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Lexicon is a game played on waterpoint that is sort of like Zendo or Mastermind, but played with words.
Lingo, on the other hand, is a similar game played with Lojban sentences, but the idea came from Lexicon. One person is the Master, and they must devise a (short) rule that describes a set of Lojban sentences, such as "has exactly two sumti" or "contains no UI cmavo". The other players then take turns trying to figure out the Master's rule. The Lojban word for Lingo is "bang".
- Choose a Master.
- The Master invents the rule; ideally, the rule should be written down to avoid confusion.
- The Master gives 3 guessing tokens to the Students (the other players; using a bit of Zendo terminology here).
- Turns proceed around the table (or whatever) starting to the Master's left and continuing in that direction.
On their turn each Student:
- Presents a sentence to the Master. The sentence should be chosen to test the Student's current best guess as to the Master's rule.
- The Master grades the sentence; that is, indicates whether the sentence matches their rule or not.
- Optionally, the Student spends a guessing token and presents a guess; see below.
- A Student makes a guess by presenting a guessing token to the Master and guessing what they think the Master's rule is.
- The Master can, and should ask clarifying questions, such as "Do you mean exactly two sumti or at least two sumti?". Ideally, the Master will ask the same clarifying questions as much as possible, so as to not give anything away.
- The Master should then check to see if the Student's guess is contradicted by any of the previous sentences; if so, the Student gets the guessing token back, and may guess again if ey wishes.
- If the Student is correct (that is, if the Student's guess describes the same set of sentences as the Master's rule, regardless of phrasing), the Student has won.
- If the Student is not correct, the Master must present counter-examples; that is, a sentence that matches the Student's rule but not the Master's, or a sentence that matches the Master's rule but not the Student's. If possible (and it is not always possible), the Master should present one of each. Play then proceeds to the next Student.
- A Student who guesses the Master's rule correctly has won, and may pick the next Master (including emself).
- Rules must not depend on events or features of any kind outside themselves (i.e. "sentences using words from the first post I made in Lojban" are out; technically, if the rule itself lists out the words, that'd be OK, but that's a bad rule regardless)
- Rules especially must not change over time (i.e. "setences with NU clauses until one hour from now, when it's sentences without NU clauses").
Variant Rules For Online Play
In online play (especially if supported by a program especially for this purpose), it might be appropriate to do things more like Lexicon, as follows:
- No turns.
- Students may present sentences for judgement at any time, whether the Master is around or not. Their sentences go into an ordered queue to be reviewed by the Master at eir leisure.
- No Student may have more than three (3) sentences awaiting judgement at any one time.
- Students may guess at any time, whether the Master is around or not. Their guesses go into an ordered queue to be reviewed by the Master at eir leisure.
- No Student may have more than one (1) guess in the queue at any one time.
- No guessing tokens.