn hostile towards you?
Again, not necessarily — but generally, it’s not advisable to interact with your own double.
What happens to you after your twin leaves?
The rules don’t say. My sense is that life just carries on as usual — although this is dependent on making sure that you dispose of the supplies used to perform the ritual properly, and that what you actually summoned was your occult twin in the first place. If you don’t dispose of the supplies, or if it turns out you’ve summoned something other than your occult twin… all bets are off.
Are you in any danger if, when your twin disappears, you haven’t learned anything?
And again: Not necessarily (and, honestly, probably not — assuming that you did, in fact, summon your occult twin, not something else). The point of the ritual is to learn something about yourself, though, so putting in the work — the examination of yourself, the introspection, whatever you want to call it — is an essential part of the process. As long as you make a good faith attempt to figure out what you’re meant to learn, you should be fine. (And if you’re not going to put in the work, why even bother performing this ritual in the first place?)
How would you say “Veronica Jaja?” Using the English “J” sound as in “jar?” Or Spanish “J” like “haha?”
The Spanish “J” sound. The game originates in a Spanish-speaking region, after all.
What if you speak two languages equally well? Or if the language you technically learned second is the one that you’re less proficient in?
Good question. I’m not sure; I suspect that in that case, you might want to use the language that you either don’t use on a daily basis, or in which you consider yourself to be less proficient. If you really wanted to be certain, though, I’d chose a third language. After all, the instructions just say that the language you should use must be a language other than one you primarily speak — it doesn’t say it specifically has to be a second language. If you’re a polyglot, for example, and you speak multiple languages, you’d probably want to choose the one in which you’re least proficient.
Could I wish for a personal enhancement, like vampire teeth or functioning wings?
Depends. Vampire teeth, probably; that’s just a cosmetic change, after all. If you really wanted to, you could file your own teeth into fangs yourself; you wouldn’t necessarily need to play this game to get them.
Functioning wings, probably not — if, that is, you mean functional wings that are a part of your own physical anatomy. (Working within the confines of our reality, that wish would likely qualify as an impossible wish.) I suppose you could ask for functional wings that are more like a hang glider or something. Specificity is key when it comes to making your wish.
Take a look at the “Concerning Your Wager” section again. If you have to jump through a bunch of mental hoops to justify how your wish could be possible, then it’s probably not the right wish to make.
Also, bear in mind that if you lose, then what your opponent wins is the opposite of what you wished for — and usually the most damaging opposite possible. If you wished for vampire teeth, for example, you might find yourself with no teeth, or suffering from some other dental-related disaster. If you wished for functional wings, you might find yourself falling from a great height with nothing nearby to save you.
You won’t know what form his prize will take until it happens — but know that the cost for losing is steep.
Say I wished for every kinetic ability that existed. Would that count as being impossible/ungrantable?
Again, if you have to jump through a bunch of mental hoops to justify your wish being possible, it’s probably not the right wish to make.
Can we use a chest or trunk instead of a lockbox?
As long as you can lock the chest somehow, yep! The “lockbox” can be any kind of box, whether it’s an actual lockbox or not; you just have to be able to lock the box securely.
Do both of the participants have to have been close with the departed loved one your question concerns, or is it permissible for only one of the participants to have been close with them?
Unclear. You’ll probably have the best results if you were both close with them, but sources don’t specify either way. Remember, though, you’re not speaking with the departed person — you’re speaking with an intermediary about the departed person.
Is it “cheating” if you squeeze the other participant’s hands once it “feels right” (re: Step 13 in The Ritual)?
Maybe not cheating, per se, but it’s probably not ideal to do so. I would argue that if you have to signify to someone that the moment is right, then that’s actually a sign that the moment isn’t right. If all goes well, you should both naturally open your eyes at the same time. If you don’t, then enact the procedure described for the situation in which only one principal opens their eyes.
Can one principal say the Korean while the other asks the question?
No. Both players must speak the opening and closing incantations together in unison. However, the question may be asked by either one player alone or both players together.
What about using sign language?
Sign language is a way of speaking; it’s just not an aural one. Formal languages are a no here, so that means no sign language, too. However, general gestures that aren’t part of a full language system may be permissible — for example, if someone picks up their fork before all the guests have been served, you could probably shake your head at them or other signify that they shouldn’t be doing that.
Is an analog wrist watch okay to use for the clock?
As long as you can hear it audibly tick, that should be fine.
Does it matter if bad things have happened in the home you plan to visualize? I don’t necessarily dislike the home, and I’ve had plenty of good memories there, but there were also traumatizing memories for me as a kid which still affect me today.
If it’s the place you have the strongest connection to, then that’s the place to use for your visualization. Take care of yourself, though — if visualizing a place that brings up traumatic memories for you causes you distress, make sure you have a support system or coping mechanisms in place for yourself beforehand (even if the place also has a lot of good memories attached to it).
What happen if the mirror is accidentally broken when I’m in the other world?
Well, you shouldn’t be in the Other World; you should be viewing it. The mirror functions as a window: You’re on one side of it; the Other World is on the other side of it; and when you look in the mirror, you’re looking through the window (not actually climbing through the window into the Other World).
