Quantum Go Fish

A way to keep track of the impossible-to-play-drunk party game known as Quantum Go Fish.

It’s rare enough that party games are even played these days. Cards Against Humanity is one of the few I remember at parties, and Rocket League is pretty common for people hanging out, I suppose. I haven’t played Mario Party in a long time but I’d always be down if everyone present is involved.

But there is a party game I’ve rarely played for a different reason (that’s right – the decline of American medium-strength social circles didn’t cause this one!): Quantum Go Fish. I don’t play this game at parties because it’s legitimately hard to describe or play. And there are only a couple people I know that have the composure to play while even slightly drunk.

But the idea is fantastic. It’s normal Go Fish, but your hand could be anything. Everyone simultaneously learns what kind of cards you have from the asking and answering of questions. Asked for a Snickerdoodle (it is Quantum Go Fish lore that the suits are all made up by the first person to ask for them)? Then you must have one. They say yes? Now you have at least two. There are as many suits are there are players, so I think you could imagine how difficult it is to keep track of which moves are legal and which ones aren’t.

You win by asking the question that resolves all the ambiguity in the cards. There is no way to lose, unless you let someone make an illegal move. I think I have prevented those moves from being made, but it’s hard to know for sure without a formal proof. Suffice it to say, if you can swing it, that’s impressive in its own right.

I was introduced to the game by the fantastic Anton Geraschenko, whose enthusiasm for everyday thoughtfulness is delightful in ways few people can match (despite me not keeping in touch well at all over the years).

Here it is for your party enjoyment:

Quantum Go Fish