This game is perfect for a train ride or a cruise where the participants are staying in a circle or around a table.
The point of the game is to find out the rules of the game. The game starts with a group of people (4-10 works best) and an object (can be anything: book, lighter, spoon etc). Usually 1 or 2 persons in the group know how to play, and the objective is that everyone else finds out how to play on their own. If a person discovers the rules, he/she must not say it out loud, but continue playing as if nothing happened.
People have different degrees of being observant. Some will find out the rules earlier, and some might never understand the game.
How to play
A person (the leader) announces to the group that they will play a game. The leader chooses an object (can be anything: book, lighter, spoon etc). The leader gives the object to the next person and says that “here is a [something]“, where [something] can be any object which is not the initial object (e.g. “cat”, “airplane” etc). The second person receives the object and passes it on to the next one as another object. This goes on and on. The leader says each time after a person gives an object if it was correct or not.
How does the leader know if a person said the correct thing? Whenever a person receives an object, they must say “Thank you” or a similar phrase, and only after this pass the object to somebody else. If a person didn’t say “Thank you” before passing the object to somebody else, then it wasn’t a correct object. If the person said “Thank you” then it was correct.
The leader must try to say “Thank you” as obvious as possible, and to tell the participants to observe him/her and the others while playing.
Eventually some people will realize that they must say “Thank you” in order for their objects to be considered correct. The leader must say “Thank you” in increasing levels of obviousness so that people get the rules.
People watching the group play can be encouraged to join in the fun. This is a great way to meet like-minded individuals on a travel and make friends.
The fun of the game is having that “aha!” moment when you actually realize what is happening. If after 30-60 minutes most people got the rules, the rules can be explained to the “unlucky” ones. The game can be repeated then with another group of people, and somebody else can play the leader.