This is why you’re not to touch the mirror while you’re looking into it.
But in any event, if the mirror breaks while you’re playing, that constitutes an Emergency Situation. See the second question listed here for what to do.
If you do actually touch the mirror while performing this ritual, though — and if doing so brings you out of your own world and into the Other World — and the mirror breaks while you’re over there?
You… probably won’t be coming home anytime soon.
Can you do this in a house you’ve lived in for five years, or does is have to be new?
I think that’s too long. It’s got to be a place that you’ve either just moved into, or one into which you’re about to move.
Is it preferable to visualize a staircase with more stairs, or with fewer stairs?
Unknown, but I’d stick with about one flight of stairs — usually somewhere between 12 and 16 steps. More steps or multiple flights might make it hard to keep track of how many circuits you’ve completed.
Is there a minimum amount of stairs in the staircase for this to work?
Not as far as I know, but again, about a flight is a good pick. Less than that and it may not work as well. (There’s a lot less to visualize, for one thing.)
What if the staircase in question has a landing in the middle, and then more stairs? Do I ascend and descend the stairs to the top, or simply to the landing?
That’s up to you. If the number of steps between the bottom and the landing is small, I’d continue through the landing and go to the top; if there are more, though — say, somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 or 12 steps — then you can probably stop at the landing.
Is it recommended to imagine the staircase in the place you live in?
That’s one option, but it’s not your only option. If a staircase in the place you live is one you know extremely well, then yes, that’s a good choice. But if there are other staircases you know as well or better — staircases that aren’t part of your home — those are fair game, too.
Also, it’s worth noting that it’s only recommended that you choose a staircase you know well. You can technically visualize any old staircase. You’ll just have the best results if you use one you know in real life — one you can describe down to the last detail.
Do you know of any negative consequences that could happen as a result of playing this game?
None specifically, although all of these kinds of games carry some risk — even if they’re relatively “safe.” You are, after all, opening yourself up to an awful lot when you play these games of games; there’s no telling what might be able to latch onto you as a result.
Can you do this ritual more than once?
Yes. Be careful, though; you don’t want to make your mind too vulnerable. Your guardian spirit isn’t the only thing you might encounter here.
I share a room with someone else. Is it permissible to let them sleep there if they won’t disrupt the ritual?
It’s probably not ideal, but it might work. It’d be difficult, though, especially if you’re a light sleeper and they get up or move around at all during the night (or if they snore!).
What if you don’t know the person’s name, but rather a username, or alias? Would this ritual work then?
Unknown. Sources state that you must use the person’s full name, and I would argue a username or alias isn’t their full name — but I suppose you can always try and see what happens.
Just… make sure that you’re not being flippant about the whole thing. If you are, things could go south — for you, and for other people — very, very quickly.
What if you want to find a celebrity or a famous person, but you have never met them in real life? How will you write the last place you saw them?
If you’ve never seen them in real life, you won’t be able to use this ritual to find them. Also, it’s worth noting that most of the experiences (and the original story) regarding this game have centered only around those who used it try to find someone they actually knew. If you attempt to use it to find someone you don’t actually know, it’s unlikely that it will work.
What if the person we try and contact has passed away? Would the ritual simply not succeed and/or not work? Would it give you the location of their final resting place? Would it tell you the location of the afterlife?
Good question, but unfortunately unknown as of this writing. My sense is that the ritual would likely simply fail, although the possibility of it retrieving the location of the person’s final resting place is intriguing. I think it’s unlikely to tell you “the location of the afterlife,” but that’s just me.
What if I can’t remember where I last saw the person I want to find?
Then they’re… probably not the right person to use this ritual to find.
If you’re not good at remembering addresses, would it be okay to write down the address on the final envelope/letter on a separate piece of paper, then burn the envelope/letter?
That’s… probably fine. After all, it’s only recommended that you burn the final envelope and letter, not a requirement that you do so; technically you don’t have to burn them. (It’s just probably safer that you do.)
Just… be careful. And maybe burn the separate paper — the one onto which you copied the address from the final envelope — when you’re done with… whatever you intend to do with that information.
If you’ve completed the paper — drawn the hexagram on it, written the words “FED UP” on it, etc. — but you decide at the last minute you don’t want to go, what do you do?
If you’ve completed the paper, but have NOT put it under your pillow and gone to sleep, then there’s still time to back out. You could just throw the paper away, but to be safe, I would burn it and dispose of the ashes (ideally somewhere far away from your own home).
You say that Bystanders are optional? Does this mean that the chant in Sleeping, Steps 11-13 does not have to be performed for the ritual to succeed?
Bystanders are optional, but Steps 11 – 13 of Sleeping are not. If not Bystanders are present, the Guide alone should perform the chanting.
What are the “hearts” supposed to look like once you start seeing them? Like the adorable drawings children make? Like the organ in one’s chest?
Both. Either. Neither. Your hearts won’t look like anyone else’s hearts. But you’ll know them when you see them.
How long does this game last?
It’s as long — or as short — as it needs to be.
[Photo via Tim Pierce/Flickr, available under a CC BY 2.0 Creative Commons license]