Truth or dare?

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Truth or dare?
Players2 or more
Playing timevariable
Random chancelow
Skills requiredcreativity,
embarrassment tolerance

Truth or dare? is a mostly verbal party game requiring two or more players. Players are given the choice between answering a question truthfully, or performing a "double dare", both of which are played by both players. The game is particularly popular among adolescents and children, and is sometimes used as a forfeit when gambling.


One version of the game involves the group preparing written slips of "truth" questions and "dares," which are folded over and put into two piles. The youngest player becomes the "questioner" and chooses an "answerer," who must decide between "truth" and "dare". The questioner then selects a random slip from that pile and reads it out – either asking the answerer a question or requiring that they perform a daring forfeit.[1]

Instead of the truths and dares being on slips of paper, the questioner can come up with a truth or dare on the spot.

Players must perform the dare they are given, or truthfully answer the question asked. Answers must not be related to the game. Players are not permitted to change their minds about choosing "truth" or "dare" after having had the slip of paper read out to them. "Passing" can be an option, but requires a punishment. A pass on a truth gets a free dare; a pass on a dare gets a free truth. In a modern variant of the game, the person is asked, "Truth, Dare, Kiss, or Swear?" They must choose an action from the latter.


Several virtual reality sites — especially those with a Furry theme like FurryMUCK — have rooms set up with programs to facilitate playing Truth or Dare. Many of these use a variant rule: the questioner chooses another player and asks a question. The "answerer" can then choose to answer the question or say "Dare". If they choose Dare, they must perform the requested action (in the Virtual Reality). The programming includes a command, "spin", which will choose a random player (other than the person performing the spin). The program also keeps track of the most recent question and dare, in case someone forgets.


A game of "Questions and Commands" depicted by James Gillray, 1788

The game has existed for hundreds of years, with at least one variant, "questions and commands", being attested as early as 1712:

A Christmas game, in which the commander bids their subjects to answer a question which is asked. If the subject refuses or fails to satisfy the commander, they must pay a forfeit [follow a command] or have their face smutted [dirtied].[2]

Truth or dare[1] may ultimately derive from command games such as the ancient Greek basilinda (in Greek: Βασιλινδα). This game is described by Julius Pollux: "in which we are told a king, elected by lot, commanded his comrades what they should perform".[3]

In popular culture[edit]

The game has been portrayed in television shows and films, including the 2018 released movie Truth or Dare and the 2016 released movie Nerve, where the game turns out to be a sinister version of Truth or Dare, in which people participate as "players" or "watchers". There are other common rules besides allowing three skips, such as the rule where a player may not pick truth twice in a row.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Modernized rules of the Truth or Dare parlor game, 2019
  2. ^ "E. Cobham Brewer, Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, 1898". Archived from the original on 2013-06-03. Retrieved 2013-01-20.
  3. ^ "Joseph Strutt, Sports and Pastimes of the People of England, 1903". Archived from the original on 2017-07-14. Retrieved 2013-01-20.