The Yellow Car Game: Primer

Passengers in my car are often startled when my hand shoots out, fast as a striking snake, to point at nearby vehicles.  This action is usually accompanied by a triumphant cry of “Yellow car!”.  These passengers, confused and distraught, are obviously missing out on the important part of road life that is the Yellow Car Game.  And so, for these poor souls, I present the basic lessons.  May they soon become an integral part of your driving experience.

The Game: Yellow Car

The Objective: To have the highest number of points at the end of the voyage.

Points: One point is awarded to the first person to spot a yellow car that corresponds with acceptable parameters and say aloud, “Yellow car”.  Note that each yellow car is only worth a single point; if the yellow car is passed a second time, on the same voyage, it is null and is not worth a point, having already been “called.”

In the event of a tie, in which two or more people call out a yellow car at the same time, no points are awarded.

If a person calls out “Yellow car” on a car that does not fit the acceptable parameters, this results in the deduction of one point from their current score.  Negative points are possible, although the driver may choose to negate this rule for a specific voyage.

Parameters for Yellow Cars: To be worth a point, a yellow car must be a “non-commercial” vehicle.  To eliminate small businesses, school buses, and other such vehicles, there must not be writing on the yellow car.  (Obviously, automotive brand names and license plates are ignored).

All parties must agree that a car is yellow in color.  Gold, orange, and faded tan cars are not considered to be yellow.

In the case of multiple colors on a car, the majority of the vehicle must be yellow to be counted as a yellow car.

Lime Green Cars: Lime green cars represent a special variable in The Yellow Car Game.  Rather than being worth a number of points, the first person to verbally indicate a lime green car that corresponds with acceptable parameters may choose any one other player in the vehicle.  The chosen person’s current point total is reduced to zero.

Note that to maintain game balance, the car must clearly be lime green.  Dark green, ivy, hunter, or light green cars are not considered to be “lime green,” and the mistaken verbal calling of these cars results in the loss of one point.

Variation: on long car trips, where the loss of all points would be game-breaking, lime green cars may instead result in ten points being subtracted from the total of one person, selected by the caller of the lime green car. This rule must be agreed upon by all parties at the commencement of the trip, before the first lime green car is spotted.

Variations: To increase or decrease the challenge level, the following variations may be put into play by unanimous agreement at the beginning of the voyage:

  • Moving Vehicles: Only yellow cars on the road may be counted; parked cars are not worth points.
  • Eagle Eye: Simply pointing to, or beginning to say the words “yellow car”, is enough to cause a player to lose a point if the car does not fit acceptable parameters.
  • Handicaps: Depending on the skill of the driver, they may be given a mutually agreed upon “head start”, usually between two and five points.  All other normal rules apply.
  • Orange Cars: Orange cars may be worth half a point.
Single-Player Mode: If a person is driving alone, they may choose to play The Yellow Car Game to themselves.  These scores are for bragging only, and may not be incorporated into multiplayer games.
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