a friend requested the rules so this is what i wrote him:
N.I.T.H. (I like the abbreviation) does indeed involve teams and a time clock. you partner up (sometimes we break up “couples” to make things more fair) and a round consists of one partner drawing names from the hat for one minute. so another person needs to keep time.
**basic rules and guidelines** (boy, I’m gettin’ involved now. I should probably start capitalizing.)
*Each player writes, legibly, 5-10 names on uniform pieces of (recycled) paper. The number depends on how many players total there are and how long everyone wants to play. I like to pick a theme for myself so I can pump out names quickly – famous Marthas, actors who’ve costarred with John Cusack, etc. Not necessary, but helpful for speeding things along when you have perfectionists and drunks in the crowd.
*The names should be of single people (not groups), either real or fictional, that one believes more than half of the people in the room have heard of. Bad examples are “The Beetles,” “Max Weber,” and “My neighbor, Harry.” Try a specific Beetle and Max Weber only works with sociologists.
*If some explanation seems necessary to distinguish a name, put it in parenthesis below the name. That stuff may be given as a clue during play.
*Fold the papers the same way so people can’t tell which ones are theirs. Put them in some kind of hat-like vessel. Like a hat.
*Draw numbers to find out who goes first. Find two volunteers to share timing.
*Decide how many rounds will be played. The rounds look like this: #1 say anything but the name. Sing, gesture, and talk really fast trying to get your partner to find the right association. You may not spell things out or say any particular letter. You may not say the “name rhymes with something” but you may say “it sounds kind of like that thing that does this thing…” #2 use only three words – hopefully memorable words used in round one. This includes “the” but excludes “ummm.” This is where more gestures, humming and grunts become useful. #3 grunts and gestures only. Any memorable gestures from previous rounds are especially useful. Many people break into Charades in this round. That’s fine, but it is also fun to stay unstructured.
*Partners alternate the jobs of guessing and drawing names from round to round.
*The guesser must say the complete name as it is written on the paper.
*When the timer says “go” the drawer starts drawing names. Each one guessed correctly goes in a pile by the partners. If the name in play hasn’t been guessed when the time is up, it gets folded and put back in the hat.
*The rounds are over when the hat is empty. Each team counts their pile of names. To continue to the next round, refold the names and put them back in the hat.
Tips for giving clues: Break the names into smaller parts. If you have Stewart, say the first syllable is thick soup and the last is stuff to put in museums. Think outside the hat.