is a game generally played by high-school and college-aged people. Play is generally loud and vigorous, and often results in rug burns
and other minor injuries. Games can attract a group of spectators, often cheering for the weakest players. In Britain
, among Young Friends (Quakers
) the game is known as Ratchet Screwdriver
, in the United States it is sometimes known as Bloody Winkum
, and amongst Young Friends in New Zealand and Australia it is called the Kissing Game
Wink was originally played by groups of Young Quakers
in the 1800
's. In the original version, a group of women would sit in chairs, arranged in a circle, with a young man standing behind each one. In this version of the game, which was something like musical chairs
, a man without a partner (the "wink") would get one of the women's attention by winking at her, whereupon she would stand up and walk over to his chair. If the man behind her succeeded in putting his hands upon her shoulders before she stood up, she had to remain where she was.
Today, the game has been modified substantially from its early origins. There are several variations on the style of play and the rules, though the overall structure of modern Wink remains fairly consistent.
In one of the most widely played versions of the game an odd numbered group of players of any gender (preferably all acquainted with one another) arranges itself in almost the same fashion as in the original game. Each pair of players sits one behind the other on the floor in a semicircle, with the Wink seated on the floor in the center. The Wink then identifies a number of players (often three) from the inner circle. The most common ways to identify someone are to call them by name ("John"), to point and saying, "You," or to call out a characteristic that multiple players have (e.g. "anyone wearing red", "anyone who prefers chocolate over vanilla ice cream"). Then, anyone in the front row who has been identified attempts to be the first to do whatever they can to kiss the Wink somewhere on their face. While they are doing this, each player's partner attempts to restrain him or her by whatever means possible. In the interest of safety, players set aside all shoes, watches, glasses, jewelry, and other potentially dangerous objects before game play.
- Everyone must begin each round with their buttocks on the floor. Players may not grab or hold their partners until the Wink has called their partner. Some communities require that players in the back row begin each round with both hands touching the floor.
- The Wink shouts "Over!" (or alternatively "Smooch") when someone has won.
- No one may crouch or stand.
- The Wink may not move from his or her seat, once play has begun. Players are often allowed to pull the Wink closer, however.
It should also be common sense that:
- No one may pull hair or clothing, tickle, or strike another partner with the intention of causing pain. For obvious reasons, players also should not hold each other around the neck.
- If someone says "ouch", keep playing. If someone says "stop", everyone stops.
When someone finally manages to kiss the Wink, his or her partner becomes the new Wink, and the Wink becomes the winner's partner for the next round. If a player is called but does not succeed in kissing the Wink, he or she switches roles with his or her partner.
Wink is played primarily by young Quakers, Unitarian Universalists (specifically at Young Religious Unitarian Universalists (YRUU) youth conferences and events), and Talent Identification Program campers..
There is no "official" set of rules, although most groups defend theirs as the one true way to play the game. A slightly older version than the one described above (retaining the original winking signal but the modern physical mode of play) may be found in the New Games Book
. A modern description is also available in "Deep Fun
: a Compendium of YRUU
Games", available through the Unitarian Universalist Association
. Some other variations include:
- The wink is often known as the "winker", as well as being known as the "loner" in many Quaker versions and "God" in most Unitarian Universalist versions.
- Instead of yelling "Over!" the winker yells "Smooch!"
- A player may win by kissing the winker anywhere on the head or neck. Other groups will not require the kiss to be on the face, but rather on any part of the winker the players can reach (both of these variations are common in groups where the boys are not comfortable kissing other boys).
- The winker points or winks at the front partner instead of calling out characteristics. The back partner is not allowed to look at the winker until after their partner moves.
- Instead of sitting in the middle of the circle, the winker sits in the circle with everyone else; this is common in Unitarian Universalist versions. In this variation, the partners to either side of the winker have a significant advantage. There are several ways to address this problem:
- #The "Two Away Rule" can be invoked. It consists of partners directly next to the Winker being disqualified from that round (it's too easy for them to win). Depending on the number of people you have, this can even be expanded to not letting people two partners away from the Winker go.
- #Have the back partners on either side of the winker sit out. The front partners become "Guardians", "Guardian Angels", or "Demigods". Their job is to try to stop ANYONE from kissing the winker. In particularly large or rough groups, the back partners can also join in the fray. Be warned that four demigods, particularly in groups of less than fifty, can lead to VERY long rounds.
- #Put a marker of some sort in the middle of the circle, often a shoe or a piece of tape. A player must touch the marker before they are allowed to kiss the winker.
- Players sit in two concentric circles—one of guys and one of girls. Guys sit on the outside and are paired up with a girl, with an extra guy in the middle.
- If the Wink calls "bread basket" anyone may try and kiss the Wink (excluding the two directly next to him/her). Quakers in Britain shout "ratchet screwdriver" instead.
- Instead of sitting in any sort of circle, the pairs may sit on one side of mats in a straight line or semi-circle while the Winker sits on the opposite side about 10–20 feet away (depending on the number/size of mats you have.)
- Wink can be played outside on grass or some other soft, solid, surface instead of on a floor inside. For example it may be played on a large tarp, or several large tarps covered in soapy suds. If this is the case, bathing suits with solid draw-strings are recommended.
- In most Unitarian Universalist versions Wink is played inside in a big carpeted room, usually with a large pile of bedding and cushions (i.e., sleeping bags, couch cushions, pillows and sometimes sleeping pads) placed in the middle of the circle to protect those who are trying to kiss God.
- Some Quaker youth groups require use of a wrestling room due to roughness of play.
- If a counter or other immovable impediment is too close to a game, spotters are sometimes dispatched to protect players.
- British Young Quakers will play Ratchett Screwdriver wherever and whenever the whim takes them. This has been known to include hard wooden floors, rough, burn-inducing carpets, fields and even on the road at Nottinghill Carnival!
- The game is actively discouraged at many Young Quaker events in Britain, but not JYF.
- Instead of being kissed, the winker gets tagged on the back.
- The game can be played outside at night, and in this variation the winker shines a flashlight on the pair that he/she chooses.
- The back player is on their knees
- The Wink may wink at one or more individuals to identify them, similar to the original version of the game (though this is not common).
Smut, a Variation for Smaller Groups
Smut is essentially wink for smaller groups of players. In this variation, the Wink only calls two pairs. The front row player from the first pair attempts to kiss the Wink, while the front row player from the second pair attempts to kiss the front row player from the first pair. The wink must call specific players in this version to establish the order.