Word game leniency level

My partner and I play a fair few “guess the word with x impediment”.

So like Pictionary, the you have to draw, with taboo you can’t say some words. In our most recent game we play poetry for Neanderthals where the impediment is you have to describe a thing with only one syllable words.

In the case of the guessing word being

Fishing Pole

What is an acceptable answer?

Fishing rod?

I maintain exact word only but my partner prefers a little leniancy.
My justification is that the answer is clean on the paper. Hers is that she’s basically got the right answer. I think Both have merits.

In the case of fishing pole you could accept “fishing rod” but you can also give the word “rod” to help guess pole. (In this particular case you can make the case that an American variant of an English phrase is particularly harsh to get if you don’t know them).

So what lenience or boundaries do you have for these games?

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I make no distinction between “fishing pole” and “fishing rod”, so I would allow it. Maybe those two things are distinct for some people, and if it came up, I would allow someone to educate me on the difference and probably make it significant for the future.

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Make the judgment call on if you want to move on or not. If “fishing rod” is an early guess, sure, keep the round going a little longer to get the exact wording. If it’s been a laborious process to get even there, probably best to just say “Bingo!” and move along to the next one.

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For me,word games are party games, allowing this seems like more fun than not allowing it so I’d let it slide.


I’d make sure to set base rules with all players at the start.

If the rules allow for giving synonyms as the clue but not any part of the actual answer and the clue was like “rod to catch swim things” (if I got the basic rules right from your summary), then fishing rod should not be acceptable because it would mean the clue giver violated a rule.

But that’s if you’re really PLAYING the game. If you’re hanging out with friends or family to have fun and the game is a means to do that, especially in my experience if the crowd involves younger children or heavier consumption of alcohol, no one is going to pick up on that level detail and they got the basic idea so good enough.

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The rub is I find more “fun” in precision than my partner. I find making the judgment calls a little bit stressful so enjoy the comfort of cleanness. When it’s two people with the opposite idea of a good time it’s pretty rough.

Having said that I do think it’s fair if the answer is “light” and the person says “lightbulb” because they did say the word but my partner doesnt think that should count!


I’d put a “soooo close” face. Which actually I don’t know how it looks, but it tends to work. But I know a few sticklers for the rules that would lose it if I accepted pole instead of rod… Depends of who you are playing with.


I think it’s going to be up to you and your partner to look for and agree on some kind of balance/compromise that works for the two of you personally.

If you can’t compromise but the result is “we don’t play this game anymore”, and that outcome makes you more sad than compromising would make you feel, then maybe you need to rethink it.

Like Chewy77 I think some kind of clear indication of “you have exactly the right concept, but I need it phrased slightly differently” would be a valuable thing.

You might have an agreement that you’ll try to get the exact wording, but will let it slide if your partner afterwards feels that they deserved the points.

I do get it, though. It’s really frustrating when your partner doesn’t find the same things fun, and sometimes there’s no way to compromise without someone having a bad time.

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Yeah. The annoying thing is it think in concept we would both like the game.