Each person takes a turn writing a word or phrase forming part of a set structure in order to build a story. The exact sequence varies, but a typical sequence is:
- Adjective for man
- Man's name
- Adjective for woman
- Woman's name
- Where they met
- What he wore
- What she wore
- What he said to her
- What she said to him
- The consequence (a description of what happened after)
- What the world said
Then the story is read (for example):
Mediocre Joe met transparent Kim at the bowling alley.
Joe wore a seafoam green leisure suit. Kim wore a sandwich board. Joe said to Kim “During the last storm, we had a little party in the mud.” Kim said “She wasn’t that into me.” As a consequence, the band got back together. And the world said “Somehow, I think I saw this coming.”
The game is traditionally played by writing the words on paper and folding the paper to hide the previous words before passing it to the next player.
Consequences can also be played in a drawing version, disambiguated under the name "picture consequences", where the first player draws the head, passes it unseen (by means of folding) to the second player who draws the body, then on to the third player who draws the legs. The composite person or creature is then revealed to all by unfolding the paper.