Numa Pompilius, explained.

What, you may ask, was that all about?
Some of you may have seen a similar entry on Jeff’s blog a while back. The assignment was different, but both (unexpectedly odd) entries resulted from the same game.
Numa Pompilius, named after the second king of Rome, is a word game (invented by Jeff and Mike in high school, when they were taking way too much Latin) which works as follows (boys, correct me if any of this is wrong). The first player writes down a one-letter word. The next player either adds a letter to the beginning or end opf the word, or changes a letter anywhere in the word, to make a new word. Only one letter may be added/changed at a time, and letters may only be added to the beginning or the end of the word. Gameplay continues until no one can come up with a change which makes a new word. When a player gives up, he indicates this by writing an underscore at the end of the word. The last player left who has not written an underscore is the winner.
Two nights ago, Rhéaume and I played a rousing few games of NP on the whiteboard after having consumed a bottle of wine. (This is common: at the A-Side, NP showdowns would often take place on the hall whiteboard after an evening of drinking.) Our first game was brief, and I won; the second game was an NP game for the ages. It’s rare that a game proceeds all the way to a nine-letter word, but that’s where we ended up. Though I lost the second game, it was an exciting and heated match.
Months ago, Mrhé had told Jeff he would give him some major points if he used all the words from a game of Numa in a story. This is what resulted. After our game the other night, Mike and I were reminiscing about the story, and it was decided that I should do something similar. And so…
My assignment: take the words from a game of Numa Pompilius and use them in order in a story. Words with the same root only need to used once (e.g., in the set [whale, whales, whaled, whaler], only one need be used), but extra points will be awarded for use of all words. Scoring will be as follows:

NP Story Game
Creativity: 0-2
Storyline: 0-2
All Words Bonus: 2
Excessive Use of French: 0-2
Humor element: 0-3
NB: Italicize all French!

If you feel like wasting some time (like I did when Jeff did his entry) and want to give yourself a little word puzzle, see if you can track the course of the NP game which resulted in this entry. Hint: we started with “a”. Answer is below the fold.


Numa Pompilius: Vlad Skralad's game, 10 January 2005.
Amrys starting, MRhé the victor

a
at
ate
paté
spate
spade
shade
shale
whale
whole
while
whiles
whiled
whaled
whaler
whales
shales
scales
scares
scores
spores
spires
shires
shares
spares
spared
scared
seared
feared
flared
blared
blamed
beamed
reamed
creamed
screamed
screamer
screamers
streamers
streakers

And so now you understand. Maybe.

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